- By Monica Whitepigeon
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — On Aug. 14, the International World Games Association (IWGA), World Lacrosse (WL) and the organizing committee for the World Games (TWG) released a statement saying that the Haudenosaunee Nation will be eligible to compete in the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Ala. should they qualify under criteria set by WL and approved by IWGA.
“On behalf of World Lacrosse, I would like to express our deep appreciation to the leadership of the International World Games Association and The World Games 2022 Birmingham Organizing Committee for their favorable response to our request to allow the Haudenosaunee Nation to compete in TWG 2022,” said World Lacrosse president Sue Redfern in the statement. “It is clear the leaders of these organizations are committed to upholding the highest ideals of international sport, and we are grateful. Though The World Games 2022 Birmingham are still two years away, we look forward to joining other sports for what we know will be an outstanding event and a memorable celebration of sport.”
The decision came after the circulation of a change.org petition, which has been signed more than 50,000 times, called for the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team to be included in the upcoming games.
According to the petition organizers, “The Medicine game (Lacrosse) was gifted to the World and other nations by the Haudenosaunee People and to show this outright disrespect and discrimination is not what this game stands for. We collectively stand in support of the inclusion of the Iroquois Nationals team, in fact, it is each nation who should show gratitude to the Haudenosaunee for their generosity to the world for including us in their powerful game.”
Many of the controversies and challenges that have prevented the team from participating in past games or other international events have been related to issues of tribal sovereignty. The Iroquois Nationals use Haudenosaunee passports for international travel, and on a number of occasions have been delayed at airports while traveling abroad. The Haudenosaunee Nation includes the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga and Tuscarora Nations, and are primarily located in New York, Quebec and Ontario. Native Americans from other tribes are also eligible to play for the Nationals.
“We represent Indigenous communities around the world to some respect. Not just Haudenosaunee, not just First Nations,” said Akwesasne Mohawk Nation citizen Leo Nolan, the executive director of the Iroquois Nationals.
“Indigenous people around the world see this as a banner and we carry that responsibility. We are serious about making sure that banner is carried in a respectful, diplomatic way.”
While this recent decision is still a favorable development for the men’s team, Native women’s lacrosse has had to overcome and navigate their own obstacles for recognition.
In 2017, women’s lacrosse made its first appearance at the World Games in Wrocław, Poland, and will be part of the official programming in 2022. Men’s lacrosse will participate as an invitational sport. Rules and regulations for women vary from men’s lacrosse, such as no physical contact and allows for more players to utilize a larger size field.
For one family, lacrosse means maintaining a cultural connection and deserves equal representation. Amy Lazore (Mohawk) is the mother of two lacrosse players, Jacelyn, who plays for Virginia Tech University, and Mirabella “Mimi,” who plays for Dartmouth College and participated in the Haudenosaunee Nationals Women’s Team and U19 Team at the 2017 and 2019 FIL World Cup. Lazore advocates for girls and young women to play the sport as a modern way to honor their heritage and to stay active.
“I do believe that [lacrosse] came from the Creator. I like to think it gives you wings. I mean I know that’s kind of cliche,” Lazore said in a 2018 interview with CBC Radio. “But I don't know any other way to describe it because it gives girls a chance to be lifted up, and given a chance to do something that is unique because it originated in North America and it originated with their own people. And it becomes part of the weave of the fabric here. It becomes so, ‘Of course girls play. We have great players in our community. We raised them.’”
More Stories Like ThisNative News Weekly (November 27, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Sen. Schumer Announces $7.625 Million Federal Grant on Seneca Nation
#GivingTuesday: Here are 16 Native Nonprofits Worthy of Your Support
CBS Broadcasters Mock Native American College Basketball Player
Alcatraz Island: Indigenous People Gather at Sunrise on Thanksgiving
You’re reading the first draft of history.
November is Native American Heritage Month in the United States. We feel like every month — and every day — is a reason for celebrating Native Americans and our heritage. That’s what we try to do here at Native News Online, with stories each day that celebrate, inform and uplift American Indian and Alaska Native people. Over the past year or so, we have been especially busy with three important reporting projects that are having an impact across Indian Country:
- Indian Boarding Schools. We’ve reported and published more than 150 stories and special live stream video events to help shine a light on the dark era of boarding schools — and help create momentum for change.
- Native Health Desk. Launched in January, this reporting initiative was created to heighten awareness of Native American health inequities and spotlight pockets of progress in Indian Country. So far we’ve reported and published nearly 120 stories and launched a monthly health newsletter that reaches more than 23,000 readers.
- Native Bidaske. In March, we launched this live stream interview program to highlight the work of Native Americans who are making news and leading change in Indian Country. We have hosted guests from the federal government and Native rights advocates as well as Indigenous actors, comedians, journalists and models.
We hope you will join us in celebrating Native American heritage and history this November and invite you to consider the old adage that “Journalism is the first draft of history.” If you appreciate the voice Native News Online gives to Native American people, we hope you will support our work with a donation so we can build our newsroom and continue to amplify Native voices and Native perspectives.
Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.