Iroquois Nationals Penalized Again for Being Native?


Developing story: In 2010, the United Kingdom denied the Iroquois Nationals entrance into the country to compete in the 2010 FIL World Lacrosse Championships because they refused to recognize the valid Haudenosaunee passports the Native squad travels with. As a result, the Nationals couldn't play in the tournament, which is staged every four years, and Germany was placed in their spot in the elite Blue Division, which is home to the top six squads from the previous world championship.

Now, the FIL has ruled that the Nationals, a member nation, will not be restored to their legitimate place in the Blue Division for the 2014 World Championships, which will be held in Denver, because of what happened in 2010. Instead, Germany will again compete in the Blue, while the Nationals will be seeded 30th and placed in a lower division. This controversial decision by the FIL, which is falling back on "past precedence and bylaws" to justify the exclusion of the Nationals, is, the Iroquois say, an unfair and inconsistent move.

And the Nationals are appealing the decision.

In an April 18 letter to the FIL Board of Directors in Toronto, Nationals Chairman Oren Lyons and Executive Director Denise Waterman appealed, asking for the sport's governing body's general assembly to rule on the situation. Here is the letter.

With just over a year to go until 2014 Denver opens, the Nationals are pushing to get the FIL to reverse this decision and restore one of the sport's best squads to its rightful spot among the elite nations. Morevoer, this controversy transcends sport or politics: Oren Lyons, Onondaga Faithkeeper, spoke at a seminar in 2010 about how lacrosse , or Deyhontsigwa'ehs (‘they bump hips’) was played in the sky world before the world was created.  It is a game that was given as a gift to the Haudenosaunee and they play it for the pleasure of the Creator.

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Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Well they are either U.S. or Canadian citizens so says those governments. Thats what "power" is. When are they going to get it, they can say they are sovereign entities but obviously other countries disagree and they have the power to block entry. Why not battle this out in another forum and let the young people play. Thats what matters.

Vikki Desiderio's picture
Vikki Desiderio
Submitted by Vikki Desiderio on
get inside lacrosse involved- this is an outrage what can we do for you on long island ny to spread the word - my son attends the hill academy in Canada and plays with native americans on his team he feels so privileged every lacrosse player should support this cause please tell me how we can help I will spread the word here on long island tell us what you need done!

Richard Ramirez's picture
Richard Ramirez
Submitted by Richard Ramirez on
It's a matter of respect. In this case, it's a matter of a lack of respect for the sovereignty of the Iroquois people. The players have earned their place in the Championships and nothing should stand in their way to compete at the level they have earned.