We stand with the Iroquois
Updated: Jul 29, 2020
A lot has been flying around on social about the recent choice by World Lacrosse and the World Games 2022 to not extend an invitation to the Iroquois Lacrosse team. In this blog we've tried to gather what information we know and all the resources you need to show your support and take a step to ensuring lacrosse remains fair and open to all.
The Rainbow Rexes are a Club about unity, acceptance and love. We will never be complacent to any act of exclusion or bigotry towards any of our fellow lacrossers.
What has Happened
The World Games 2022 in Birmingham Alabama will feature lacrosse 6's for the second time ever! This is an incredible step for lacrosse, getting recognition on an international stage and we commend all of those who have made this happen.
So it was with great sadness we, and the rest of the lacrosse community, read that the Iroquois Nationals were not invited to partake in the Games.
The Article stipulates that the governing body (World Lacrosse) should:
"Guarantee to organise an elite competition, reserved for invited competitors of the highest international standard only. In selecting the competitors and/or teams the IF shall seek to achieve a satisfactory balance between competitors’ positions on world ranking lists and the fair representation of as many as possible of its member nations."
The Iroquois are currently ranked 3rd in the World meaning that they are well placed in the world rankings - above Japan and Australia who both made the pool.
World Lacrosse are in the process of reviewing their own Member Eligibility criteria - here eligibility is tied to Civic identity, proven through residency, passport ownership etc. In 2010 the Iroquois were unable to compete in Manchester as the British government refused to recognise their Iroquois passports. 10 years in, nothing has changed and World Lacrosse are seemingly perpetrating the same limiting rules.
There are 3 compelling reasons for us to be concerned with the influence and decisions World Lacrosse have taken to bar the Iroquois from taking part in the World Games.
Civic papers are not an immediate block - Hong Kong will be competing at the 22 World Games. Hong Kong athletes would hold a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport, a passport administered via the Chinese Government to permanent residents of Hong Kong - whilst different on a political level in essence this is similar to the Iroquois passport and has not proved a barrier to access.
'Elite team' - We presume that World Lacrosse would select teams based on their ranking, but have clearly overlooked Iroquois (3rd) in favour of other teams; they have freely chosen which teams to and to not include.
World Ranking status - In World Lacrosse fixtures Team GB competes as separate Devolved Nations i.e. Wales, Scotland, England. Team GB currently has no ranking to draw upon (the individual Nations do) - World Lacrosse have supported and made a case for this team, yet have not done so for the Iroquois.
It is clear that there is every opportunity for the Iroquois Nationals to be included in the World Games pool: World Lacrosse have shown such support to other teams, yet has not supported the team and culture who created the sport.
We stand in support of the inclusion of all peoples in the world of sport, recognising that the exclusion of the Iroquois Nationals in the World Games is a violation of their Cultural and Indigenous Rights.
What Should I Do?
Sign this petition calling for the Iroquois to be invited to the World Games
Write to your Regional Governing Body & National Governing Body demanding they lobby World Lacrosse to include the Iroquois in the World Games 2022 and beyond Letter template here
Write to the Geoffrey Roth North American representative on The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Letter template here
Write to the World Games and World Lacrosse demanding they change their stance. Letter template here