In a controversial decision, the Federation of International Lacrosse did not place the Iroquois Nationals in their justifiably rightful spot in the elite Blue Division for the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships in Denver. The Nationals have already appealed the decision, and Gewas Schindler, the former All-American and current general manager of the Haudenosaunee's national team, has penned an open letter to the governing body's general assembly to further press the matter, which involves sovereignty issues. Here is that letter.
On behalf of the Iroquois Nationals, I am reaching out to call upon you, the FIL General Assembly, to allow us to participate in the Blue Division at the upcoming 2014 World Lacrosse Championships in Denver, USA.
The standing of the Iroquois Nationals as a Blue Division Team is on the line. In February of 2013 the Iroquois were notified of a ruling handed down by the FIL Board of Directors. That ruling declared the Iroquois Nationals team could no longer compete at the Blue Division level based on the teams “non-appearance” at the 2010 FIL World Championships in Manchester, UK. The FIL Board of Directors is only 6 seats. Out of those six seats, only five vote on issues at hand. Those five voting seats are 3 from the United States, 1 from the UK and 1 Australian.
However, there have been two FIL World Championships since Manchester, and both were Blue Division contests for the Iroquois Nationals. The team competed in 2011 in the Czech Republic Men’s Indoor Championships, in which they beat Team USA for the Silver, and in 2012 our U19 victory over the U.S. during pool play and our Bronze Medal win in Turku, Finland inspirits the importance of the Iroquois Nationals place in the Blue Division. We would like to retain our place among the teams USA, Canada, England, Australia, Japan and Germany.
It has come to the attention of the Iroquois Nationals that false information has been circling regarding the passport status of our team. The Iroquois Nationals team does NOT CARRY nor have they been issued passports by the United States of America. The Team that carries a US passport is Team USA, the team that carries a Canadian Passport is Team CANADA, and so on. Our team are citizens of HAUDENOSAUNEE or as historically known, the SIX NATIONS who comprise the Iroquois Confederacy. We have native territories within both Canada and the United States and hold Haudenosaunee passports issues by our government.
According to International Rules, a national team must be 100% comprised of citizens from their teams respective nation, and 85% must hold valid passports issued by their government. The only way for the Iroquois Nationals to be eligible for competition in an FIL World Championship is to travel there on the Haudenosaunee passport. If we would have been issued visas to travel into the UK, as we had received for two previous Championships, the team would have easily made the trip to England. Politics between the US and the UK stood in the way of the Iroquois Nationals competing in the FIL World Championships in Manchester, UK in 2010.
It is our position that the FIL Bylaws, Regulations, Policies and Constitution are all silent on this matter and no comparable past precedence exists. To make such a ruling on uncertain principles contradicts the spirit of international competition and the celebration of the Creator's Game.
As a membership-driven organization, the General Assembly has the ability to overturn the FIL Board's controversial decision, and we are imploring you to perform that ability.
General Manager, Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse