July 13, 2010

US rule could keep Iroquois from lacrosse tourney: Ranked 4th in world standings, and widely accepted as having invented the game, the Iroquois have come up against a subtle attempt of assimilation by the US government.

The team has been traveling on Iroquois passports for the past 20 years, and Iroquois passport-holders have been using them to go abroad since 1977. Members of the Western Shoshonee and Hopi nations also have traveled internationally using similar passports, some within the last few months.

posted by irunfromclones to culture at 03:23 AM - 15 comments

Just one more example of beurocratic red tape where some paper-pusher is insisting on dotting his "I"s and crossing his "T"s. It is insane that these players were able to travel on tribal documents just a few months ago and suddenly can not. The insanity is compounded by the fact that we are seeing more and more relaxation of post 9/11 travel rules.

posted by FonGu at 06:15 AM on July 13, 2010

It seems to me the US State Department could keep a file of 25 people carrying a most unique passport and allow those who carry the Iroquois passport to travel without incident or threat to national security. They have thousands in a "no fly folder" so what's the big deal? This is very wrong and I hope someone wakes up quickly. Would be a shame if they are denied.

posted by gfinsf at 08:21 AM on July 13, 2010

I don't buy for a second that it's a "subtle attempt of assimilation". For one thing, there's nothing subtle about it, but beyond that, I see no evidence that assimilation was the intention. It's just a policy made up by some suit who, as usual, doesn't have enough acquaintance with real life to have considered the many cases where his/her shiny new policy doesn't work in reality. I'm absolutely sure that "oh yeah, wait a sec, we've got all these people who live within our borders but have their own sovereignty, what about them?" didn't even occur to them. It should have, because apparently this gem is the product of the State Department, but it didn't. Why the State Department doesn't concern itself with sovereign nations, well, that one we'll leave as an exercise for the reader.

If it's going to get straightened out, it's got to be within the next few hours...and I agree, the State Department ought to have the power to simply do this. If they don't...still think the Department of Homeland Security (ugh, I still hate that name) was such a great idea?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:32 AM on July 13, 2010

Just foolishness. I hope it all works out for them. They at least seem to have some powerful people on their side.

posted by bperk at 11:45 AM on July 13, 2010

I see no evidence that assimilation was the intention.

I agree with that. The policy is boneheaded and short-sighted, but I don't see any sort of intent to undermine the sovereignty of the Iriquois nation. It's a very possible effect, but that doesn't prove intent. I'm actually surprised that this hasn't come up sooner.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:14 PM on July 13, 2010

"Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence."

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:06 PM on July 13, 2010

Nicely done, JM

posted by tahoemoj at 04:21 PM on July 13, 2010

guaranteeing their readmission to the United States was not an option

Yeh, the US should send them back to where they came from. Oh, wait, never mind!

posted by graymatters at 07:57 PM on July 13, 2010

The controlling legislation goes back to 2004, which means it's not the responsibility of some anonymous bureaucrat; the implementation has been rolled out over the past six years. Congress didn't stipulate an exception for tribal passports, so State can't add one themselves.

(The previous world championship was in London, ON in 2006, when most of the new rules wouldn't have applied. There's no indication in the writeups whether the Hopi and Western Shoshonee travellers went by land, air or sea, where different rules apply.)

So while I agree that this sucks, it's a suckiness where there was plenty of opportunity to fix it in a way that recognised the treaty rights of the Iroquois. Optimistically, there'll be a fudge and it'll get sorted out in Congress later; if not, it's off to court.

posted by etagloh at 01:51 AM on July 14, 2010

Anyone notice that the article mentions the passports are low-tech partly handwritten twice.

Could this situation have been avoided by merely upgrading the passports to the new High Tech versions? I didn't see anything stating they wouldn't honor a high-tech version issued by the council.

posted by stalnakerz at 12:42 PM on July 14, 2010

another thought, if the State Dept. won't play nice, why doesn't the Nation just build their own Airport and make the State Dept. start trying to check passports as people leave the tribal land. If they are their own nation, nothing stopping them from having an international terminal.

posted by stalnakerz at 12:45 PM on July 14, 2010

Or, more realistically, how about someone from homeland security spends about four or five hours consulting with the Iroquois Nation in designing a new passport which is acceptable to both parties? That way, there are no charges of assimilation. Iroquois get to maintain national passports, maintaining citizenship in the nation of their heritage and the state department gets some reassurance that the documents will live up to expectations. Or is that too simple?

posted by tahoemoj at 12:59 PM on July 14, 2010

Latest: Hillary Clinton gets it done as a "one-time-only" waiver. They're headed to the tournament -- what happens next is another story.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:33 PM on July 14, 2010

They're headed to the tournament

Not yet, and perhaps not at all. The equivalent nudge for a fudge needs to be directed at the UK Home Office right now, but that's going to be tricky.

posted by etagloh at 02:58 AM on July 15, 2010

So, that didn't get to go. First the US and now the UK stuck in stupid mode.

posted by bperk at 10:07 AM on July 15, 2010

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