common heart. A common spirit. A common cause.
clinic here by the Iroquois National Lacrosse team was much more
than a cultural exchange. For the students at Ke Kula Kaiapuni 'o
Anuenue, the Hawaiian immersion school in Palolo Valley, it was
an educational experience that linked the Hawaiian sovereignty issue
to the recognition problems encountered by the visitors last summer.
Iroquois Nationals were unable to travel to England to compete in
the Federations of International Lacrosse World Championships because
of a document dispute. The players possess passports issued by the
Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, a group of six nations in
the U.S. and Canada. The State Department granted a one-time waiver
to travel, but the United Kingdom refused to recognize the passports.
than use U.S. or Canadian passports, the team ranked fourth
in the world stood firm when defaulting its matches to underline
national pride and the right to self-determination.
loss was Hawaii's gain. Since the team had unused plane tickets,
the Iroquois Nationals opted to compete in this weekend's 20th Hawaii
Invitational Tournament at Kapiolani Park as well as do a clinic
for native Hawaiian youth.
am proud that they took a stand," 10th-grader Lopaka Keli'ikoa-Kapolo'i
said. "That's what we should do as Hawaiians stand for
our culture, stand for our rights. It was good to see that they
have gained recognition."
was cool that their passport experience has to do with sovereignty,
something that we talk about," added Maraya Valenzuela, an
eighth-grader. "And the game is really fun."
is one of the oldest team sports in the Americas, dating to the
12th century. It played a significant role in the religious and
community life of tribes, and "this is a symbolic visit, our
nation to their nation," said Percy Abrams, the team's executive
director. "We have many shared experiences, like oppression,
and a common heart and spirit.
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
with the trip is Nike, with its N7 program, which is geared toward
American Indian and aboriginal communities. Nike Lacrosse, which
has partnered this year with the Hawaii Invitational, has been involved
with the Iroquois Nationals since 2006, and the team will debut
its new game jersey this week, its first competition since the passport
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, who grew up on the Fort Peck Reservation
of the Assiniboine and Sioux in Montana. "From Nike's perspective
we saw this as a great opportunity to provide access to the sport
in underserved communities in the islands. What better platform
in the eyes of Edward Ayau, the only Hawaiian playing for Hawaii
Lacrosse. The fact that the lacrosse tournament is played this time
of the year is no coincidence.
is the time of year for the makahiki, and the tournament is held
to coincide with that," Ayau said of the Hawaiian celebration
that honored Lono, the god associated with agriculture, fertility,
rainfall and peace. "Today was a chance for culture to be exchanged,
to meet each other and share the sport. I think it gave the students
some perspective to build their own self-confidence. They met a
people who stood up for who they are, and I'm glad."
Lacrosse Hawaii Chapter
The Mission of US Lacrosse Hawaii Chapter is to promote the development
of lacrosse in Hawaii and the Pacific by maximizing our resources,
dedication and leadership. We strive to provide programs and services
that inspire participation while protecting and honoring the integrity
of the game. We envision a future that offers people of all ages
in our Pacific Region the opportunity to discover, learn, participate
in, enjoy and ultimately embrace the shared passion of the lacrosse
Our Grandfathers told us many stories that would relate to lacrosse
and how one should conduct themselves and the importance of the
INDIVIDUAL to the game. Lacrosse was a gift to us from the Creator,
to be played for his enjoyment and as a medicine game for healing
the people. The Haudenosaunee people know that all creatures, no
matter how big or small, are significant and have a contribution
to make to the overall cycle of life. Long ago our we were told
the following story about a great ball game that took place between
the four-legged animals and the winged birds...