US President urges IOC to allow home nation to participate in LA28 Summer Olympics

The sport of lacrosse will make its third appearance at the Olympic Games in LA28, but the world’s third-best nation may not have a chance to compete for a gold medal.

US President Joe Biden wants the tribe that invented the game to play in LA28 under their own flag. To that end, he has petitioned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make the Haudenosaunee Nationals their home team in 2028.

The Haudenosaunee were formerly known as the Iroquois. They are a group of six tribal nations whose territory covers parts of New York and parts of Canada. Over the past three decades they have competed as their home team in many international events.

„We hope the IOC will look our way,” Tom Perez, a senior White House adviser and director of intergovernmental affairs, told The Associated Press. „If we win, it won’t be the flag of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy marching in the Olympics, it will be the flag of indigenous peoples around the world.”

Again in October the IOC reiterated its position that teams should compete under the flag of the established Olympic Committee. That means the U.S. and Canadian Olympic Committees will have to find a way to include hard-to-find Indigenous athletes.

Haudenosaunne soldiers face off against Canada with the flag of the Haudenosaunne Confederation in the background. Image credit: World Games 2022

The Haudenosaunee Nationals are currently ranked third in the world in lacrosse, behind the United States and Canada, and they want the same opportunity for everyone in LA28.

„The ultimate goal is for Haudenosaunee to win a gold medal,” said Leo Nolan, executive director of the Haudenosaunee Nationals, while acknowledging that the situation is very difficult.

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World Lacrosse, the sport’s international federation, is for the Haudenosaunee Nationals, who compete in Los Angeles.

„We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the IOC, LA28, and the Olympic Committees of the United States and Canada to explore possible pathways for the Hattenosaunee to participate in the Olympics while respecting the Olympic Games framework,” they said in a statement.

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