July 14, 2024


President Biden announced his support of the idea for the Haudenosaunee Confederation, a collection of six Indigenous nations in upstate New York and Canada, to compete under its own flag in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. 

“Today, I’m announcing my support for The Six Nations competing in Olympic Lacrosse under its own Tribal flag,” Biden wrote on X. “Their ancestors created the game. They perfected it for a millennium. Their circumstances are unique and they should be granted an exception to field their own team.”

Biden cited the Haudenosaunee’s role in inventing lacrosse, with World Lacrosse adding that variations of the sport have Indigenous roots in North America in the 12th century. 

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Haudenosaunee lacrosse players

Koleton Marquis, #22, and Daniel Flisk, #20, during the 2022 World Lacrosse Men’s U21 World Championship quarter-final match between England and Haudenosaunee at the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland, Aug. 17, 2022. (Tom Beary/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

While Biden may be giving the Haudenosaunee Confederation the U.S. government’s backing, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has the final say in the matter. They will determine if they can field their own team in 2028.

World Lacrosse has reportedly had preliminary conversations with the IOC about the Haudenosaunee participating under its own flag, Leo Nolan, the executive director of the national team said. 

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“We respect the Olympic Games format,” Nolan explained, via NBC Sports. “We don’t want to break any bounds that may not be the best interest of the Olympic Movement, so we’re very conscious of how we go about making those movements toward our inclusion.”

World Lacrosse also thanked Biden for his support. 

“Recognition of the cultural significance of lacrosse to the Haudenosaunee people — and the Haudenosaunee people to lacrosse — is an important step in our Olympic journey,” a statement read. 

Haudenosaunee lacrosse players

Anahalihs Doxtator of Haudenosaunee is tackled by Luca Schurink of England during the 2022 World Lacrosse Men’s U21 World Championship quarter final match between England and Haudenosaunee at the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland, Aug. 17, 2022. (Tom Beary/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

“The Olympic Games are the most powerful platform for promoting understanding and peace among nations. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the International Olympic Committee, LA28, and the U.S. and Canadian Olympic Committees to explore potential pathways for the Haudenosaunee to participate in the Olympics while respecting the Olympic Games framework.”

Nolan added that, while “it’s a bit of a challenge,” the Haudenosaunee are optimistic the IOC will allow them to participate in 2028. 

“We look forward to working with and collaborating with the International Olympic Committee because they’ll be the ultimate deciding factor. We want to make sure that they understand the importance of lacrosse to our communities and to the world.”

Lacrosse was approved to return to the Olympics via a proposal, which is among five sports that are strictly being added for 2028. 

President Joe Biden

President Biden speaks during a press conference after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ week in Woodside, California on Nov. 15, 2023. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

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The last time lacrosse was in the Olympics came as an exhibition in 1948. It was a part of the official Olympic program in 1904 and 1908.  



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