A native American lacrosse team's hopes of travelling to England using tribal passports issued by the Iroquois Confederacy were dashed last night when the UK Government refused them visas.
US officials had earlier lifted a ban on the passports but the UK does not recognise them as valid documents for entry and ruled that the team members would have to use Canadian or US passports.
The players regard US government-issued documents as an attack on their identity and the decision means the team will miss the Lacrosse World Championship in Manchester. Tonya Gonnella Frichner, a member of the Onondaga Nation who works with the team, was informed of the decision last night.
"These passports are not internationally recognised as valid air travel documents," a British Home Office spokeswoman said.
The US ban on the use of the passports had been lifted as a one-off waiver at the behest of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who had taken an interest in the case. Officials had originally informed the team that new security rules meant that their old passports – low-tech, partly handwritten documents issued by the Iroquois Confederacy of six Indian nations – would not be honoured. The team needed to get on a flight yesterday to make tonight's game.
The Iroquois Confederacy oversees land that stretches from upstate New York into Ontario, Canada.