International Men

May 23, 2013

Trevor Tierney on FIL's Iroquois Decision: 'Salt on the Wound'

by Matt DaSilva | | Twitter


Trevor Tierney, a two-time U.S. team goalie, says the Iroquois Nationals' placement in the 2014 world championship is "bigger than any predetermined rules."
© Kevin P. Tucker

A Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) decision that would remove the Iroquois Nationals from the top division in the 2014 world championship in Denver due to their non-participation in 2010 has come under scrutiny and now resides in an appeal to its general assembly.

Shortly after the decision became public earlier this month, two-time U.S. team goalie and University of Denver men's lacrosse assistant Trevor Tierney took to Twitter to express his disappointment in the decision.

Tierney provided the following statement in an email to Lacrosse Magazine on Tuesday:

"I was very shocked and disappointed in the FIL when I learned that the Iroquois were not being included in the Blue division for the 2014 World Games. There are three main points that I would like to make as to why this does not seem like a fair decision to me.

"One thing many people in our lacrosse community do not seem to understand is that the Iroquois come from a sovereign nation. That means that they have their own government issued IDs. When England would not accept those ID's, they were basically not recognizing them as having their own nation. I believe that this must have been a very painful decision against the Iroquois. Imagine how we would feel as Americans if we were in the Olympics and China told our teams that they were not accepting American passports as legitimate. If the FIL follows the rule book, and seeds the Iroquois 30th in the tournament, then they are basically backing up England's stance and pouring salt on the wound for the Iroquois. This is simply unacceptable and the socially responsible and respectful thing for all of us to do is to stand up for the Iroquois and recognize their sovereignty.

"Secondly, our lacrosse community should become more aware of a term known as cultural misappropriation. Basically, this term means to borrow ways of life from another culture and use it in whatever way you like, without the proper respect. In lacrosse, we use names for awards and products, traditional art forms for designs on t-shirts and logos, and borrow from the native people in many ways. We should also not forget that this game was a gift that the native people had invented themselves and we should be grateful for that. If we are going to do these things, then we should be asking for permission from the proper authorities amongst the Six Nations and we should be treating their people, traditions and art with the respect that it deserves.

"With all that being said, I know one thing. The Iroquois would never expect us to hand them a top seed in the Blue division out of pity or just from the fact that they created the game or out of respect of tradition. Those guys would want to have earned it and they have. They are clearly the only team that can even come close to competing with USA and Canada. They will have some of the top talent in the world on their team and they will be a blast to watch. If they are placed in another division, they will absolutely destroy those teams and it will be a waste of everybody's time. To not have them in the division is detrimental to the world games and we should have all of the best teams competing with each other for the entire tournament.

"The FIL needs to understand that this is bigger than any predetermined rules. The FIL is comprised of a handful of people. This is not complicated. They should overturn their decision and do whatever it takes to make the tournament work. If they still need to include Germany, then fine. If they need help rescheduling a tournament, than I am happy to help. We have to do it all the time at DU with our recruiting tournaments.

"I believe that everyone in the lacrosse community should support the Iroquois in one way or another to make sure this decision is overturned. Quite frankly, if I were playing on this world team, I would boycott the tournament. It can't be played without the USA at home and the FIL knows that. There are guys out there that will have the power to do that.

"This is a big tournament on a big stage. It is important for the sport of lacrosse to do the right thing and show the world that we are grateful, respectful, supportive and fair to the native people who gave us this game."

Editor's note: The 2010 Iroquois Nationals were denied entry to Manchester, England, by the U.K. Border Agency -- an agency of the British government that oversees England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland -- after receiving a one-time exemption from the U.S. State Department regarding their Haudenosaunee-issued passports and travel documents. Their resultant forfeiture in the 2010 FIL World Championship led to their removal from the Blue Division in the 2014 games, a decision now up for appeal to the FIL General Assembly. Click here for more on the story.

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