President Joe Biden told Native tribes at a summit on Wednesday that he is going to allow Iroquois tribal members, also known as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, to compete under their tribal flag, rather than the American flag, in the 2028 Olympics games in the lacrosse competition.
LaCrosse is a type of stickball played by various American Indian tribes, and sometimes credited specifically to Iroquois. The International Olympic Committee must approve the tribes’ application but with the president’s endorsement, it is all but certain that the request will be granted. It will be the first time the sport will be featured in the Olympics.
The U.S. taxpayers will pay for the tribes competing under their own flag.
Biden said he would sign also an executive order to allow tribes more access to taxpayer money and will be given permission to spend that money without a lot of oversight.
At the 11th White House Tribal Nations Summit Washington, D.C., the president said federal agencies would be mandated to purchase more from Native-owned businesses.
“Folks, separately, we’re also streamlining [strengthening] the Buy Indian Act, so federal agencies get more goals and services — goods and services from Native-owned businesses. Native-owned businesses.”
This year, for example, the Indian Affairs Bureau awarded 75 percent of its budget to Native-owned enterprises, up from about half that in 2021, he said.
“Together, these steps are going to help grow tribal economies and reduce the hoops they have to jump through to get the funding they deserve. It’s all a part of my vision for a new era of respect. Respect for you as leaders, respect for Tribal sovereignty, respect for the Nations’ fundamental right to build a future and own — on your own terms, not anyone else’s terms, not anyone else’s terms,” Biden said.
“It’s hard work to heal the wrongs of the past and change the course and move forward. But the actions we’re taking today are key steps into that new era of Tribal sovereignty and self-determination — a new era, grounded in dignity and respect, that recognizes your fundamental right to govern and grow on your own terms,” he said.