July 17, 2010

Some Indians oppose Iroquois stance

Iroquois passport dispute raises sovereignty issue

By Felicia FonsecaThe National Congress of American Indian, based in Washington, D.C., has advocated on behalf of the lacrosse team, urging British officials to allow the members entry into England on their Iroquois-issued passports.

But some say the team's adamant position has gone too far.

Michael Smith, a Navajo living on the Southwestern reservation, said it's important to note that the Iroquois live in the U.S. on land he and his father fought to protect as Marines.

The Iroquois land isn't recognized globally as a country, so the team's efforts have been almost futile, he said.

"You're flying overseas," he said. "Get your U.S. passport and go kick some butt."

Luanna Bear, a member of the Tulsa Creek Indian Community, part of the larger Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma, said anyone who travels abroad should have the proper documents.

"A lot of tribes don't want to lose their identity, so that's what they're trying to keep," said Bear, 48. "But I believe you have to follow all laws."
Comment:  Actually, some Iroquois live in Canada or on reservations that straddle the US/Canada border. It's either too simplistic or flatly wrong to say they're all US citizens.

Smith has kind of missed the point of tribal sovereignty. The Iroquois team was saying they should be recognized as a country or the equivalent. They were protesting precisely for that principle.

They deemed the principle more important than playing games. Judging by the responses I saw on Facebook, most Indians were cheering them on. As I said, I think they'll receive some accolades to make up for missing the lacrosse championship.

Valerie Taliman, who was helping the team, says the media published more than 2,000 stories on the subject. That's a huge amount of publicity for the cause. It's arguably worth the loss of a few lacrosse games.

Iroquois passports are improper?

As for Bear's comments, most countries have deemed the Iroquois passports "proper" for the last 30 years. The team obviously thought the US and Britain would accept them this time too.

What's proper is a matter of custom, precedence, and morality, among other things. It's a matter of the spirit, not the letter, of the law. We probably could identify thousands of laws that people violate because they're arbitrary or unfair, even if they're technically "proper."

Besides, the US has to "follow all laws" too. And treaties, including those with Indian tribes, are the "supreme law of the land." I don't know if there's a treaty that covers Haudenosaunee travel, but one is easy to imagine. Any treaty that declares the US will respect Haudenosaunee culture or customs implicitly grants them the right to travel without US passports.

In a just world, we'd treat such a treaty as the gospel. It would supersede Homeland Security regulations because, again, it's the supreme law of the land.

For more on the subject, see Developing Tribal Passports and Iroquois Team Fights for Sovereignty.


Chief Diet Coke said...

Only a Navajo would say something as crass and belittling as that. Once again we have the ugly face of the everlasting largest tribe in its usual ethnocentric supremist tunnel thought that, "we Navajos are the only Indians that were Marines, codetalkers and inventers of frybread", rhetoric that has every whiteman and trailerpark in the fourcorners area brainwashed into calling it NAVAJO TACOS, what a "national" joke.

The Iroquois has had a longer history in dealing with the crown and sovereignty while the largest SW Tribe was still one larger Athabascan people "un-confederated" and unorganized only to be divided by the US Army and currently sells their minerals and labor at the behest of corporate America and at the cost of thier collective physical health.

I support the Iroquois in all their efforts of sovereignty rights. In Oklahoma, the police still racially profile Natives with tribal tags and most banks, businesses and even many government agencies, state especially, will not honor tribal photo IDs, unless they find your dead body or arrest you for some reason, only then is your tribal ID "honored".

I cannot help but believe that the US Government is the reason these athletes are getting refused.

This is a time when racism and division shows its ugly head. Instead of being supportive and standing by one another for the greater cause, Natives suddenly become "Americanized" and join the status quo!

No offense to my good 'Dineh bros and sisters, and you know who you are!

dmarks said...

"Only a Navajo would say something as crass and belittling as that."

Whites (a la Serbs vs Croatians) are apparently not the only people who employ broad negative stereotypes/slurs against other sub-groups of the same "race".

Chief Diet Coke said...

Yes DMARKS, "There is an Easter Bunny!"

Wow DMarks, you really don't get out much, do you?

You have never heard that many Native American tribes consider(ed) both Jews and Germans; Irish and English; French and Italian; Hutu and Tutsi; Cherokee and Choctaw, to be the same people?

Did you also know that there is a big difference between reservation and non-reservation natives?

Did you know that tribes are divided by language, region, spirituality and cultures as well?

Did you know that the conflict arising from said Serbs and Croatian peoples, all Slavians by region, was mainly religious and political?

Need I go on?

Just remember this, I never used the word, "subgroups", you did that!

And since you obviously never been around alot of Navajos lately, most Navajos consider themselves a race by themselves. Just ask their neighbors, the Hopi, Jicarilla Apaches and all seven Ute bands.

You'll find this "employment of broad negative stereotypes/slurs against other sub-groups" with African Americans, Asians, Europeans and yes, American Indians too!

Cheyennes, Souix, Comanches, etc., have all been known to treat their fellow natives as "subgroups"!

Anonymous said...

Chief white guy offending natives
I'm pretty sure they're called Navajo tacos in the four corners area because thats what they are in that area.

Chief Anti-Anonymous said...

No Anomymous, I know this hurts your mind to grasp and it is possible you may never understand, but the Navajo Taco comment I made was a form of sarcasm in stating that and READ CAREFULLY and SLOWLY:

Navajos are not the only tribe that makes frybread topped with taco beef, beans and salad, hence, Indian tacos.

My point was that "Michael Smith, a Navajo living on the Southwestern reservation, said it's important to note that the Iroquois live in the U.S. on land he and his father fought to protect as Marines."

I took offense because I am a full blooded native veteran that supports the Iroquois' decision in asserting "sovereignty". In this so-called land of the free and home of the brave, most American entrepreneurs got their start by simply having the balls to step up and open up a lemonade stand with failure or success, that is how most non-Natives got "their American Dream", so to speak, but Indians are not given that "freedom" and are over-regulated and are overtaxed!

Indians use of Sovereignty with regards to land rights, tribal businesses and use of tribal (IDs) identity on both individual and tribal/nation levels has always been a deeply touchy and sensitive issue for the white community,
as gaming has proved.

Non-native big business and all levels of governments, ie., local, county, state and federal are threatened because
Natives asserting basic rights and prospering economically has always ran against white privilege. This historical envy has always been directed towards African Americans, Asians, Latinos and specifically, Native Americans, why do you think they created a Bureau of Indian Affairs? To actually HELP Indians, don't be so stupid. Even some Indians believe this still!

Your response of, "Chief white guy offending natives
I'm pretty sure they're called Navajo tacos in the four corners area because thats what they are in that area." is simply a reactionary and Eurocentric method of response and typical of most. It is a shortsighted and pre-mature thought process too easy to formulate. Do some real thinking buddy!

If you are native, you need to educate yourself on native issues and respond intelligently, otherwise, you have been successfully assimilated into the American melting pot as a whiteman.

If you are not native, there are plenty of other conservative websites to ventilate your ignorance.

Anonymous said...

What does that have to do with regional names of foods? I'm pretty sure white people in the four corners area don't make frybread stick with the question I asked of you.

Chief Diet Coke said...

Exactly my point Anonymous!

What does it matter that white America sees ALL tribes as the same just as most natives see Germans and Jews as the same?

Truth in fact, they are not, right?

I used FOOD as an analogy to explain how tribes and regions vary across this nation.

You have a very small and limited mindset.

Anonymous said...

You did not use food as an analogy for people thinking all natives are the same you said Navajos or Diné are crass and claim they invented frybread where is the analogy for racism there besides pointing out you do not like Navajos?