Thursday, July 15, 2010

We don't see people from your nation often, so you're not allowed

I don't usually rant here, but wanted to do this longer than a tweet, so here you go.
I understand security has been cranked in this terror-ridden age. I understand that a lack of familiarity can make it seem easy for terrorists to sneak in... But this still upsets me.

The Haudenosaunee are a sovereign nation. They signed treaties with the US in 1794 that agreed to treat them as such. They are a country in their own right.

Today, a team of Iroquois lacrosse players are being kept from competing in the world championships of the sport their ancestors created by fear and lack of understanding. These players carry passports from their nation - Haudenosaunee passports.

At first, the US insisted they would not be allowed to return to the country with such documents.
"You want to go? We'll give you US passports, use those." A flatout refusal to understand the national pride and identity so important for Native tribespeople that is so hard won and so often forgotten by the mainstream.
Finally the US conceded and guaranteed that they would be allowed to return to the US - just this once.

Now the UK is refusing admittance. "We're not used to seeing documents like yours so we can't let you in."

It blows me away. How many small nations are out there - Native or otherwise - that may have funny-looking documentation? Do we seal the walls and only let in those who look like ourselves? Obnoxious. Scary. Sad for these players who have every right to compete on the world stage.

Check out the news story.
For more on the Haudenosaunee, visit Ganondagan (just south of Victor, NY)(there's a festival there July 24/25! ;-) ).

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