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The Next Olympics Could Include A Team Indigenous

Canada's success at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, has already proven that the country is chock-full of some of the world's most talented athletes. 

But next time around, some of those stars might be playing under a different flag. 

Indigenous chiefs from Canada's First Nations traveled in Pyeongchang, South Korea, last week, and it wasn’t just to hang out with Team Canada — it was to meet with officials about the participation of an Indigenous North American team at future Olympic Games.

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National Dene Chief Bill Erasmus and Grand Chief Willie Littlechild of the Confederacy of Treaty 6 Nations met with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Chairman of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach to discuss the possibility of entering Team Indigenous, according to the CBC

The new arrangement could allow athletes from Canada, USA, and Mexico to compete together under one flag — that of the native people of North America, according to Erasmus.

“It's more to have our own representation at the Olympics as a nation of people,” he told CBC. “It's been accepted that we can represent ourselves as Indigenous peoples. We don't necessarily have to be there to represent a country called Canada or the United States.”

The way Erasmus sees it, athletes could join Team Indigenous or the team that represents their country.

Team Canada already has indigenous athletes in its roster, including curling champ Kevin Koe and hockey player Brigitte Lacquette.

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Littlechild was also in South Korea to discuss options for Team Indigenous at future Paralympic Games.

Calgary is contemplating putting in a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, which could present the opportunity for the Olympics to add new traditionally Indigenous sports, Erasmus said.

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