Iroquois lacrosse team plans to board flight to world tournament

The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team expects to board a flight this afternoon to the 2010 World Lacrosse Championships in England after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intervened in their passport dispute.

Clinton ordered the U.S. government to accept the team members' Haudenosaunee passports for overseas travel, said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-New York). Up until now, the team was unable to use the documents because they did not meet the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

"I am relieved that this bureaucratic technicality has been papered over and these young men can go and do what they have trained to do: play lacrosse and compete on the international scene," Slaughter said in a statement. "Lacrosse is an integral part of the Native American culture and this team deserves the opportunity to travel and play on their terms. I am extremely grateful to Secretary of State Clinton, who responded to this glitch promptly and efficiently. Going forward, we must find a way to balance homeland security concerns with some common sense and a border policy that does not create unintended consequences."

Members of the Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, Seneca and the Tuscarora nations have used Haudenosaunee passports in the past to travel overseas

"I think we'll make the trip," Chief Oren Lyons of the Onondaga Nation told The Washington Post yesterday after the team wasn't able to get on a flight. "We're making headway. But of course, you never know."

The team raised $300,000 to travel to the games. They are ranked fourth in the world.

Get the Story:
Iroquois Team Allowed to Travel to England (The New York Times 7/15)
Iroquois: US to allow lacrosse team to travel (AP 7/15)
Iroquois Team Turned Away From Flight by Passport Dispute (The New York Times 7/14)
Iroquois lacrosse team in passport fight unable to board flight to England at Kennedy Airport (The New York Daily News 7/14)
Iroquois Nation passports have worked for years, attorney says (The Syracuse Post-Standard 7/14)
Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team asks White House to honor sovereign passports (The Washington Post 7/14)
Iroquois lacrosse team misses England flight in passport hold up (CNN 7/14)
Lacross team's Iroquois passports deemed insufficient (The National Post 7/14)
US bars Iroquois lacrosse team from flight to the UK (BBC 7/14)
Why the tribe who invented lacrosse can't play it here (The Independent 7/14)

Related Stories:
Steven Newcomb: Obama won't recognize Iroquois documents (7/13)
Iroquois lacrosse team can't head overseas due to travel issue (7/13)