Federally recognized

Federally recognized tribes are the Native American tribes legally recognized by the United States' Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in the U.S. Department of the Interior.


In the United States, the Indian tribe is a fundamental unit, and the constitution grants Congress the right to interact with tribes. More specifically, the Supreme Court of the United States in United States v. Sandoval, 231 U.S. 28 (1913), warned, "it is not... that Congress may bring a community or body of people within range of this power by arbitrarily calling them an Indian tribe, but only that in respect of distinctly Indian communities the questions whether, to what extent, and for what time they shall be recognized and dealt with as dependent tribes" (at 46).[1] Federal tribal recognition grants to tribes the right to certain benefits, and is largely controlled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

While trying to determine which groups were eligible for federal recognition in the 1970s, government officials became acutely aware of the need for consistent procedures. To illustrate, several federally unrecognized tribes encountered obstacles in bringing land claims; United States v. Washington (1974) was a court case that affirmed the fishing treaty rights of Washington tribes; and other tribes demanded that the U.S. government recognize aboriginal titles. All the above culminated in the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, which legitimized tribal entities by partially restoring Native American self-determination.

In 1978 the BIA published final rules with procedures that groups had to meet to secure federal tribal acknowledgment. There are seven criteria. Four have proven troublesome for most groups to prove: long-standing historical community, outside identification as Indians, political authority, and descent from an historical tribe. While Congress and the federal courts can confer federal recognition, these avenues have been increasingly difficult since 1978. Most tribes have to submit detailed petitions to the BIA's Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA). On average it takes over ten years for a review of their petitions.

In August 2012 the United States' tribal governments. Ancillary information present in former versions of this list but no longer contained in the current listing have been included here in italics print.




























See also


Miller, Mark Edwin. Forgotten Tribes: Unrecognized Indians and the Federal Acknowledgment Process. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004; Bison Books, 2006.

Federal Register

The Federal Register is used by the BIA to publish the list of "Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible To Receive Services From the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs". Tribes in the contiguous 48 states and those in Alaska are listed separately.

Current version

  • 26384)

Former versions

  • 47868)
  • Federal Register, Volume 75, Number 190 dated October 1, 2010 (75 F.R. 60810), with a supplemental listing published in Federal Register, Volume 75, Number 207 dated October 27, 2010 (75 F.R. 66124)
  • Federal Register, Volume 74, Number 153 dated August 11, 2009 (74 F.R. 40218)
  • Federal Register, Volume 73, Number 66 dated April 4, 2008 (73 F.R. 18553)
  • Federal Register, Volume 72, Number 55 dated March 22, 2007 (72 F.R. 13648)
  • Federal Register, Volume 70, Number 226 dated November 25, 2005 (70 F.R. 71194)
  • Federal Register, Volume 68, Number 234 dated December 5, 2003 (68 F.R. 68180)
  • Federal Register, Volume 67, Number 134 dated July 12, 2002 (67 F.R. 46328)
  • Federal Register, Volume 65, Number 49 dated March 13, 2000 (65 F.R. 13298)
  • Federal Register, Volume 63, Number 250 dated December 30, 1998 (63 F.R. 71941)
  • Federal Register, Volume 62, Number 205 dated October 23, 1997 (62 F.R. 55270)
  • Federal Register, Volume 61, Number 220 dated November 13, 1996 (61 F.R. 58211)
  • Federal Register, Volume 60, Number 32 dated February 16, 1995 (60 F.R. 9250)
  • Federal Register, Volume 58, Number 202 dated October 21, 1993 (58 F.R. 54364)
  • Federal Register, Volume 53, Number 250 dated December 29, 1988 (53 F.R. 52829)
  • Federal Register, Volume 47, Number 227 dated November 24, 1982 (47 F.R. 53133) – First time listing that includes native entities within the state of Alaska
  • F.R. 7235) – First listing of Indian tribal entities within the contiguous 48 stateshr:Popis indijanskih plemena -klasifikacija

nl:Lijst van Noord-Amerikaanse indianen no:Etnografisk klassifikasjon av indianere fi:Luettelo Yhdysvaltain liittovaltion tunnustamista intiaaniheimojen entiteeteistä tr:ABD Kızılderilileri kabile birlikleri

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