The good news is that the Iroquois Nation will field a team at the World Lacrosse Championships that start tomorrow. The bad news is that not every member of the squad will be able to go.
The matter made it all the way up to Hilary Cinton's desk and the State Department will provide a last-minute documentation waiver to the Nationals for players residing in the United States.
"We did have a break-through," said Tonya Gonnella Frichner, an Onondaga and North America's regional representative to the United Nations' Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. "The State Department is making an accommodation. We’re very pleased with the positive results we’re getting."
Cheryl Mills, the chief of staff for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, approved of the one-time waivers for the players born in the United States this morning during a conference call with several attorneys representing the team and with Iroquois Nationals General Manager Ansley Jemison, said Joseph Heath, a Syracuse attorney who represents the traditional Haudenosaunee governments.
The Iroquois Nation and Canada are working on a deal that could get the players there but it's not official yet. One representative did say that if the Canadian-born players are not allowed to travel, the U.S.-born players still will not go to the tournament.
Regardless of what happens from here it's clear that there's a much, much bigger issue to deal with here. Haudenosaunee passports are officially no-good for international travel and won't be recognized by the U.S. from here on out. That's something the Iroquois Nation will have to deal with. I'm sure as much as they're used to things like this, it never feels good. This is part of an even bigger issue than anything that has to do with lacrosse.
For now, let's hope Canada gets it together and the boys can head across the pond to show Latvia how it's done.
Update: Unfortunately the team did not board it's 4:30 flight as it waits for Canadian approval.