August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, July 16, 2010

Iroquois Lacrosse Team: Winning without playing the game

By Brenda Norrell

It is day five of Britain refusing to honor the Haudenosaunee passports of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team. Although the team forfeited by default Thursday's game at the world championship in England, the team still hopes to make it to Saturday's game.

However, the UK continues to refuse to recognize the Haudenosaunee passports of the team and grant the players visas.

Meanwhile, the Iroquois Nationals team members have become heroes, symbols of resolute sovereignty.

Barbara Low, Mi'kmaq Nation, said she is so grateful to the Iroquois National Lacrosse team, "for choosing principle over expediency."

"They have already won something that is far more valuable then a trophy. They are true role models, worthy of our utmost respect, and humble admiration. By standing ground, they are drawing the world's attention to the very real struggle of Indigenous Sovereignty," said Low, adding that she stands in solidarity with all other Indigenous Nations who seek to remove the mantle of Colonialism.

The issue of true sovereignty for Indian Nations comes as racism and xenophobia proliferates at the northern and southern borders of the US. The US is attempting to deny the rights of passage and mobility of Indigenous Peoples in their own territories. The US is attempting to annihilate American Indian sovereignty by requiring US passports for Indigenous Peoples, a regulation aimed at dismissing the identity of Indian people.

John Kane, Mohawk, said the Haudenosaunee passport issue exposes more than assimilation, it exposes genocide.

"I am glad we have an entity like the Iroquois Nationals to bring this issue out to the public, but international travel and simple border crossing issues are something our people deal with every day.

"The insistence by the US, Canada and now the UK that we must declare either US or Canadian citizenship to travel, in some instances within our own community, is not just assimilation but genocide."

Kane publishes the Native Pride blog and is an editor and writer for Making A Visible Impact Magazine.

As the Iroquois Lacrosse team waited in New York, neither the U.S. nor Britain acted in good faith. The US State Department's last minute, one-time waiver, was pitiful. Britain's last minute, turn-about refusal to honor the US waiver and the Haudenosaunee sovereign passport is inexcusable.

Iroquois Lacrosse Captatin Gewas Schinder said Thursday, "The UK is not letting us into the country. They told us last week that once the U.S. has cleared us they'll allow us in. Now they're going back on their word."

All the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team players wanted to do was to play lacrosse, the game invented by the Iroquois, and honor their identity.

The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team refused to play the game of the US and Britain.

The words "American Indian sovereignty" are often used in the media, but seldom are these words manifest with such power and conviction as by these young Haudenosaunee men.

Ady, the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team members are the winners.

1 comment:

sandra beasley Unenrolled Cherokee African American white said...

I would like to apologize to Ms. Barbara Low whom by Mistake called Mr. Low. I was not only refering to her wonderful words yet Mr. Kane as well.