October 30, 2010

Hawaii Invitational Brings Closure for Iroquois Lacrosse

from staff reports | Photo Gallery: Iroquois in Hawaii

Member of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team join sticks with Hawaiian youth players during a clinic Friday, a precursor to the 20th annual Hawaii Lacrosse Invitational.

© John Strohsacker/

The Iroquois Nationals, three months removed from the passport controversy that denied them an opportunity to play in the 2010 world championships as a sovereign nation, took their unused plane tickets and reunited Friday in Waikiki for a Nike-sponsored lacrosse clinic to launch the 20th-annual Hawaii Lacrosse Invitational.

Eighteen of the 23 players that were supposed to play in the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships in England in July are on the Iroquois roster for the tournament, which has drawn some of the sport's biggest names for two decades.

Though those players had been granted (under political pressure) one-time waivers by the U.S. State Department to travel on their Haudenosaunee-issued passports, which reportedly do not meet post-9/11 security specs, the United Kingdom refused to recognize them. The Iroquois had to forfeit their spot in the world games despite boasting one of the deepest and most talented teams in their international lacrosse history.

On Friday, the Iroquois Nationals hosted a clinic for youth lacrosse players in Hawaii, a sign of closure, some said, as well as a symbol of their peoples' shared view of sovereignty.

"This is a symbolic visit, our nation to their nation," Percy Abrams, the team's executive director, told the Star-Advertiser. "We have many shared experiences, like oppression, and a common heart and spirit.

"We were given a very elaborate greeting (at the University of Hawaii's Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies), and we remarked that it was similar in spirit and protocol to our traditional greeting ceremony. It was the unification of the two groups. We were very at home."

"Coming to Hawaii, for this caliber of a tournament, raises awareness and kind of finishes the story for the team," said Nike N7 general manager Sam McCracken.

Click here for the full story. Click here for more photos from the clinic.

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