The Haudenosaunee Nationals’ quest to play under their own flag at the Olympics

Joe Biden has backed a Native American lacrosse team’s bid to compete at the Los Angeles Games in 2028. But IOC rules stand in their way

Lacrosse is returning to the Olympics in 2028, and the Haudenosaunee Nationals have no intention of watching from the sidelines. The team represents the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the sport’s birthplace, which straddles the US-Canadian border and is made up of the Mohawk, Oneida, Tuscarora, Seneca, Onondaga and Cayuga people. The Haudenosaunee Nationals’ Olympic campaign in 2028 wouldn’t be a first. In 1904 a team of Mohawk players took part in the St Louis Olympics, but they were officially representing Canada. Now these longtime contenders on the international scene seek to make history and play under their own flag at Los Angeles 2028, making them the first North American Indigenous nation to do so.

“[Lacrosse] is part of our existence,” says Leo Nolan, executive director of the Nationals. “It’s us, so it’s as important as anything else in our lifestyle, who we are. It’s about who we are, so it’s absolutely important for us to contribute this game to the rest of the world.”

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