Iroquois Lacrosse Team Faces Hardships by Traveling on Their Own Passports

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security initially refused to allow the Iroquois Nationals Lacross Team to travel to England for the World Lacrosse Championships using their Haudenosaunee passports. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton finally granted the team a "one-time-only waiver" allowing them to make the trip without US passports. However, the United Kindgom refuses to grant them visas to enter the country.

The Haudenosaunee created their own passports in 1977 in recognition of their status as a sovereign nation, and they traveled internationally on those passports without incident since then. It is a particularly bitter irony that they should be challenged on the occasion of the lacrosse championships when the game was introduced to the world by the Iroquois. See Oren Lyons' letter below for information on the campaign the Haudenosaunee are pursuing around this matter.

Update 7/15/2010: "We have been informed by the Consulate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain that they will not accept the one-time travel waiver offered by the U.S. State Department authorizing travel using the Haudenosaunee passport for the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team and its delegation to the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships starting tomorrow in Manchester, England. We are deeply disappointed, and urge our friends and supporters to reach out to the British government to seek reconsideration in this unprecedented rejection of Haudenosaunee passports as well as the one-time travel waiver issued by the U.S. State Department as was originally requested by the UK Consulate,” said Chief Oren R. Lyons, Honorary Chairman, Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team.

Editors note: At press time, the team missed the 4 p.m. flight while awaiting word from Canadian and British officials to grant waivers and approval of visas. However, a sympathetic donor purchased tickets for an 11 p.m. flight on July 14 and the team is still trying to travel in time to play. It is unlikely they will make the opening game in time, and as a last resort, team officials may request their game time be postponed.

July 11, 2010                                                    
Dear Friends,
                The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team's travel documents were declared unacceptable for travel by the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security at 4 pm, July 8, 2010. This is traumatic to the Iroquois Nationals' travel schedule and budget.  The Board of Directors, Travel Committee, Coaches, Staff and Team of almost 50 people are struggling to convince the Department of State and Homeland Security to accept our travel documents so that our All-American team can compete as a nation against team Canada, team USA, team England, team Australia and team Japan in the premiere Blue Division of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) at the FIL World Lacrosse Championships hosted by England at Manchester from July 15 to 24, 2010.        
                The game of De-hon-tshi-gwa' ehs (Lacrosse) has become an inspiration to a third of the world's youth –  109 countries in all. The long-stick game is a gift to the world from the Haudenosaunee, the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. It would be strange – beyond strange, indeed – if the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team, the national team of the Haudenosaunee were denied participation in the World Lacrosse Championships by agencies of the United States. We are perplexed by this position taken by the Obama Administration.
                Since the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team's admittance to the Federation of International Lacrosse in 1983, the team has participated in every world competition as a member nation, flying our own colors, singing our own anthem and traveling on our own Haudenosaunee passports to England (1985, 1994), Australia and Japan. As citizens we have traveled internationally on our own passports since 1977.  We do not take this issue of passports lightly.  We have traversed our request with the utmost respect for the sovereignty of the nations involved.  As Indigenous Peoples of North America, we have over 200 years of treaties and international relations with our brother, the United States.
                We need your support to help convince the U.S. to accommodate our travel to Manchester, England. The Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team and Team England are scheduled to open the World Lacrosse Championships at 7:00 pm Thursday July 15th.
                This is a call for support.  We want to ensure that Native Peoples should not be told they cannot leave or cannot return to their homelands.
                Please contact the White House at 202.456.4771 to express your support for our clearance to leave and return to participate in the World Lacrosse Championships in Manchester, England, as soon as possible.  Let us know you did so by emailing
                Please also email White House Indian Affairs senior staff Kimberly TeeHee at and two State Department officials, Kathleen Milton at and Lynn Sicade at
Thank you for your support.   When we win, you win.
Day na to,
Joagquisho, Oren R. Lyons
Honorary Chairman
Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team