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Deja vu – I-Nats blocked from World Games again

Deja vu – I-Nats blocked from World Games again
The Iroquois Nationals were delayed departing Canada on Monday due to passport procedural issues. The team returned to Six Nations territory and held practice Tuesday morning in the Gaylord Powless Arena while awaiting passport clearances to travel to the 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championship in Israel. Photos by Tracy Rector.

SIX NATIONS — Once again, Haudenosaunee passport issues have blocked the Iroquois Nationals from participating in the World Lacrosse Championships, as happened in 2010. They were to leave Toronto Tuesday as a team for Israel where this year’s games are to be held for the first time. After being delayed at Person air-port, they decided,

SIX NATIONS — Once again, Haudenosaunee passport issues have blocked the Iroquois Nationals from participating in the World Lacrosse Championships, as happened in 2010.

They were to leave Toronto Tuesday as a team for Israel where this year’s games are to be held for the first time.

After being delayed at Person air-port, they decided, as a team, that they would not travel under anyone else flag other than that of the Haudenosaunee, even if that means missing the tournament altogether.

The a similar situation developed in 2010, when the I-Nats pulled out of the Worlds and instead played a tournament in Hawaii. After intervention from Hilary Clinton, who took up their cause, allowed the team to fly out of the US, it was the English immigration police that said no to the Haudenosaunee passport.

This years team is prepared to make the same sacrifice as Team Iroquois did in 2010.

Iroquois Nationals Executive Director Ansley Jemison, brought the team to Six Nations to practice on the Powless field Tuesday and spoke with the TRT about the situation.

”The visas are in the works due to negotiations between Canada and Israel,” he said.  “We travel on Haudenosaunee passports to many countries and believe it will be solved quickly.”

But he seemed to be calm and confident the problem will be worked outing time to participate.

“I think there was a bit of a communications issue,” he said. “I think the documents we are traveling on (Haudenosaunee Passport) raises a little concern from time to time. There are a lot of countries that have not heard of what we are doing and who we are. It just requires a couple more steps, T’s crossed and I’s dotted, that’s all, and we hope to hear by the end of the day today and we’ll get on the next flight tomorrow.”

Time differences became an issue as well making Monday in Canada, Sunday in Israel and government offices were closed.

‘But things are moving towards the positive so we’re certainly looking forward to that,” says Jemison.”

He is playing down the negatives, to a degree, to allow those in very high government places in both Canada and Israel to sort out the problem.

“You know what they say, if life sends to lemons, make lemonade, so we made arrangements to come here to Six Nations and have some good practice time,” he said. “We were fortunate enough to get back to one of our territories here at Six Nations of the Grand, there was a field already lined welcoming us. It’s a great feeling to be here on our territory together as a team.”

He and the I-Nats players, coaches and support staff have determined not to let all this upset the focus of this team who remain hopeful, aware that should they get clearance soon enough, they will arrive and play the same day after several hours in the air.

Jemison is also hopeful the I-Nats will arrive in time to participate in the opening ceremonies as representatives of the game’s origins.

“It is important that we be there on the world stage as originators of the game,” he says.

He gave credit to last years women team who did a lot of the groundwork and document creation which the Men’s team is using to support their case.

“Our hats go off to last year’s Women’s National Team who laid a lot of this groundwork that we are using as well to open this up for us and we thank them. It’s important to recognize that our women are being our leaders in that sense,” says Jemison.

He admits that if they are blocked this year, it may have serious negative implications for the entire Iroquois Nationals programs.

“One can only imagine how much of a distraction this will be to the entire World Championship if the I-Nats are not playing,” says Jemison.

But beyond the games, participation in this World tournament offers the players a chance to see the world, talk with people from other cultural and backgrounds and teach others about the Haudenosaunee and the Six Nations Confederacy, which has sanctioned the I-Nats to represent Haudenosaunee people.

The revised travel documents carried by the 2018 I-Nat, has been updated from those used in 2010, to meet some of the government’s concerns which Jemison is still hopeful will be accepted.

Officially known as the FIL Men’s World Championship the games will feature 46 national teams, the largest ever, in a 10-day event between July 12-21 at the Netanya Stadium in Netanya Israel. The event will be broadcast to more than 40 countries and featured on ESPN in U.S.A. and TSN in Canada.

According to a media release from FIL officials, “The Iroquois National team informed the Federation of International Lacrosse and the local organizers that the reigning World bronze medalists, the Iroquois Nationals, have been delayed in their attempt to travel to Israel due to passport procedural issues while departing Canada for the 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championship.

The 2018 FIL Men’s Lacrosse Championship is scheduled for Wingate National Sport Institution and Netanya Stadium, July 12-21 in Netanya, Israel. The Iroquois Nationals are scheduled to play the first day of competition at 8:30 p.m., July 12, at Netanya Stadium.

“The Federation of International Lacrosse is working to assist the Iroquois Nationals and the Israel Organizing Committee to resolve this issue,” said FIL President Sue Redfern. “FIL would very much like to assure the presence of the Iroquois Nationals at the 2018 FIL Men’s World Championship.”

On behalf of the Israel Organizing Committee, David Lasday, Chief Operating Officer of Israel Lacrosse, said, “the Organizing Committee is working diligently to assist the Iroquois Nationals to be able to board their flight to Israel for the Championship.  Their participation is very important to the success of the event.”

The unique nature of the Iroquois Nationals has led to challenges procedurally using Haudenosaunee passports for travel and entry into Israel.”

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