CLA In Support Of Iroquois Olympic Inclusion

By Ben Hamill - August 02 2020
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CLA In Support Of Iroquois Olympic Inclusion

The Canadian Lacrosse Association has thrown its full weight of support behind a movement that hopes to see the Iroquois Nationals included in the 2022 World Games.

The Iroquois Nationals, representative of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, has in the meantime said that the best that it can hope for is a “diplomatic” resolution of the team’s exclusion by the Olympic Committee overseeing the 2022 World Games. Since the Iroquois Nationals are “diplomats by nature”, says executive director Leo Nolan, the best approach to take would be a positive one. The idea is therefore to simply ensure that the team is recognised for who and what it is.

And “who” and “what” it is certainly are recognised as the Iroquois Nationals being ambassadors of the game by Lacrosse Canada. According to Jason Donville, director of the Canadian Lacrosse Association’s national teams, a world championship competition of lacrosse, in whatever form, is not a real world championship competition without the inclusion and representation of the Haudenosaunee.

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Competing Is About Education

Donville isn’t at all wrong in his understanding of the dynamic around lacrosse within the context of the Haudenosaunee. The confederacy includes the Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora, Oneida and Onondaga Nations. These are the Nations from whence lacrosse as a sport was born.

And to the Haudenosaunee, so says David Bray, who is a member of the Iroquois Nationals’ directors’ board, competing in global lacrosse competitions is about more than just Olympic or equal inclusion. To the people of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy it’s also a way of introducing themselves to the world and to other people and nations. It’s about educating others about not only the game, but also about their lives, says Bray.

Inclusion The Only Aim, Says CLA

Since the Haudenosaunee are neither considered American nor Canadian, the Olympic Charter does not recognise them as a “country”. The definition of “country”, according to the charter, is an independent state that is internationally recognised as such.

According to Leo Nolan, the idea isn’t to change the rules of the Olympic Charter, but instead, to change the way the international world perceives the Haudenosaunee and the Iroquois Nationals.

A petition for the inclusion of the team in the World Games started sometime last week has since attracted the support of more than 35,200 signatures. The petition essentially calls on countries to support the inclusion of the Iroquois Nationals in the 2022 World Games by refusing to compete in said games.

The Canadian Lacrosse Association has in the meantime said that boycotting the World Games is just one of many options potentially leading to a single outcome, which is to ensure the inclusion of the Haudenosaunee in the 2022 World Games.

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