The Iroquois Nationals are fighting a controversial decision by the Federation of International Lacrosse to not place the Haudenosaunee national team in the elite Blue Division for the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships in Denver. The FIL said that since the Nationals did not compete in the 2010 World Championships, they've lost their place in the Blue Division, comprised of the top six teams from the previous world tournament. But the Iroquois were prevented from competing in 2010 in England because the U.K. refused entry to the American Indians, who were traveling on their valid Haudenosaunee passports. (Read more: Iroquois Nationals Penalized Again for Being Native?)
The Iroquois have appealed the FIL's decision and the General Assembly of the sport's governing body will vote on the matter June 9. An online petition has been started to help the Haudenosaunee in their effort to be restored to their justifiably rightful spot in the Blue Division. Without question, the Nationals are one of the Top 3 national teams in the world, along with the U.S. and Canada.
The petition, which is seeking 5,000 signatures and can be found online here, states:
The Iroquois Nationals, a league of sovereign nations recognized by the UN, were denied entry to England using their own passports. The FIL says they can not be permitted in the top bracket for 2014 due to their non-participation in the prior event. The Iroquois have shared their game with the world AND are widely recognized as one of the top three teams in the world. Help push the FIL leaders to do the right thing by seeding the Iroquois Nationals in the rightful position for this competition.
As of this morning, 4,458 supporters had signed. On June 2, the petitions organizer, David Takata, noted that petitioners from 49 of 50 U.S. states, D.C., Puerto Rico, four Canadian provinces, Israel, England, Ireland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Spain, and Vietnam had signed.
Supporters have shared some strongly worded reasons for signing the petition. For example, Jackie Bobnick of Lawrence, Pennsylvania, stated, "Enough! Stop discrimination against Native Americans."
"Don't take the game away from its originators and give it to the privileged. Indigenous people have had enough of that," Susan Blaine of Gardner, Massachusetts implored.