- Think Outside the Bomb National Tour:
Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
VIDEO (below) US Rep. Dan Maffei, D-NY, brought the issue to Congress twice Wednesday. Rep. Maffei demanded that Britian issue the visas at 4:30 pm Wednesday, stating that it will be an international embarrassment if the team is not allowed to compete.
By Brenda Norrell
With the hours ticking away, and an OK from the US State Department, the United Kingdom refused to honor the Haudenosaunee passports of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team on Wednesday afternoon.
US Rep. Dan Maffei, D-NY, took the issue to Congress twice Wednesday and demanded that Britian issue the visas. Rep. Maffei said it would be an international embarrassment if the team is not allowed to compete.
The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team issued a statement about the United Kingdom's last minute rejection of their travel documents, on Wednesday afternoon.
"We have been informed by the Consulate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain that they will not accept the one-time travel waiver offered by the US State Department authorizing travel using the Haudenosaunee Passport for the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team and its delegation to the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships starting tomorrow in Manchester, England.
"We are deeply disappointed, and urge our friends and supporters to reach out to the British government to seek reconsideration in this unprecedented rejection of Haudenosaunee passports as well as the one-time travel waiver issued by the US State Departments as was originally requested by the UK Consulate," the team said in a written statement signed by Percy Abrams, executive director, and Tonya Gonella Frichner, board member.
Stranded in New York since Sunday, the team members are also waiting for a last minute clearance from the Canadian government for team members who were born in Canada.
The team was unable to depart Wednesday on its rescheduled flight at 4 pm. With the flight time and time difference, the flight would have landed shortly before the game, which is scheduled to being at 7 pm on Thursday.
The team members have remained resolute in traveling on their own Haudenosaunee passports, becoming a symbol of true living sovereignty for Indian Nations.
The US State Department issued a one-time waiver for the team's travel, it was announced Wednesday morning. On Wednesday afternoon, the UK denied travel visas.
Before the US State Department issued the go-ahead, Rep. Maffei told Congress, “To this team, accepting U.S. passports would be akin to denouncing their own national and ethnic identity,” Maffei said. “It is a matter of principle to them, and the State Department and Department of Homeland Security have lost the forest from the trees in refusing to allow the team to travel as citizens of an indigenous nation.”
Team contact: Percy Abrams, executive director, 716-417-3713 or Tonya Gonella Frichner, board member, 201-314-1601
Team members, camped out in a hotel in New York, said Wednesday night that they had not lost hope. Director James Cameron donated $50,000 to help the team with expenses.
Video Two: US Rep. Dan Maffei, Democrat from New York's 25th District, brought the issue to Congress twice on Wednesday. Demanding Britian issue the visas at 4:30 pm Wednesday, Maffei said it will be an international embarrassment if the team is not allowed to compete.
Video One: US Rep. Maffei's morning address to Congress on the issue:
As an Indigenous man and organizer/activist for Native rights for the past 30 years, I've carried and developed many thoughts as to the relationship this government, called America, has had with the Indigenous Peoples of this land, that we still call ours. In order for you to fully understand my perceptions, you must know that I am not an American Indian, Native American, nor am I an American. I am a citizen of the Chahta (Choctaw) Nation, but first and foremost, I am a human being.
I say this because I know the centuries of dishonor that have been shown to us through your failure to uphold treaties, the doctrines that have been used against us in your courts of law and acts of Congress that have only served to dispossess us of our lands, culture/traditions, and sovereignty.
We have endured and survived centuries of attempts to assimilate us into a Diaspora of conflicting values and principles. We've been wrongly labeled as Americans through treaties and the 1924 American Indian Citizenship Act, despite our inalienable right to define who we are. Your government has replaced our traditional forms of government with the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, and other related acts. We are only left with an unrecognizable shell of our former selves. This is not acceptable.
When Obama went on the campaign trail, we heard many promises, and what we thought was an enlightened understanding, would finally open the doors to a long awaited sense of fairness and justice. Since the day he walked into the White House, we have seen just the opposite of those false promises. We've been promised a bigger piece of the "American Pie" before, however, as Winona Laduke has explained, “We don't want a bigger piece of the pie, we want a different pie.” This concept is what government has refused to acknowledge.
The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted nearly three years ago, and it is not surprising to the First Nations, the Indigenous Peoples, that Canada and the United States have failed to support it. We are well aware of the legal ramifications this will have on these governments to wield control and power over our lands and resources. We feel it is time that we are truly treated as equal Nations to Nation, as Obama has promised.
With over 560 First Nations in the political boundaries of what is known as the United States, my following suggestions will only be the tip of the mountain in the manner the US can honorably begin dealing with the First Nations in the spirit of this Declaration.
Actions for Implementation
The following points are based on a real resolution of the wrongs perpetuated against the Indigenous caretakers of this land, and any reconciliation effort must include equal participation of the traditional leaders: Chiefs, Headsmen, Clan Mothers and spiritual leaders, etc. (not the IRA tribal councils & Chiefs)
1. The reliance upon the Doctrines of Discovery, Manifest Destiny and other instruments justifying the European immigrants claiming of the lands must be repudiated and/or held invalid. This includes numerous laws and acts of Congress, but not limited to the1871 Indian Appropriations Act and the
1934 Indian Reorganization Act, and the Indian Claims Commission, including other laws/acts that have worked to the detriment of the Indigenous Peoples.
2. Recognition of the sovereignty of the First Nations, as you afford to the sovereignty of France, England or any other country. This would begin to address the issues of holding our lands, resources and funds in trust. This recognition would entail recognizing and honoring treaties made with the First Nations, and the right to exercise and enforce the authority over the jurisdiction of our lands and territories. This would imply the termination of the trust status to manage our affairs and the need to eliminate the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and establish a First Nations Embassy.
3. The colonized nations of Hawai'i, Puerto Rico and others must be liberated and restored to their proper authority and jurisdiction, just as the First Nations here will expect. Once our nationhood is established, we can finally have a voice and vote within the United Nations.
This is the only honorable thing to do for all the Indigenous nations under occupation by the US Government so they may begin determining their own future and adding their voice to world affairs.
4. Convening a constitutional convention with representatives from the First Nations, and a request from traditional leaders of the Iroquois Confederacy to guide us through the process to establish a means of co-existing with each other. This is only appropriate because it was their Great Law that the US Constitution was based upon. However, it fell short in its construction.
As you can understand, this is by no means an exhaustive discourse on past wrongs. It represents what the US Government can do to uphold the spirit of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and a sincere step in reconciliation with actions. Indigenous nations do not need hollow or empty apologies as we have been patronized with in the past.
These points should be a starting point for including the Firsts Nations in the governance and direction that this country should take in world affairs. I realize that if the US acknowledges the wrongs and illusionary attempts to right wrongs in the past, they would be even in worse debt than the 13 trillion plus now.
For example, the Indian Claims Commission only awarded monetary compensation for stolen lands, however the only remedy for stolen lands is the return of stolen lands. The Government has attempted to settle out of court in the Cobell mismanagement of trust case, this amounts to nothing more than a cover up by the government. There must be an accounting and investigation into where the money went, and who authorized its misuse followed by prosecution where possible.
There is also the case of Leonard Peltier, I demand that his freedom be the first offering to demonstrate the US Government’s sincerity in dealing with us. I can understand the President may have a brief from the Justice Department detailing the case as being fair and just. However, there have been legal scholars from the world over who have examined the case and found that his trial was unfair and unjust. He has been widely recognized as a humanitarian, and I would ask that the President to call for a public debate on his case. We know the truth will bring about his freedom and expose lies and criminal acts by the government.
The State Department became involved in 1984 because of international outrage that he was being denied the right to practice his spiritual beliefs. At that time, Leonard Peltier undertook a spiritual fast as the only form left to him with two other men. I'm sure you can find records of that in your files.
I believe that the US has reached a critical juncture in history with the state of the economy, the Gulf Disaster and two ongoing wars, possibly a third, that it cannot afford to dismiss the points raised in this statement. Just as when the first wave of immigrants came from Europe, they needed us to survive here, now the US needs us to help survive the dangerous circumstances that are apparent today.
Showdown for President Obama: Will Obama recognize Indian Nation sovereignty and Haudenosaunee passports, as the Iroquois Lacrosse Team is stuck in New York
UPDATES: The Iroquois Lacrosse Team has received the US go ahead to travel to England on Haudenosaunee passports, but is now delayed because of Canada and Britain:
"Tonya Gonnella Frichner, a member of the Onondaga Nation who works with the team, said the State Department dropped a demand that the team travel using higher-security U.S. passports. The players regard U.S. government-issued documents as an attack on their identity."
By Brenda Norrell
The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team is still stuck in New York, with the Obama Administration refusing to recognize the sovereignty of Indian Nations and the legitimacy of Haudenosaunee passports, which the team and others have been traveling on for years.
The issue is about more than a team getting to a game. For Indian Nations, it is about whether the Obama Administration will truly recognize Indian Nation sovereignty.
The US passport decision will also set a precedent for recognition of Indian Nation passports in the future, overseas and at the US borders.
While CNN, London Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post are covering the story, the Obama Administration, including the US State Department and Homeland Security, as of Wednesday morning, would not recognize the longstanding Haudenosaunee passports.
British officials will not grant visas to the Iroquois Lacrosse team unless the US states the team will be allowed back in the US on their Haudenosaunee passports. The game is Thursday night and the team has already spent more than $30,000 in additional funds because of the delay, funds raised from raffles and other fundraising activities.
While the team has been halted in New York since Sunday, others are currently traveling on their Haudenosaunee passports, including at least one person at the United Nations.
Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, Honorary Chairman of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team, said Lacrosse is a gift from the Haudenosaunee. The Iroquois Lacrosse Team members are an inspiration to Indian youths.
"The game of De-hon-tshi-gwa' ehs (Lacrosse) has become an inspiration to a third of the world's youth - 109 countries in all. The long-stick game is a gift to the world from the Haudenosaunee, the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. It would be strange -- beyond strange, indeed -- if the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team, the national team of the Haudenosaunee were denied participation in the World Lacrosse Championships by agencies of the United States. We are perplexed by this position taken by the Obama Administration," Lyons said.
"Since the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team's admittance to the Federation of International Lacrosse in 1983, the team has participated in every world competition as a member nation, flying our own colors, singing our own anthem and traveling on our own Haudenosaunee passports to England (1985, 1994), Australia and Japan. As citizens we have traveled internationally on our own passports since 1977. We do not take this issue of passports lightly. We have traversed our request with the utmost respect for the sovereignty of the nations involved. As Indigenous Peoples of North America, we have over 200 years of treaties and international relations with our brother, the United States."
Lyons called for support to help convince the U.S. to accommodate travel to Manchester, England. The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team and Team England are scheduled to open the World Lacrosse Championships at 7:00 pm Thursday July 15th.
"This is a call for support. We want to ensure that Native Peoples should not be told they cannot leave or cannot return to their homelands."
Lyons asked others to contact the White House at 202-456-4771 to express support for clearance to leave and return to participate in the World Lacrosse Championships in Manchester, England. Lyons said to let the team know if others contact the White House, by e-mailing the team at: email@example.com .
Lyons also encouraged others to email White House Indian Affairs senior staff Kimberly TeeHee at Kimberly_K._TeeHee@who.eop.gov and two State Department officials, Kathleen Milton at firstname.lastname@example.org and Lynn Sicade at email@example.com.