Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

Iroquois Nationals Defeat United States –Win More than Respect

By: Chase Iron Eyes

The Iroquois Nationals has, for the first time ever, defeated the United States on July 17, 2012 in international field competition at the World Lacrosse Championships (Turku, Finland). Lacrosse is a game that was gifted by Creator to the Haudenosaunee People (Iroquois Confederacy consisting of the Mohawk, Onandaga, Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga, and Tuscarora). For many this is not earth-shaking news; however, for Indigenous peoples of what is now the United States and Canada (Turtle Island) this news brings great pride and uncontrollable thrill. I get emotional when I think of our boys representing not only the Haudenosaunee but all of our people of Turtle Island in a competitive arena where the world’s nation states bring their best young men to test their skills against each other. It’s friendly international relations- just as our people, in the buffalo days, camped side by side and engaged in wrestling matches and other events.

To the Haudenosaunee, lacrosse is not just a game- and to the Indigenous Turtle Islanders (who were always here despite the West’s assertion that we “arrived” via the Bering Strait or otherwise) the Iroquois Nationals are not just playing to win a game; they are playing to win us all respect –whether they win or lose. Every time the Nationals play in international competition, they win the same respect for our people that Billy Mills won when he brought home the Gold Medal in the 1964 Olympics (the only American to win the 10K); only when the Iroquois Nationals win or lose they do so under the colors of their own flag, which is especially inspiring to those of us who want true self-determination, to those of us who want independence from the death grip of “federal Indian law”- that legal fiction promulgated by the United States and based on another religious fiction: the Doctrine of Christian Discovery.

It is said that the Iroquois Nationals travel with the Wampum Belts which memorialize the Treaties that the Iroquois have with the United States, the Dutch and others, and present them at ceremonies as symbols of the Treaty relationship held strong by the Haudenosaunee. These Wampum Belts represent the Treaty relationships that all of our Indigenous nations have with the United States and other countries. These same Wampum Belts, which were first presented by Oren Lyons at the United Nations during the 1970s, are still being used to bring attention and call out what respect may be in other nations’ character to honor their treaties with the world’s indigenous.

When the Iroquois Nationals defeat the USA, every little slight that originates from the USA’s mere presence in our homelands is made a little more bearable. We all walk a little taller. Every time we have been refused prompt service at a restaurant, every time we’ve endured drunk white people wearing hipster “war bonnets” doing the tomahawk chop, every time one of our kids is called a “dirty little Indian,” every time Americans overrun or deny access to our sacred sites with development or attempt to turn them into their vacation or recreation destinations, every time one of our kids is pressured by the education and media institutions to question their own indigenous dignity, the time our hearts sank when the British would not honor Haudenosaunee passports and prevented the Iroquois Nationals from world play, every time the Church does not own up to its past or a state outlaws lawsuits against past abuses, every time- every single time we endure, it is difficult- but we go on. When our people win, we can just live for a little bit, rejoice in the moment, let our defenses relax, and lift our hands in victory.

When we win in athletics and other arenas our hearts are lifted. Our spirits rise with an indelible pride whose source is our dignity as Mother Earth’s children. Go to any high school basketball game in any small town in any gym where an Indian team is playing. See the crowds come in great numbers, sometimes on borrowed gas money and ride-hitching, to a regular season game: adults, children, elders, and supporters. See those already frenzied crowds double in size and draw legitimate heart-felt support from other reservations inhabited by people who were once traditional enemies come to cheer each other on. It is no different with the Iroquois Nationals. We would see thousands of Indigenous people descend upon any city in the United States or Canada if the Iroquois Nationals competed in international competition on Turtle Island. That’s how we roll.

In our hearts and minds, this is another Little Big Horn. This is another coup that our young men have counted, and for that they have earned the world’s honor, respect and feathers from those nations who honor such feats in that way. Lila wophila hecha, hoyewayelo tanchan, tawacin na nagi wasagyapo. Sending a voice to strengthen your bodies, minds, and spirits.

The Iroquois Nationals have three games left on Thursday (July 19) , Friday (July 20) and a final game on Saturday (July 21). The chance of winning gold still alive.

The Iroquois Nationals struggle to raise money to travel to world competitions. Taking a whole team to the world competition this year has been projected to cost nearly $500,000.00.

For the complete schedule, opponents and times, please visit: Http://2012.worldlacrosse.com and http://www.fundrazr.com to donate via their fund drive.

For online streaming of games please visit: http://www.ustream.tv/U19worldlacrosse We expect many warhoops and lilililis for our ambassadors from wherever you watch.