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President Joe Biden is backing Native American athletes in their pursuit of fielding a lacrosse team at the 2028 Olympics. During the White House Tribal Nations Summit on Wednesday, Biden said he is requesting a "narrowly-scoped exception" to Olympic rules.

Lacrosse was being played by indigenous tribes in North America long before the arrival of Europeans. The Iroquois Nationals Men's Lacrosse Team was formed in 1983, then changed its name to Haudenosaunee Nationals in 2022. The team is currently on a mission to compete in the 2028 Olympics under their own flag instead of under the United States flag. 

"The game brought tribes together. A force for peace, friendship and healing. The Six Nations players are still amongst the very best in the world," Biden said

Lacrosse will be making its return as a medal sport in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics for the first time since the 1908 London Games. Biden said it's only fair that Native American athletes get to represent themselves while competing in a game invented by their ancestors. 

"The Six Nations team is asking to compete under their own tribal flag. Today I'm announcing my support for that request," Biden said. "Their ancestors invented the game. They perfected it for a millennium. Their circumstances are unique and they should be granted an exception to field their own team at the Olympics.

After Biden's speech, World Lacrosse released a joint statement with Haudenosaunee Nationals Lacrosse.

"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," the statement read. "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 Olympics Games framework."