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Ireland's lacrosse team gives its spot in an international tournament to a Native American team

In a great show of sportsmanship, Ireland's lacrosse team has withdrawn from an international tournament to allow a Native American team to play in its place.

The Irish team withdrew from The World Games 2020, and the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team will take its place. Michael Kennedy, the chief executive officer of Ireland Lacrosse said, "It's simply the right thing to do"

He went on to say: “We are a proud member of World Lacrosse, and we recognize the importance of The World Games to the continued growth of our sport. As much as our players would have been honoured to compete, we know the right thing is for the Iroquois Nationals to represent our sport on this international stage."

Eight teams were selected to participate based on where the team finished in the 2018 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship. The Iroquois finished third and Ireland finished 12th, but the Nationals were initially deemed ineligible to compete by the International World Games Association (IWGA).

This is because the team does not represent a sovereign nation, and they do not have an Olympic Committee. But in August, the IWGA said it was willing to accept the Iroquois team if a place could be found for them. That's when Ireland Lacrosse announced they would give up their spot.

In response, the Iroquois Nationals tweeted, "You have gone above and beyond not only for us, but for what you believe is right... Your actions have spoken louder than words showing everyone the true power of sport, and the spirit of lacrosse. We will never forget that."

Lacrosse was invented by Native Americans in North American as early as the 12th century,

In spite of this, the team is the only Native American team that has been allowed to play a sport internationally.

The World Games was initially scheduled to take place in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2021 but was pushed back to July 2022 due to the pandemic.

Key terms:

  1. Sportsmanship

  2. Withdrawn

  3. Native American

  4. Iroquois Nationals

  5. Participate

  6. Sovereign Nation

Key questions:

  1. What is a “sovereign nation”?

  2. Why do you think it has taken this long for Native Americans to be able to compete internationally?

  3. Do you think more needs to be done to include teams that aren’t counted as representing “sovereign states”? If so, what?

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