Friday, July 16, 2010

Native American Leaders to Prime Minister: Allow Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team Entry

July 16, 2010
Contact: Thom Wallace, 202.903.3759
Communications Director, NCAI
National Congress of American Indians Calls on UK to Grant Entry for Game’s World Championships
By NCAI

Washington, D.C. – In a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest and largest tribal advocacy organization in the United States, has called on the government of the United Kingdom to allow for the entry of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team, facilitating participation in the World Lacrosse Championships being held in Manchester, England (Read letter below).

“We strongly urge the United Kingdom to follow the actions of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and clear the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team, representing the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, for international travel on their Haudenosaunee passports,” said NCAI’s President Jefferson Keel in the letter. “As you are aware, the game of lacrosse is indigenous to Native Americans. In the view of Native peoples, denying entry to the game’s historical and cultural emissaries is a troubling scenario.”

The letter addressed to Prime Minister Cameron comes shortly after U.S. Secretary Clinton granted a one-time travel waiver to the Iroquois Nationals team on Thursday. The British government followed by announcing that it would not grant entry to the team.

President Keel emphasized in the letter that the legitimate documentation questions have been addressed, as reflected by the U.S. State Department’s waiver for travel. While the Iroquois Nationals Team has already missed its first game in the World Championships, the team plans on arriving by Saturday to participate.

The letter to Britain’s leader concludes by stating that the National Congress of American Indians encourages the British government to preserve the sanctity and intent of international gamesmanship and tribal sovereignty.

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the United States. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights.

For More Information Visit: http://www.ncai.org/

N A T I O N A L C O N G R E S S O F A M E R I C A N I N D I A N S
July 16, 2010
The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA, United Kingdom

Dear Prime Minister David Cameron:

I write on behalf of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest

and largest tribal government advocacy organization representing sovereign tribal nations

in the United States. We strongly urge the United Kingdom to follow the actions of U.S.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and clear the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team,

representing the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, for international travel on their

Haudenosaunee passports. The United Kingdom and its citizenship will benefit greatly

from welcoming these great athletes representing their respective Indian nations.

Our organization is comprised of elected and appointed leaders and citizens from

tribal sovereign nations that have extensive treaty and legal agreements with the United

States Government. Over the last week, we have been working with Obama

Administration officials, the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Homeland

Security, the congressional delegation from the State of New York, and Iroquois Nationals

team officials to resolve legitimate concerns regarding the international travel documents

of Haudenosaunee citizens. As a result, on Thursday, July 15, 2010, Secretary of State

Hillary Rodham Clinton provided a one-time waiver for the travel of this team to the

World Lacrosse Championships.

As you are aware, the game of lacrosse is indigenous to Native Americans. We

greatly respect that the United Kingdom is hosting an international lacrosse tournament.

However, in the view of Native peoples, denying entry to the game’s historical and

cultural emissaries is a troubling scenario. The legitimate documentation questions have

been addressed, as reflected by the U.S. State Department’s waiver for travel. We

encourage your government to preserve the sanctity and intent of international

gamesmanship and tribal sovereignty, and grant entry to the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse

team.

Respectfully,

Jefferson Keel, President

National Congress of American Indians

Lt. Governor, Chickasaw Nation

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