Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Showdown: Will Obama recognize Indian Nation sovereignty and Haudenosaunee passports
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.