The controversy over the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team's effort to fly overseas with their tribe-issued passports has brought up issues about what it means for Native American's to have national sovereignty. Though the State Department offered to expedite U.S. issued passports for the team, the team manager said traveling with anything but their Haudenosaunee confederacy passports would be an insult to their culture. Now, the issue is dividing Native American nations across America.

Sanford Nabahe of the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone told WCBS, "Any documents or IDs we put forth recognizing our members should also be recognized by the federal government and other governments. The (federal) government has given us that autonomy." And since tribe land is independent from the U.S., they don't feel the need to carry U.S. passports. One team member said, "You know that as a young person that you are sovereign, that you are not part of the United States. We were the first people here."

But others believe that in a post-9/11 world, the often hand-written passports can't be trusted. Luanna Bear of the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma said, "A lot of tribes don't want to lose their identity, so that's what they're trying to keep. But I believe you have to follow all laws." Though the State Department eventually said the team could travel with their Haudenosaunee passports, the British Consulate would not issue the team visas.

The federal government has been working with various tribes to develop national ID cards, though they wouldn't be accepted for international travel. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been among the legislators urging the federal government to develop a form of identification that would be accepted internationally. Until then, it seems any Native American in the country without a U.S. issued passport will not be able to travel overseas.