Iroquois Nationals and Israel: A True Test of Values for the Haudenosaunee

Are we to participate in this years games in Israel given their ongoing genocide against Palestine?

The 2018 Federation of International Lacrosse World Field Lacrosse Championship Games are less than a couple of weeks away. Thus, as Haudenosaunee, we have a true test of values before us.

Given their ongoing genocide against Palestine, are we to participate in this year's games in Israel?

It is a tough moral question that we as Haudenosaunee face.

I am a strong supporter of the BDS (Boycott Divest Sanction) movement against Israel because of their genocidal policies against Palestine. That’s what the policies are, and that’s what I will call them, for we as Haudenosaunee have been victims of the same sort of genocidal policies here in the United States of America. Israel carries out those same policies, including genocide, repression, and containment.

The United Nations calls the Gaza Strip an "open-air prison". I’ll do them one better and call it what it is: a reservation. I always thought of the term "reservation" as a place not for people, but a nature reserve for animals, to preserve the “savages” in their natural state.

Israel will call the “savages” terrorists for fighting against oppression and genocidal policies.

Do not misunderstand me. I recognize Israel’s sovereignty, since they respect us enough to recognize our sovereignty, but that only goes so far, especially in light of the hundreds massacred at the border and thousands more injured by Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers, in this year’s Right Of Return March.

Seeing the violence perpetrated against mostly unarmed protestors, I can’t help but be taken back to November 20th, 2016, on the Backwater Bridge in Standing Rock, seeing the violence perpetrated against unarmed peaceful protestors and the similarities to our own struggles here.

Luckily for us, we were not subjected to lethal force, but those Palestinians standing peacefully against oppression and genocide had their lives cut short by Israeli Defense Forces. Many of these victims were children, medics, and even journalists -- making these war crimes -- but that’s a discussion for another time.

I would like to be clear that it is not that I don’t want us to participate in the year’s World Field Lacrosse Championship, and it's hard to just outright say, “No, we should not go” because we fought so long to be a part of it.

To turn our backs on that -- even for the right reasons -- is where I'm torn.

I hope those young men on the Iroquois Nationals understand our history and are able to see that what is happening to the Palestinians, is exactly what has happened to us. Land theft, genocide, oppression are all things that we as Onkwehonwe have experienced.

If we do go, if we don't decide to boycott Israel, I hope we can show Israel in other ways that those of us who faced oppression and genocide will not tolerate it. Just as we historically used the Creator's Game to replace war, this can somehow be our battlefield, to fight against oppression and genocide.

Comments (13)
No. 1-13
David Hollenshead
David Hollenshead

Cody, I think you could use this as an opportunity to educate the Israelis about the nature of "Ethnic Cleansing": My Prussian Jewish Grandfather wrote the Medical Protocols for treating the Survivors of the Concentration Camps, while serving in the US Army. What he saw, is not very difference to the wholesale slaughter of American's First Nations,. The current situation for the Palestinians is so similar, to when Jewish People of Europe were forced into the Ghettoes, before they were taken to the Concentration Camps. Can you first compare the abuse of your Nation by Europeans to the Holocaust, and then compare the abuse of your Nation by Europeans to the present situation of the Palestinians ???

Cody Jock
Cody Jock

You are absolutely right, that's definitely something I should touch on. I didn't include it in this because this was meant as a letter to my people and asking them an important question. Thanks for your input. Next time I'll definitely be sure to include more for those who are outside the community.


Cody, thank you so very much for writing about this. It is truly a dilemma. I commend you for what I believe is a thoughtful, sincere approach. I am a Jew, have lived in Israel for four years, have adult children living there now and I am a strong active supporter of the Palestinian people's struggle for their lives and basic human rights. You suggest that the Iroquois National players talk with their Israeli counterparts about the similarities between what your people have suffered and what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians. That's a constructive thing to do. An additional thing is for the Haudenosaunee athletes to take some time to go out of their way, visit in the West Bank, see how Palestinians live and talk with them. If any of them want to do this, even for a two or three hours, I can help with contacts. Thank you again for your attention to the just struggle of the Palestinian people.


this Op ed is ridiculously biased and filled out outright lies. I am shocked that indian country ran it.

first off

There is no genocide of the arabs in "palestine" and anyone claiming it, is either stupid or ignorant. in fact the arab population in Gaza and the PA has exploded. no population in history has ever increased during a so called genocide. For you as a native to parrot that nonsense, suggests a profound ignorance.

no the united nations has never said Gaza is an "open air prison" and if they did, the claim would be laughable. and its nothing like a Rez, have you ever been there? I have, when was the last time you saw a 5 star restaurant on a rez? how about a waterpark? and im not talking about casino Reserves either. You need to think long and hard before spouting this nonsense because its a flat out lie.

Israel calls terrorists terrorists, you know people who stab toddlers and little old ladies and people sitting down for friday night dinner. why? because those are actually terrorists.

You claim you respect their sovereignty yet claim to support BDS. you claim they have killed a huge number of "palestinians" but the stats do not lie and they have in fact killed very few and of those the majority were in fact hamas operatives (as admitted by hamas).

The Jews are in fact the indigenous people of that land, just as you are the indigenous people of your land. if another group of natives came from bc and claimed your lands, you would fight, and thats how you have to look at arabs who came from the hejaz (not israel) and claim jewish land.

You want to stand up for indigenous people? stand up for the actual indigenous people, the ones whose entire history stems from that land.

I am glad the iroqious nationals are going and I know they will represent us well, and they need to focus on Lacrosse, not this virtue signalling idiocy.


and Mivisair you are the last person any true human rights activist should speak to, you are a well known pretender.