The Iroquois Nation, or, the Iroquois Confederacy, exists within the borders of the United States of America. Every American Indian tribe considers itself an independent nation, at least theoretically. That we happen to be within the physical boudaries of the United States does not affect that psychological disposition of being separate peoples.
Members of the Iroquois Nations lacrosse team, advertising their status in New York City. Are they wearing those special Niki sneakers made especially for Indians?
The Iroquois passport, and Britain’s refusal to recognize it, magnifies the issue of the American Indian status in the world, as well as in the United States. As of this date, July 16, 2010, the Iroquois Nationals, the lacrosse team of the Iroquois Nation, has not been allowed in England to participate in the world championship games being held in Manchester. The Iroquois Nationals have already been forced to default their first game. They hope to be in England for their second. It doesn’t seem likely. Again, this is all because England will not recognize the “Haudenosaunee” (Iroquois) passport.
House Representative Daniel Maffei, Demcrat, asking the House Speaker to urge Britain to recognize the Irquois passports, and to let the Indians play lacrosse in the world championships.
So, are the Iroquois required to show their passports every time they leave their “reservation”? Must they show their passport when they go to the supermarket in the next town? Are non-Iroquois people required to show their passports when they enter Iroquois territory?
The issue of reservation boundaries and laws is an issue I have dealt with in the process of discussing American Indian casinos and associated businesses, and the whole issue of sovereignty.
My suggestion (to Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California) in 2004 was a national bank for all Indian casino money. Indians need our own currency. This suggestion was based on the idea of Indian tribes being the separate “nations” we claim we are. Though we don’t have a military, and we can’t feed ourselves presently, there are ways we can operate that are more in keeping with the concept nationhood. Having our own currency is one of those ways.
Many conservatives had frowned on the idea of Indian tribes as actual, separate nations. “You can’t have a nation within a nation,” is the most common way of stating that position. “It’s balkanization,” is another way.
I say both these statements are misstatements, and misleading.
It may be a historical anomaly, Indian tribes being separate nations within a nation, but the fact is, the “United States” nation was build around (or on top of) the Indian tribes. It is the United States that is a nation in the midst of other nations. The United States is, of course, bordered by Canada in the north, Mexico on the South; the United States just happens to have a lot of Indian nation borders within its own borders. I see nothing inimical or hazardous in this, not ideologically, anyway. It’s just the way it is.
This relationship is based on treaty, on a historical handshake, on a word of honor. Do the treaties need re-thinking, or re-negotiating? Most definitely. But will they ever be annulled or abrogated? Not as long as the United States Constitution has any validity. (This is why, as an Indian, I cannot abide the alien, lying black African Communist traitor in the White House. All validity is threatened by his hostile regard for the Constitution.)
But, nationhood, in the way of currency and passports, is something that can and should be achieved by all Indian nations. It may seem intolerably inconvenient to many, both Indian and white, but, it is something to think about and work towards.
This separateness, however, is not to be conferred or attributed to any other ethnic group within the borders of the United States. Indian nations are not based so much on ethnicity and religion as they are war. I do speak as a warring plains tribe descendent, but, obviously, the Iroquois feel the same cause.
Nationhood is the right of Indians, here, surrounded by a larger, grander nation–indeed the conquering nation. It may seem a “privilege” from the point of view of the stronger nation, at this point in time, but it is in fact a historical right, by treaty between nations. Such legal separation however is not the right nor the privilege of any other people within the borders of the United States. Indian nationhood must never be thought of as just another ethnic complaint card in the game of racial politics. This is uttterly denigrating to Indians. Our history is incomparable with other ethnic groups in white America. This is our land. We are on our own land. We did not immigrate to America. America immigrated around us.
As an American Indian, I do not support any social, economic or territorical claims of any immigrant group evolving in American borders, regardless of its origins. Immigrant groups, or those historically imported (such as the Negro) will find no support from me in their completely unfounded demands on the United States government. American Indians fought that government, and made treaties. We are worthy of our legal relationship. All these other groups have no such worth or privilege. It is all gratus, from the generous American government.
About the recent “pop-up” casino tribes, I would say that most of this is fraudulent and brings shame upon American Indians. “Federal recognition” has become a by-word in American conversation. Everyone knows that these “pop-up” tribes are the creation of corrupt politicians, the syndicate, and land developers. It has all become a blight on the reputation of honor which the American Indian has long held, and for which so much of American culture has been named for. The American Indian name and image has appeared on American currency! What conquering nation has ever honor the people it conquered in such a way? And think of all the sports teams that covet the savage strength of the Indian warrior.
Of course, psychologically inverted white liberals want to denigrate the Indian to nothing, removing all visual presence of the Indian, but using the Indian only when there is an opportunity to insult the United States government, only when they can validate some anti-American position by using the Indian.
I say, rather, for the Indian, and for America, “a nation within a nation” is a unique, proud, and beautiful thing. There is nothing like it in the world. It is a great honor to both the Indian father and the grand step son of America.