7 Requirements to be a Federally-Recognized Native American Tribe

Part of the Native American History For Dummies Cheat Sheet

In order for the United States government to recognize a Native American tribe, the tribe (or group of Native Americans) must meet the following seven requirements:

  1. The petitioner has been identified as an American Indian entity since 1900.

  2. A predominant portion of the petitioning group comprises a distinct community.

  3. The petitioner has maintained political influence or authority over its members.

  4. The group has governing documents which include its membership criteria.

  5. The petitioner's membership consists of individuals who descend from a historical Indian tribe or from historical Indian tribes which combined and functioned as a single autonomous political entity.

  6. The membership of the petitioning group is composed primarily of persons who are not members of an acknowledged North American Indian tribe.

  7. Neither the petitioner nor its members are the subject of congressional legislation that has expressly terminated or forbidden the federal relationship.

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