NCAI calls on UK to grant entry for World Championships

Staff reports
7/16/10

WASHINGTON – In a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, the National Congress of American Indians, 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 the letter).

“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.

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