[Marxism] Two articles: Obama administration blocks Iroquois travel abroad

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at hunterbear.org
Tue Jul 13 04:41:09 MDT 2010

This, by the Obama administration, is stupid and venal.  It flies not only in the face of much precedent and justice generally -- but also undercuts Native rights re Article 6, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution which states that the treaties with the Indian nations are part of "the supreme law of the land." [H]
Indian Country Today   July 13 2010
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The Haudenosaunee 'right of return'
Originally printed at http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/opinion/The-Haudenosaunee-right-of-return-98233729.html

For some 30 years, the Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse), often known as the Six Nations Confederation, have been accustomed to traveling internationally from and back to North America on Haudenosaunee passports. Now, however, the United States government has evidently taken issue with the Haudenosaunee passports.

As a result, the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team has been delayed from its scheduled July 11 departure from New York to Manchester, England for the 14-day 2010 World Lacrosse Championships.

The United Kingdom government has refused to grant travel visas to the 23 Haudenosaunee players because the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Homeland Security have refused to guarantee that the United States will allow the Iroquois Nationals players to return to Haudenosaunee territory by re-crossing the international boundary of the United States.

Even under the George W. Bush administration, the United States government did not attempt to stop the Haudenosaunee from traveling internationally on Haudenosaunee passports. Now it appears that the U.S. government may have shifted its position. Under President Barack Obama's watch, it appears that the United States is not going to honor Haudenosaunee passports despite Obama's statements during his election campaign in Indian country that he was going to respect the nation-to-nation relationship between the United States and indigenous nations such as the Haudenosaunee.

The United States has treaties with member nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederation and those treaties recognize that a nation-to-nation relationship of peace and friendship exists between the Haudenosaunee and the United States. Furthermore, the Haudenosaunee right to travel to and from their home territory is an ancestral birthright, a fundamental right, and an international human right.

It is conceivable that the United States might try to say that the Haudenosaunee players traveling on their own national passports is an issue of "national security" for the United States. Yet to make this argument in any credible manner, the U.S. government would have to explain how Haudenosaunee lacrosse players pose any sort of threat to the United States by traveling on Haudenosaunee passports. There is no such argument to be made because, quite simply put, international travel by lacrosse players on Haudenosaunee passports poses no national security threat to the United States.

The United States government evidently desires to demonstrate a position of authority, dominance if you will, in relation to the Haudenosaunee. To their credit, the Haudenosaunee chiefs are determined to exercise Haudenosaunee sovereignty by insisting that the Haudenosaunee be able to travel internationally to and from Haudenosaunee territory by crossing and re-crossing the international border of the United States.

A major issue seems to be: Do the Haudenosaunee have a right of return to their traditional homeland and territory after traveling internationally on their Haudenosaunee passports?

There is an even more basic question that needs to be addressed by the people of the United States. Since Sept. 11, 2001, has the United States gradually and steadily moved into a state of fear? Since that fateful day, the government of the United States has failed to heed Benjamin Franklin's warning. "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security."

The Haudenosaunee model of liberty served as a powerful and inspirational model for the British colonists who founded the United States of America. The Haudenosaunee Confederation gave the founders of the United States a tutorial on the framework of a democratic republic, and thereby greatly influenced a number of those men who constructed the United States system of government.

In 1987, the United States Congress passed Concurrent Resolution S. 76, formally recognizing the Haudenosaunee contribution to the United States constitutional system. It is ironic, indeed, that the U.S. government - which has been considered by many to be a beacon of liberty in the world -  is now moving to restrict the liberty and sovereignty of the very Confederation that inspired many of the founders of the United States.

Are we to understand that the United States government that previously recognized by Senate Resolution the Haudenosaunee contribution to the founding of the U.S. constitutional system, now refuses to recognize Haudenosaunee passports and the right of 23 peaceful Haudenosaunee lacrosse players to return to their home territory?

The Haudenosaunee played a vital role in introducing lacrosse to the world. (For them lacrosse is ceremonial, for they consider it to be "the Creator's game.") How ironic, then, that the United States government may prevent the Haudenosaunee players from competing internationally in a world lacrosse championship.

The United States has already made it virtually impossible for the Haudenosaunee lacrosse players to travel in a timely manner and rest up before their competition with England's lacrosse team on July 15. Immediate phone calls to the White House and U.S. Department of State in support of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse players are in order.

Steven Newcomb, Shawnee and Lenape, is co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute, author of "Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery," and a columnist for Indian Country Today.

Bid for Trophy Becomes a Test of Iroquois Identity   NYT  July 12 2010 
The Iroquois national lacrosse team was hoping to spend Monday getting acclimated in England as it prepared for its first game in this year's world championships. 

Instead, the team was stuck in a hotel in Midtown Manhattan, missing the visas needed to travel abroad. And the stakes are bigger than a game: what began late last week as a documentation dispute with the British consulate became on Monday a debate over American Indian sovereignty. 

Playing international sports, it turns out, is a lot more complicated when players have to convince the State Department that their passports are legitimate. 

"There have been hurdles every step of the way," said Ansley Jemison, the team's general manager. 

The Iroquois team, known as the Nationals, represents the six Indian nations that comprise the Iroquois Confederacy, which the Federation of International Lacrosse considers to be a full member nation, just like the United States or Canada. The Nationals enter this year's tournament ranked fourth in the world. 

The Nationals' 50-person delegation had planned to travel to Manchester, England, on Sunday on their own tribal passports, as they have done for previous international competitions, team officials said. 

But on Friday, the British consulate informed the team that it would only issue visas to the team upon receiving written assurance from the United States government that the Iroquois had been granted clearance to travel on their own documents and would be allowed back into the United States. Neither the State Department nor the Department of Homeland Security would offer any such promise. 

"Lacrosse is our game - we are the originators, we invented the game, there are 60 countries that play our game," said Denise Waterman, a member of the team's board of directors. "And now we can't go to a tournament that's honoring our game? It's almost unbelievable that this is happening." 

Spokesmen for the Department of Homeland Security and the British consulate said that they would not comment on specific cases. A spokeswoman for the State Department would only say that the Iroquois team has been offered expedited United States passports, but they declined that offer. 

"It would be like saying the Canadians are having travel difficulties and the U.S. says we'll make you U.S. passports and you can go over," Ms. Waterman said. 

Only a few Indian nations issue their own passports, said Robert J. Miller, a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., who has written extensively about federal Indian law. He said that he had never heard of the United States government objecting to the use of such a document. 

Neither has Robert Anderson, who was associate solicitor for Indian affairs in the Interior Department during the Clinton administration and now directs the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington School of Law. 

"The tribes will probably say, 'Hey, we've got the authority to do this,' " he said. 

But the State Department said Monday 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. A spokeswoman said that an October 2008 internal directive emphasized that policy, though it noted that other countries had sometimes recognized such documents. 

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Monday to express his dismay that the players were being prohibited from traveling with their tribal passports. 

"It's a matter of tribal sovereignty and respecting the rights of the Native American population of this country," he said in a telephone interview. 

Representative Dan Maffei, a Democrat from upstate New York, said that the federal government's refusal to recognize the Iroquois passports had the potential to be an "embarrassing situation" for the United States. 

"This is a true issue of principle," he said. "Whether or not their principle is right is not for us to decide." 

The Iroquois team said that even if its situation is resolved immediately, the players will not be able to arrive in England until Wednesday at the earliest, leaving little or no time for practice before their first game - against England, in the tournament's opening contest - on Thursday night. 

The delay has been an expensive one. It was difficult for the Nationals to raise the $300,000 for their trip to the world championships, and the delay in traveling to England - and the arrangements that had to change as a result - has already cost the team more than $20,000, Ms. Waterman said. 

The team was able to secure practice time at Wagner College on Staten Island, where players worked out on Sunday and Monday. Meanwhile, some members of the team who had never been to New York City used their free time on Monday to visit Times Square. 

"We're making the best of it," Mr. Jemison said. 

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