Iroquois Nationals share aloha in Hawaii

Here’s a change of pace: a non-political ‘feel good’ story. As reported earlier this year, a passport impasse kept the Iroquois National Lacrosse team from this summer’s world championship in England. The team applied their un-used plane tickets to participate in the 20th Hawaii Invitational Tournament taking place this weekend in Honolulu.

The team was greeted with cultural ceremonies and gave back too, with a lacrosse clinic for students from Palolo valley’s Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Anuenue, one of several Hawaiian immersion schools in Hawaii.

As Cindy Luis reports in this Honolulu Star-Advertiser article, the common challenge of defining and defending indigenous rights was meaningful to participants  from both cultures.

“I am proud that they took a stand,” 10th-grader Lopaka Keli’ikoa-Kapolo’i said. “That’s what we should do as Hawaiians — stand for our culture, stand for our rights. It was good to see that they have gained recognition.”

Lacrosse isn’t well-known in Hawaii, but it’s gaining ground. Here’s more on this weekend’s tournament. Good luck and best wishes for all participants.

Side note:

After living in the 50th state for close to 40 years, I still keep tabs on events there via the Internet. (That’s where I saw this story today, which prompted this post.) For all my life – and a good deal longer – the papers of record were The Honolulu Advertiser (founded 1856) and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (founded 1882).

So, what the heck is the Honolulu Star-Advertiser?  Well, daily papers almost everywhere are struggling to stay alive.  Canada-based Black Press purchased both papers and combined them into a single daily in June of 2010.

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4 Comments on “Iroquois Nationals share aloha in Hawaii”

  1. Pete Klein says:

    Thanks for the good news.

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  2. Mark, Saranac Lake says:

    A refreshing story in today’s over-the-top political… stuff.

    As for the Iroquois National Lacrosse Team and the world championships in England – I thought some sort of last minute compromise was made (a one day travel exemption, or something like that) that allowed the team to travel with their own passports to be able to compete in the world championships.

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  3. Lucy Martin says:

    Re: Mark’s impression…as I understand it, from media reports, the whole situation went back & forth – and included timely intervention from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – before ending with a ‘no’ from the British.

    The British Consulate held that only US or Canadian passports would suffice, even though the team had reportedly used tribal documents for international travel in the past.

    In this instance, standing on principle, the 4th ranked team from the culture that invented lacrosse ended up unable to attend the world championships.

    To be fair, the difficulty involves a number of issues, according to this NYT article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/sports/15lacrosse.html

    ” federal law does not allow a tribal document to be used in lieu of a United States passport for international travel. (Security is one reason: The Iroquois passports are partly handwritten and do not include any of the security features that make United States passports resistant to counterfeiting.)”

    Obviously, this is a multi-faceted problem. Even if tribal documents were enhanced with the high-tech security features expected today, a whole host of collateral issues would arise (which tribes may issue ‘passports’? who can vouch for them? etc., etc.)

    On the other hand, what’s the point of being the original, host culture, of having treaties that recognize full legal sovereignty, if sovereign rights are denied?

    These are long-standing issues that won’t be easily solved.

    My unsolicited personal view is that responsible parties, trying to advance their legal rights, deserve respect, a fair hearing and encouragement for seeking workable solutions.

    Native rights are also a big issue in Hawaii, where considerable effort goes in specific programs and crafting possible solutions.

    So it’s sort of cool to see the linkage taking place from the islands to the mainland, by way of sport!

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  4. Bret4207 says:

    They need to decide if they are US citizens or not. If they aren’t, that’s their choice.

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