Biden pushes for Indigenous Lacrosse Team's at 2028 Olympics. © Getty Images

US President Joe Biden has announced at the White House Tribal Nations Summit that he is asking the International Olympic Committee to allow the Haudenosaunee Nationals to compete as a separate team at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

"Their ancestors invented the game. They have perfected it for a millennium. "Their circumstances are unique and they should be granted an exception to field their own team at the Olympics. The game has brought tribes together. A force for peace, friendship and healing. Six Nations players are still some of the best in the world," Biden said. 

That would require the IOC to make an exception to a rule that only allows teams playing as part of an official national Olympic committee to compete in the Olympics. The Haudenosaunee have competed as a separate team in several international events since 1990.

"We hope the IOC will see it our way. If we are successful, it won't just be the flag of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy flying at the Olympics, it will be the flag of indigenous people around the world," Tom Perez, the White House senior adviser and director of intergovernmental affairs, told the Associated Press.

A recent image of the Haudenosaunee Nationals. Photo from X (formerly twitter).
A recent image of the Haudenosaunee Nationals. Photo from X (formerly twitter).

The Haudenosaunee, also known as the Iroquois, Five Nations or Six Nations, are an Iroquois-speaking confederation of Native Americans and First Nations peoples in northeastern North America and northern New York State. 

The Onondaga Reservation, located south of the city of Syracuse, is now an Indian reservation in Onondaga County, New York, United States, and the territory of the Onondaga Nation. It is a politically independent entity, as the nation is federally recognised by the United States government, and had a population of 2,244 at the 2010 census.

Lacrosse is set to make a return to the Olympic Games as an exhibition sport in Los Angeles in 2028, marking its comeback after an absence of 80 years. At the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, Canada and the Winnipeg Shamrocks won the gold medal, while the Mohawk Community of Canada took bronze. The 1908 London Olympics were the last time lacrosse was an Olympic sport, with Canada defeating Great Britain 10-14 in a unique head-to-head final. 

It was also included as a demonstration (or exhibition) sport in the 1928, 1932 and 1948 Summer Olympics. The United States was represented by the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays men's lacrosse team in 1928 and 1932, and by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1948. Canada sent an all-star team in 1928 and 1932, and Great Britain sent an all-star team in 1928 and 1948.

Lacrosse is back to the Olympic Games. © Getty Images
Lacrosse is back to the Olympic Games. © Getty Images

Shortly after the IOC announced in October that lacrosse would return to the Olympics, it reiterated its stance that teams must compete under the flag of an established Olympic committee. It suggested that the US and Canadian Olympic Committees would have to find a way to include Indigenous athletes in their respective national teams.

But... what will the IOC do? Can you imagine Springfield, Massachusetts competing as a separate basketball team because James Naismith invented the sport there in 1891? Or Montreal as a separate hockey team because it hosted the first game in 1875? Anyway, this case is a bit different... Let's wait and see.