Iroquois passport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Iroquois passport
Iroquois passport.png
The front cover of a contemporary Iroquois biometric passport.
Date first issued 1923
Issued by Iroquois League
Type of document Passport
Purpose Identification
Eligibility requirements Iroquois League

The Iroquois passport is a form of identification and an "expression of sovereignty"[1] used by the nationals of the Iroquois League (Iroquois: Haudenosaunee).


The Iroquois government has issued passports since around at least 1923, when Haudenosaunee authorities issued a passport to Cayuga statesman Deskaheh to travel to the League of Nations headquarters in Geneva.[2] The Iroquois passport evolved from negotiations with the U.S. State Department, Canada, Britain and other countries and has been used since 1977.[3]

In 2005 Japan allowed a delegation travelling on the Iroquois passport to visit that country for the World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions.[4]

The Iroquois passport is not accepted for entry into Canada. In early 2010, a delegation from Kahnawake to an environmental conference in Bolivia was unable to return to Canada on the passport, stranding the group in El Salvador for several weeks before they were allowed, under escort, to transit via the United States.[5] On June 18, 2011, yet another incident has occurred at the Cornwall, Ontario, port-of-entry into Canada where an Akwesasne Mohawk woman's Haudenosaunee passport was confiscated and a Certificate of Indian Status card had to be used to cross the border.[6] When asked about this incident, a spokesman for the Canada Border Services Agency confirmed that the Iroquois passport is not on Canada's list of acceptable identification.[7]

In July 2010 the United Kingdom did not accept the tribal passports of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team for travel to the UK for the 2010 World Lacrosse Championship,[8] initially as it was unclear if the United States government would allow the team back into the US.[9] The United States government offered to immediately issue United States passports to the team-members, and several days after this offer was rejected, issued waivers that would allow the team back into the US; the UK continued to refuse to issue visas.[10]


The validity of an Iroquois passport for various purposes has been questioned, and the issue is entangled with the larger issue of Iroquois sovereignty. In July 2010 the Bloc Québécois sovereigntist organization voiced its opposition to the validity of the passport, saying that a passport should only be issued by a country, not a nation.[11] The Isle of Man has issued public warnings rejecting the document as a valid form of either identification or nationality and regards holders as U.S. or Canadian citizens,[12] and the European Union does not recognise it as a valid travel document and has issued guidelines stating that visas cannot be affixed to the passport, barring holders from the Schengen area.[13][14] Both list the Iroquois passport as a "fantasy passport", a document issued by a minority, sect, population group or private organization,[14] which according to the Isle of Man has "no authority and to which no official recognition has been given".[12]

The governments in the United States,[9] the United Kingdom[8] and Canada[11] have refused to endorse the document as valid document for international travel. Additionally, the document does not appear on the list of acceptable identification to cross into Canada.[6] The Iroquois passport has, however, been successfully used for international travel,[15] like the novelty passport of the "Conch Republic" micronation.[16]

The passports do not currently meet the 2009 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requirements for entry to the United States, although upgrades are in progress.[17]

Other Native American and First Nations peoples[edit]

In 1977, a Cree man from Timmins, Ontario successfully entered Sweden on a home-made Cree passport.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Iroquois Nation passports have worked for years, attorney says". Syracuse Post-Standard. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  2. ^ Native & American Indian News, Culture, Music, Art and More - Indian Country Today Media
  3. ^ William Wallace (12 June 1990). "Putting Tradition to the Test". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  4. ^ Gonyea, Wendy (June 1, 2005). "Onondaga Communications Reports on 19TH World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions". 
  5. ^ Horn, Greg (June 1, 2010). "Canada prevents Mohawks from returning home on Haudenosaunee passports". 
  6. ^ a b Kristy Nease (11 July 2011). "Iroquois passport seized at border: Mohawk woman to file human rights complaint". Ottawa Citizen. 
  7. ^ Kathryn Blaze Carlson (2011-01-11). "Ottawa in ‘explosive’ situation over rejected Iroquois passport". National Post. Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  8. ^ a b Samantha Gross (15 July 2010). "British decision halts Iroquois lacrosse visit". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  9. ^ a b John Wetenhall (13 July 2010). "Iroquois Lacrosse Team Prevented From Traveling to Championships". ABC News. 
  10. ^ Thomas Kaplan (2010-07-16). "Iroquois Defeated by Passport Dispute". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  11. ^ a b "Iroquois passport flap stirs Quebec ‘nation’ debate". 
  12. ^ a b "Public Warning: False Identity Documents". Isle of Man. Archived from the original on 2009-07-20. 
  13. ^ "Crossing borders". 
  14. ^ a b "Table of travel documents..." (PDF). 
  15. ^ Verna Dobnik; Eva Dou (2010-07-13). "US rule could keep Iroquois from lacrosse tourney". Associated Press Newsfeed. New York, NY. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  16. ^ Babson, Jennifer (2001-10-03). "Atta May Have Obtained Conch Republic Passport". "Miami Herald". 
  17. ^ Michael Benny (Director) (2010-07-19). "Iroquois spend $1.5 million to upgrade passports". Syracuse, NY: WSTM NBC3. Retrieved 2010-07-20.  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  18. ^ "Sweden accepted Cree's 'passport'". Montreal Gazette. 25 August 1977. Retrieved 17 July 2015.