Updated December 20, 2023 at 3:27 p.m
At the 2022 World Games, the Haudenosaunee Federation was represented by its lacrosse team. And also at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles?
© IMAGO/ZUMA Wire/Jeremy Raines
The North American Haudenosaunee Native Americans want to compete in lacrosse for their team at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. They are even receiving support from US President Joe Biden.
Football comes from England, handball from Germany, and basketball from the USA. Lacrosse, a sport in which the ball must be pushed into an opponent's goal using net-like sticks, has its roots among Native Americans.
That's one reason why the Haudenosaunee Federation, an association of six indigenous peoples of North America, will certainly want to be there when lacrosse celebrates its return to the Olympic program in the summer of 2028 after more than 100 years — and it's better with its team private. a team.
The Mohawk was already present at the 1904 Olympics
From a historical perspective, there are good reasons for this. According to the World Lacrosse Association, there is evidence that various indigenous tribes in the Americas played variations of the sport as far back as the 12th century, long before they came into contact with European settlers.
In the 19th century, this sport was modernized and, under the name lacrosse, became part of the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis (USA). At the time, only three teams competed in lacrosse competitions, including the Mohawks (which competed under the Canadian flag), one of the nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
Today the Haudenosaunee still have an official lacrosse “national team,” they are part of the World Lacrosse Association and regularly participate in the World Series. And it was very successful: at the 2023 World Cup in San Diego, USA, in which teams from all continents participated, it was enough to get the bronze medal behind the USA and Canada. The Haudenosaunee will also compete in lacrosse at the World Games, a multi-sport event for non-Olympic sports, in 2022.
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Joe Biden calls for an exception to the 2028 Olympics
And now the Haudenosaunee wants to compete in the Olympics when lacrosse returns. What seems like a crazy idea has already received support from the highest levels of politics. The president is ours
The American President said: “Your ancestors invented the game and mastered it thousands of years ago. Their circumstances are special and they must be granted an exception to participate with their team in the Olympic Games.” Canada's Minister of Sport and the World Lacrosse Federation also spoke in favor of independent Haudenosaunee participation.
The problem: No sports federation in the world takes as tough a stance as the IOC when it comes to admission to the federation. There are almost no exceptions in the Olympic Games, as in football, where four parts of the United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, can participate in the competitions.
Only certain US foreign territories such as Puerto Rico or Guam as well as British Overseas Territories such as Bermuda or the British Virgin Islands are allowed to participate under their own flag without being an independent country. In addition, athletes who fled their countries with their own teams were represented at the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020.
The Olympic Charter excludes participation
The Olympic Charter stipulates that there must be a National Olympic Committee to participate in the Games. These committees, in turn, should explicitly represent independent states recognized by the global community. In addition, National Olympic Committees must represent at least five different sports federations – but the Haudenosaunee Federation will only participate in one sport.
This means: If the Haudenosaurians want to participate in the Olympics with a team, they can only fly under the American or Canadian flag. The International Olympic Committee does not appear to be ready to make an exception yet, and the US President's appeals have remained unanswered. It remains to be seen whether the inventors of lacrosse will actually be able to compete under their flag in Los Angeles in 2028.
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