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.