Wednesday, July 14, 2010
At last minute, UK refuses to allow Haudenosaunee passports
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: