If you were one of the lucky passport holders to visit South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup – it was an amazing competition, but now it’s over. If you are looking for the next big sport to root for – you may find yourself turning to lacrosse.
You’ll need a passport to see this year’s lacrosse world championship as it takes place in England. However, an American team has run into an obstacle and may not be able to compete.
The Iroquois national lacrosse team was prepared to travel to England for its first game in the tournament, but instead, because they are missing the visas needed to travel abroad – the team is stuck in a Midtown Manhattan hotel.
What is at stake is on a larger scale than the tournament itself – it is a documentation dispute with the British consulate over American Indian sovereignty.
As it turns out, the lacrosse tournament has gotten a bit more complicated as the Iroquois players now must convince the State Department to honor their tribal passports.
The Iroquois team, also known as the Nationals, is considered a full member nation, just like the United States or Canada. The Nationals qualified and stand to enter this year’s tournament ranked fourth in the world.
The Nationals and their entourage made plans to travel to Manchester, England, using their own tribal passports. According to team officials, these tribal passports are the same ones that they have used for previous international competitions.
However, the British consulate made the team aware that they needed written assurance from the US government that they would be allowed back into the US before they would issue be issued visas. Neither the State Department nor the Department of Homeland Security was prepared to offer such a promise.
Ironically, lacrosse is a Native American game – they invented the game and now they are being denied the opportunity to travel to the world championship tournament.
A spokesperson for the State Department said that the Iroquois team has been offered expedited United States passports, but they have declined that offer.
The Iroquois feel that their own passports should be sufficient. But the State Department position is that federal law does not allow a tribal document to be used in lieu of a United States passport when traveling outside the United States.
It seems like this whole issue is over the players being prohibited from traveling with their tribal passports. It all comes down to a matter of tribal sovereignty and respect for the rights of the Native American population.
Even if the passport issue is resolved quickly, damage has already been done – the team will arrive with almost no time to practice before their opening contest and the delay has been a financial burden. The delay has already cost them $20,000 in accommodations, travel arrangements and various additional expenses.
Lacrosse player, Native American – or neither, if you are interested in getting a US Passport or US Passport Card, visit us at http://www.rushpassport.com or call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to speak with a Live Agent. (877) 937-7277 (All 50 States) or (212) 643-9305 New York Passport Agency.