Column: Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team takes on world powers
"Twenty-three men waited five days. For five days they stood ready to do battle on a field for their nation, but were at risk of being denied the right to do so. They are warriors who engage in a time-honored tradition of championship lacrosse, a game that was invented by their ancestors. Ironically they were being stonewalled by the two nations who conspired four centuries ago to beat their people into submission. Just how high and how far did the debate reach? It took Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to wave her magic wand and allow this team to board an airplane with the guarantee they would be allowed to return.

The 23 men comprise a team known as the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team, an internationally renowned unit led by octogenarian Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation and himself one of the greatest leaders and orators of the last century. Their attempt to board a plane for England was rebuffed by both British and American officials who initially refused to acknowledge the Haudenosaunee-issued passports residents of the Six Nations Confederacy—Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Seneca, Mohawk and Cayuga—have been using for years.

The American solution was, as always, simple. When the British Consulate refused to accept the Iroquois passports without a guarantee the U.S. would let the team actually return after the tournament, the U.S. State Department rushed to their aid and offered U.S. passports to the team members and crew. As usual this is where the breakdown in communication occurs in U.S. and Indian relations. First off, the Iroquois Confederacy is within the geographic territories of both the United States and Canada. Moreover, each tribe within the confederacy is a sovereign nation. Consider them uber-states within America for comparison purposes."

Get the Story:
Off the Reservation by Jed Morey: Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team vs. America (The Long Island Press 7/14)

Related Stories:
Iroquois lacrosse team plans to board flight to world tournament (7/14)
Sports Illustrated: Lacrosse a centerpiece of Iroquois way of life (7/14)
Turtle Talk: A State Department payback on Iroquois passports? (7/14)
Steven Newcomb: Obama won't recognize Iroquois documents (7/13)
Iroquois lacrosse team can't head overseas due to travel issue (7/13)