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Lacrossed stars


Iroquois What's the first thing you think of when you hear "lacrosse"? Probably not Iroquois, but the tribe was among the founders of the game, about 1,000 years ago.

Today, an Iroquois lacrosse team is having a little more trouble with its signature game. They're supposed to play in the world championships in Manchester, Britain, but the British government has said, "Not with those funny passports, you don't."

As subjects of a sovereign government that stretches from the United States into Canada, the Iroquois carry the "Haudenosaunee" passports of their tribal nation, and those passports haven't been beefed up to meet current global security requirements. Team members could get U.S. and/or Canadian passports -- and they've already received special permission from the U.S. government -- but they see this as a matter of ethnic pride. According to the most recent reports, they're still huddled at a New York airport, awaiting word from Britain, after forfeiting their first game.

Given the shortness of time, maybe the British government could lighten up a bit. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who ordered the last-minute reprieve on this side of the Atlantic, obviously doesn't consider the team to be a security risk.

But the Iroquois and other sovereign Indian nations should be forewarned: The ethnic-identity argument doesn't overrule international security concerns. In the future, either they bring their passports up to standards, accept U.S. (or Canadian or Mexican passports, as the case may be) passports or stay at home with their sticks.

-- Karin Klein

Photo: Percy Abrams of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team board of directors, holding his Haudenosaunee passport. Credit: Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press


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This issue is not about ethnic pride. This is an issue of the US respecting the treaties they have signed guaranteeing that the Iroquois Confederacy is it's own sovereign nation. The Six Nations have their own government and make thief own laws, yet their sovereign rights are being trampled yet again by the US and Britain. Essentially, the international community wants the players from the Iroquois confederacy to give up their national identity and become citizens of another country which they do not recognize. How would the people of the US like to be told that their national citizenship doesn't matter and they now have to become citizens of a country they do not recognize?

Karin Klein

I get your point, Dave. But if U.S. passports didn't meet the agreed-upon standards for global security, we wouldn't expect the U.K. to accept them, either.


What security threat do lacrosse players pose? Also the lacrosse teams and other members of the Six Nations have been using these passports for over the last 20 years.


Dave: This is a non issue. If the passports don't meet security requirements then all they have to do is meet the requirements. Nothing difficult about that just another excuse to cry racism:you fell for it , gave us your whiny opinion now find a real issue to agonize over......



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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