Iroquois passport
Iroquois passport.png
The front cover of a contemporary Iroquois biometric passport
Issued byHaudenosaunee Confederacy
First issued1923
EligibilityHaudenosaunee nationality

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


The Haudenosaunee government has issued passports since 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 US 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, another incident occurred at the Cornwall, Ontario port-of-entry into Canada when 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 Haudenosaunee Nationals field lacrosse team for travel to the UK for the 2010 World Lacrosse Championship.[8][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; however, the UK continued to refuse to issue visas.[10] In July 2018 Israel accepted the team's passports, subject to assurances from the Canadian government that they would be allowed back into Canada on them.[11][12] In August 2022, Ireland acknowledged and accepted Haudenosaunee passports for the 2022 Under 21 World Lacrosse Championship.[13]


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 political party voiced its opposition to the validity of the passport, saying that a passport should only be issued by a country, not a nation.[14] The Isle of Man has issued public warnings rejecting the document as a valid form of either identification or nationality and regards holders as US or Canadian citizens,[15] 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.[16][17] Both list the Iroquois passport as a "fantasy passport", a document issued by a minority, sect, population group or private organization,[17] which according to the Isle of Man has "no authority and to which no official recognition has been given".[15]

The governments in the United States,[18] the United Kingdom[8] and Canada[14] have refused to endorse the document as valid document for international travel. Additionally, the document does not appear on the list of forms of acceptable identification to cross into Canada.[6] The Iroquois passport has, however, been successfully used for international travel.[19]

The passports do not currently meet the 2009 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requirements for entry to the United States, although upgrades are in progress.[20]

Other Indigenous nations' passports

In 1977, a Cree man named Fred Plains from Timmins, Ontario, Canada, claimed to have successfully entered Sweden on a home-made Cree passport.[21]

See also


  1. ^ "Iroquois Nation passports have worked for years, attorney says". Syracuse Post-Standard. 14 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  2. ^ Toensing, Gale Courey (July 16, 2010). "Iroquois Nationals forfeits first game". Indian Country Today. Archived from the original on October 12, 2010.
  3. ^ Wallace, William (June 12, 1990). "Putting Tradition to the Test". 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". Onondaga Nation.
  5. ^ Horn, Greg (June 1, 2010). "Canada prevents Mohawks from returning home on Haudenosaunee passports". Kahnawake News.
  6. ^ a b Kristy Nease (11 July 2011). "Iroquois passport seized at border: Mohawk woman to file human rights complaint". Ottawa Citizen.
  7. ^ Blaze Carlson, Kathryn (January 11, 2011). "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. ^ Marshall, Tabitha (August 15, 2013). "The Iroquois Nationals and the 2010 World Lacrosse Championships". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  10. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (July 16, 2010). "Iroquois Defeated by Passport Dispute". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  11. ^ "Iroquois Nationals face travel delays to World Lacrosse Championship over passport issues | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  12. ^ "Iroquois Lacrosse Team Defies BDS to Reach Israel". B'nai Brith Canada. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  13. ^ Kirst, Sean. "Between Haudenosaunee and Ireland, lacrosse builds deep bond of respect". Buffalo News. Retrieved 2022-09-06.
  14. ^ a b "Iroquois passport flap stirs Quebec 'nation' debate".
  15. ^ a b "Public Warning: False Identity Documents". Isle of Man. Archived from the original on 2009-07-20.
  16. ^ "Crossing borders".
  17. ^ a b "Table of travel documents..." (PDF).
  18. ^ John Wetenhall (13 July 2010). "Iroquois Lacrosse Team Prevented From Traveling to Championships". ABC News.
  19. ^ Verna Dobnik; Eva Dou (2010-07-13). "US rule could keep Iroquois from lacrosse tourney". Associated Press Newsfeed. New York. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  20. ^ Benny, Michael (2010-07-19). "Iroquois spend $1.5 million to upgrade passports". Syracuse, NY: WSTM NBC3. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  21. ^ "Sweden accepted Cree's 'passport'". Montreal Gazette. 25 August 1977. Retrieved 17 July 2015.