Iroquois Nationals accept invitation to World Games

Lyle Thompson, Onondaga, of the Iroquois Nationals during the 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Indian Country Today, File)

Indian Country Today

Updated: 'We'll see you all in Birmingham. Let's do this.'

Indian Country Today

The Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team has accepted an invitation to compete at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

The International World Games Association, the World Games 2022 Organizing Committee and World Lacrosse announced the news in a joint release Monday.

"We'll see you all in Birmingham," the Nationals tweeted. "Let's do this."

The team thanked fans and others who rallied behind them.

Monday's news follows a weekslong campaign to get the Nationals included in the international competition after the initial roster left them out. Organizers didn’t recognize the Iroquois as a sovereign nation.

They eventually changed the requirements after an online petition garnered more than 50,000 signatures, and other lacrosse programs and sponsors including Nike voiced their support.

“We have arrived at an outcome that will create a true showcase for lacrosse at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham,” World Lacrosse President Sue Redfern said in the joint statement. "This was achieved by our organizations coming together, listening carefully and working constructively to reach a shared goal.”

World Lacrosse Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr thanked the World Games association and organizing committee, along with Ireland Lacrosse and the Iroquois Nationals, “for their partnership and support in working toward an outcome about which we can all be pleased.”

Ireland was one of the eight men's teams originally invited to compete but withdrew to open a spot for the Nationals.

Related:
 Iroquois Nationals competing in World Games ‘just makes sense’
Friendship between Ireland, tribes lives on

Ireland Lacrosse CEO Michael Kennedy previously told Lax Sports Network that since his team was the last to qualify based on 2019 rankings, he knew World Lacrosse would reach out.

“I said, ‘Look guys, I’m going to make this very easy. We want the Iroquois to take up the position which is rightfully theirs,'" Kennedy said.

Iroquois Lacrosse responded by saying Ireland Lacrosse went “above and beyond.”

“We are storytellers, but today we are without words as we contemplate the generosity of spirit shown by Ireland lacrosse,” the team said in a statement. “All we can say is: You are in our hearts. You are part of the spirit of lacrosse.”

The Iroquois, or Haudenosaunee Nation — a confederacy of six First Nations: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora Nations — is credited with inventing the sport.

The Nationals said Monday: "We cannot thank everyone who had our back enough."

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