Over the past week I have been following the story of the Iroquois Lacrosse team struggle and exclusion from this year’s Lacrosse World Cup held in Manchester, England.
The story begins two weeks ago, a week before the Lacrosse World Cup. The Iroquois Lacrosse team, known as the Nationals, is comprised of six Indian nations in the Iroquois Confederacy; this team was ranked fourth in the world. On Friday July 9Th, 2010 this team was denied by the British Consulate visas to travel for the competition unless the team and entourage were granted permission by the U.S government to use their tribal passport and papers stating they would be allowed re-entry to U.S. In the past, Indian Nations who issue their own passports have used it for international travel without problem. These passports however have parts that are handwritten and do not contain holograms. This has been part of the reasons for “need” of documents from the U.S. government for the U.K government.
On Wednesday July 14, 2010, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, made a onetime deal to provide the paper work asked by the UK government in the morning. By afternoon though, the UK had changed their tune. The UK will only allow them to travel if the team and entourage use United States or Canadian passports. The Iroquois lacrosse team was forced to forfeit the first game and hoped that the issue could be resolved between the two parties. However, as of Saturday July 17, 2010 the Nationals remained in New York unable to travel or participate in the Lacrosse World Cup. Ultimately the Nationals were excluded from this event and were not able to participate in the sport which they love.
This is a prime example of where our system in place are wrong. The Iroquois Confederacy is its own sovereignty and is its own nation. There is no reason that these player’s or fans should be required to have a passport that is not their nation's passport. If other countries believe it is alright to deny one nation the same right as every other country this is a problem. There should have been an exception for this situation. This can still be a learning situation for all parties involved. If both the UK and US government work with First People (Native American is not the accurate term anymore) Nations in creating a way that recognized this nation passports but also meets security needs into the future. As a world we will not be hindering others from their own rights, and respect each nation for its way of providing documents. Respecting the difference between documents, and not discrediting them because of "security flaws." By working together it will only make it a more equal world.
If you would like to read more on this here are the following articles on this subject.