Iroquois excluded from the Blue division for Denver


Recently, the FIL Board of Directors made a ruling excluding the Iroquois Nationals from the Blue Division in the FiL World Championship 2014. As the result of the Iroquois team did not participate in the World Championship 2010 in Manchester, England. Due to the issue with the British government refused to recognized the Haudenosaunee passport, which did not allowed the players to travel with their tribal passports.

Team Germany now replaced the Iroquois in the Blue division for Denver, which will be the first time that the Nationals did not participation in the Blue division since the start of the Championship many decades ago. The Chairman of the Iroquois Nationals recently wrote an open letter (see below) to the FIL Board requesting for the appeal, which they shared the letter with all the leadership of the FIL’s member nations.

Since then, the Haudenosaunee Board of Directors have put in motion the petition for the FIL to call for a vote among member nations, to allow the Nationals to play in the Blue division as they were originally supposed to. With a little over a year to go, until more than forty nations arrives in Denver. For the largest gathering of International lacrosse programs in the history of the sport, it would be ashamed if one of the world’s best team is not allowed to play where they’re rightfully should in this tournament.

Iroquois Letter


  1. This is not fair. They get railroaded in 2010 by the British over passports and had to pay for that. ( Which I do not find fair. Its the British government fault they couldn’t come, not the Iroquois) and now the FIL is moving them down in divisions. COME ON!!! If they don’t play where they should they will crush the other teams which might hurt the growth because they might lose interest and waste the Iroquois time. The only benefit from this is lower teams will see what they could be one day in the future. That’s the only positive. But that’s not a good enough reason for this. Do not ruin the Iroquois 2014 run before its starts FIL. (Even though USA going to win it all again.) FIX THIS!!!

  2. It would be better before you go into print that you get your facts straight. It was the USA government that raised the initial objection to the use of the Tribal passports, prior to that the UK was willing to accept them. The objection was on the basis of Homeland security. Very late in the day Hillary Clinton agreed that the Tribal passports could be used, but this was too late to clear the UK Border Agency who had already issued instructions not to accept the tribal passports.

    The letter is pretty dissembling regards the accommodation, which was cancelled, within a few days of the event and too late to secure a refund under the terms of the contract for the accommodation.

    And the comment about whose fault this is is really blinkered. If the squad had chosen they could have attended the 2010 games by using their US and Canadian passports. It was a political decision by the tribe to refuse to do this, so whose fault was it?

    It happens that I support the Iroquois struggle for recognition, and I missed them at the 2010 games and feel their absence was a great loss. However it was a political decision not to travel, and the publicity that the incident caused has been used to great effect by the Nation. Sport and politics do not mix well, and the Iroquois have been bitten on the butt because of their decision to play politics instead of lacrosse.

    • The article did not put the blame on anyone, it just stated that the British government denied entry with that SPECIFIC document. Now if PART of the reasons of that happening is the U.S. State department policy post 9/11 as well as other details involved then people who are not familiar with that back story can search it. Or followed the link that the article attached the link above.

      Whether or not it’s a Sporting/ Political reason unless we’re one of the Nationals’s board member involved in that decision.. we should not speculate. However, by placing them at the bottom entries COULD potentially have a drastic effect of the outcome on the lower divisions.

      We choose to post this, because it is international lacrosse news. Regardless of the out come, the Haudenosaunee people deserves to be heard.

      • The response was due more to the first comment, however the article also does not reflect what was the actual situation back in 2010 and the letter that was published as part of the article is a rewrite of history/ Just three days before the start of the event the accommodation was still being held for the team in the hope that the squad would still arrive, and discussions were still going on between the team liaison and the FIL. I was a volunteer working on site and received hourly updates.

        Payu, Thailand is bidding to host the World games, so if you organised accommodation in a university at reduced rate and for an extended period of time, what do you think the cancellation policy might be?

        I am not questioning the right for the decision to be reviewed, and I think maybe it should, but if you are going to start a campaign about something get your facts straight. I don’t think the content of the letter helps the case for the Iroquois. And you should not turn this into a story of the poor picked on native American team, the story is far more multi faceted than that, and if the sport had been put first, then the team would have played in 2010.

        • I’m not sure about the accommodation aspect of the 2010 World Game, that’s why I did not mention it.. however, I do agree that there should be some sort of financial penalty to compensate for the reserved unused accommodation.

          I’m not sure what kind of arrangement the English Lacrosse as the host of 2010 World Game have with the University, so I can not say what the appropriate “penalty” would be. Since TLA will be handling the accommodation logistic a little differently here due to sponsorship supports etc. so it’s hard to say..

          However, from the leadership point of view.. if the problem a raised for us as a host, I would look at each team’s issue on a case-by-case because of the differences in each circumstances. That said, all the decisions would have derived from some sort of “back bone” rules/ guideline.

          In this case, the host of 2010 World Game did handled it, and it seem the Iroquois paid for it regardless.. so that matter is settled. I won’t rationalize it one way or the other because, I don’t have much details about that. As for the internal executive decision/ discussion with regards to reasoning for this demotion. I can not share that here, and will leave that to the FIL to choose to/not to explain it in due course.

          Thanks for sharing your view, it is good to get all the perspectives.. and make sure that all being heard constructively.

          • I forgot you were there Payu, so you will remember that the position as to whether the Iroquois would be arriving was a matter of discussion right up to the deadline.

            In the spirit of openness I really think that the FIL should publish minutes of their meetings so we can all see what is going on …. there you go Payu, a new campaign for you!

          • I wasn’t at Manchester, but I was in the loop. But it was individually discussed/ explained at the FIL General Assembly in Holland last year. But you’re right on both account with the effort of extending the deadline, and that the ruling should be explained.

    • Iroquois team members born within U.S. borders have been offered U.S.
      passports, but the players refuse to carry them because they see the
      government-issued documents as an attack on their identity, Frichner
      said earlier this week.

      “It’s about sovereignty, citizenship and self-identification,” said
      Frichner, who also is the North American regional representative to the
      UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
      The Iroquois have used their own passports in the past.

      * We are not American or Canadian so why use their passports? We are Iroquois.

      • Towanna, I accept the points about identification totally and support the cause. However you cannot isolate that fight from what is going on throughout the rest of the World, and the genuine concerns that the passport issue raises about security. In this situation there is a need for pragmatism, and a realisation that if you follow what is ultimately a political decision that is may result in unwanted consequences, as in this case. Perhaps support by the USA/Canadian authorities to enable indigenous passports to meet the requires international security standards would help address the matter.

        • We’re in agreement there, which I think it’s something that should take into a lot of consideration (which we have at FIL GA) for Denver. As it is a lot more restricted when it comes to immigration into America, and this may effect team from several particular countries.

  3. 2010. The Haudenosaunee 1st nations people are a sovereign nation AND Created the Game…
    This was Britain’s decision in the final moments, even Hilary Clinton demanded their passports be honored… The Ignorance of the World still continues,,.. Honor the Treaties!!USA is on Native Lands….Prejudice still continues against north and south americas indigenous peoples IDLE NO MORE

    • Joe, you really should not believe all you read in the papers, I repeat, the UK were initially willing to accept the passports and decided not to because of the USA Homeland Security intervention. The USA changed their mind too late for that position to be reversed, I will not repeat this ad nasaeum, as there is little point. Presumably the issue was sorted out in time for the U19s Worlds, and will not occur again.

  4. This discussion is embarrassing. Telling the Iroquois people to avoid politicizing lacrosse. Anyone know the history of the sport? How Native players who couldn’t afford fees for travel and lodging were kept from playing competitively because of the small fees they were given so they could travel. Standing up to bullying is not politicizing the sport. It is the righteous thing to do. I’ll be going to Denver with a sign!

  5. Security issues with Hausenosaunee passports my butt! Can’t remember the last time a Hausenosaunee planted pressure cooker bombs or hijacked planes with box cutters, or tried to blow up a plane with an under wear bomb. Bullshit! The US Government and British Government screwed over the Iroquois.
    Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) getting political? So, a bunch of rich Montealers stealing the game from the Mohawk, banning the Iroquois from playing lacrosse in league/international play because they were “professional” all the while paying white players to play , the US and Canadian governments passing laws banning traditional games, religious practices and language……….. and someone dares to criticize the Iroquois? I guess the world, including the lacrosse world has not moved that far forward has it??????
    The FIL is a joke! The Haudenosaunee should DEMAND that any and all images of Haudenosaunee be removed from their web site!!!
    Idle No More!

  6. Im a massive fan of Iroquois Lacrosse (want to get that out of the way first)!! They play the sport the way it should be played and they are always the team I look out for when ever I attend a Word Championships.

    However, I am more than p***ed off by the way the team and the organisation is being run. Its obvious that are being used for political gain by who ever is pulling the stings. As much as I want to see them in the Blue Division, where they belong the FIL has to make a stand or become a laughing stock in the wider sporting community.

    The passport issue – which every way you flip it, was a political issue that was not fully explored in enough time by the team managers before trying to come to the UK.

    As a manager myself with allot of experience arranging team travel this issue would have been known to the team well in advance and is something which could have been avoided. Instead the team waited until the last minute and found out they had run out to time to resole the issue.

    Instead the management used the team as a political puppets and blamed it on everyone else but themselves. This is something that we should never see in sport.

    Accommodation issue – The accommodation cancellation policy was documented to all teams participating in 2010. You cannot expect the organisers to book your accommodation, for you not to show up and then for them to pick up the bill. The Iroquois Nationals didn’t officially pull out of the tournament until a day or so into the games.

    In conclusion – Yes in principle the “team” did nothing wrong, they are without doubt a world class team that deserves their place at the top table on sporting merit alone, leaving the history of the sport out of it. However they were poorly managed and handled.

    If the FIL want to be taken seriously as they campaign for Lacrosse to become an Olympic sport they have to stick to their guns and go ahead with the published Blue Division schedule.

    We will still see Iroquois play against the likes of the USA and Canada but they will have to the long way round to do it.

    • As the husband of an enrolled Seneca woman, this has more to do with the US government than it does the Haudenosaunee. Each Haudenosaunee member nation has their own identity cards – passports, if you will – that had worked just fine up until the US decided, arbitrarily, to say they no longer did and strong-armed England into following suit. Some countries still accept them, while others do not. It wasn’t until shortly before game time that the US issued a firm, “No, they won’t” and England capitulated, leaving many athletes without US passports stranded. Yes, it’s political, but more the perpetuation of the US government trying to screw Native Americans. The Haudenosaunee nations are sovereign nations with whom other nations are free to interact. The US government is just an inconsistent, arbitrary bully. I know, for fact, that the Senecas are working on identity cards for their members that will meet US security standards, and then individual members will, once again, be free to travel without requiring US passports. I’m not sure how close to completion they are, however.

  7. As an Englishman, A lacrosse player, and a supporter of Iroquois Nationals as a team, I feel ashamed of my governments part in this whole debacle. The passports were perfectly adequate in 1994 when the nationals played in the world championships in Manchester, England, and the only difference between then and now is that America now pulls the strings here. Unless the whole nation has been recently visiting Pakistan for extra “training”, I see no reason why this should have occurred.

    We are fortunate and unique as a sport to have a native nation, the nation who gave us this gift in the first place who compete as equals on the world stage. This makes us stand out, and has been noticed around the world.

    To quote George Orwell – “All animals are equal… But some are more equal than others”, this seems to be the stance of the American government in my eyes, and if so Barack Obama should hang his head in shame alongside the British Government.