State recognized tribes in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

  (Redirected from State recognized tribes)
Jump to: navigation, search
Yellow - states with federally recognized tribal entities
Red - states with state recognized tribal entities
Orange - states with both federal and state recognized tribal entities
White - the legal status of tribal recognition in Tennessee is uncertain as of this writing

State recognized tribes are Native American Indian Tribes and Heritage Groups that are recognized by individual states for their various internal government purposes. State recognition confers limited benefits under federal law and is not the same as federal recognition, which is the federal government's acknowledgment of a tribe as a sovereign nation. However, in some states, state recognition has offered some protection of autonomy for tribes not recognized by the federal government. For example, in Connecticut, state law protects reservations and limited self-government rights for state-recognized tribes.


The United States Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, gives ultimate authority with regard to matters affecting the Indian tribes to the United States Congress. However, about 20 states have recognized Native American tribes outside of federal processes. Typically, the state legislature or state agencies involved in cultural or Native American affairs make the formal recognition.[1] Three states {{!<--which?-->}} have developed formal processes by which Native American groups can seek to become state recognized, but have not yet recognized any groups.

In legal parlance, an Indian tribe is a group of Native Americans with self-government authority.[2] Of the tribes recognized by states which recognize tribes, some tribes have sought and been denied federal recognition.

Under the United States Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990,[3] members of state-recognized tribes are authorized to exhibit as identified Native American artists, as are members of federally recognized tribes.

List of state-recognized tribes[edit]

The following is a list of tribes recognized by various states, but not by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Tribes are noted that have been denied federal recognition; many continue to work to gain such recognition.



California has no formal policy with regard to the State Recognition of tribes. Some tribes have found sympathetic legislators to sponsor Assembly Joint Resolutions to urge the President to recognize their status as tribes. There are no associated benefits from such recognition.




In 1988, the Florida Governor's Council on Indian Affairs adopted a policy recommending that the state refrain from recognizing any group that does not have federal recognition. If the state government wished to proceed with recognition, it recommended:

So far, Florida has recognized no tribes.


In 2007, the state legislature formally recognized as American Indian tribes of Georgia the following:[22]

Unrecognized tribes with the same name as Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokees, Inc. (II) and (III) exist.[8][10]




On January 9, 2012, the state recognized two Piscataway groups as state recognized tribes by executive order.[33]


In addition Wampanoags unaffiliated with the Mashpee or Aquinnah and tribal members from Maine tribes [formerly under Massachusetts jurisdiction till statehood in 1820] are represented by the State Commission on Indian Affairs[36]



New Jersey[edit]

In addition, New Jersey recognizes the Inter-Tribal American Indians of New Jersey, an organization created circa 1980 to meet the needs of American Indians from across North and South America who are now living in New Jersey. The organization provides social activities and support to those Indians living in New Jersey and is dedicated to educating the public about American Indian culture and history.

New Mexico[edit]

In New Mexico, the State Constitution authorizes the State to recognize tribes other than those with federal recognition.[18]

New York[edit]

North Carolina[edit]

There is also an Unrecognized tribe with the name, Meherrin-Chowanoke (II).


South Carolina[edit]

Section 1 31 40(A)(10), South Carolina Code of Laws (Annotated) provides that “The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs shall promulgate regulations as may be necessary regarding State Recognition of Native American Indian entities in the State of South Carolina.” These rules and regulations shall be applicable to all entities seeking Native American Indian State Recognition as a: A. Native American Indian Tribe;[50] B. Native American Indian Group;[51] C. Native American Special Interest Organization.[52]

State-recognized Tribes:

State-recognized tribal Groups:

State-recognized tribal Special Interest Organization:


The "Etowah Cherokee Nation" was recognized "as a nation of people" by Proclamation of Governor Ray Blanton on 25 May 1978. The group's tribal recognition was rejected in a legal opinion by the 1991 administration "absent statutory authority" of the governor to recognize certain Native Americans as a "nation of people."[57] The group ceased to exist in Tennessee by 1993.

Tennessee Code authorized the seven-member Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs from 1983 to 2000 and from 2003 to 2010 to "establish appropriate procedures to provide for legal recognition by the state of presently unrecognized tribes, nations, groups, communities or individuals, and to provide for official state recognition by the commission of such."[58]

On 19 June 2010, 11 days prior to its termination, six members of the Commission of Indian Affairs, four of whom were members of the same groups seeking the Commission's recognition, violated its administrative procedures, adopted a new standing rule recognition procedure, and proceeded to approve state recognition of six groups. However, the state Attorney General, as the Commission's attorney, determined that the Commission committed six violations of the state's Open Meeting Act, Open Record Act and Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, and declared the June recognition "void and of no effect" on 3 September 2010.[59][60][61]



As of May 3, 2006, Vermont law 1 V.S.A §§ 851–853 recognizes Abenakis as Native American Indians, not the tribes or bands. However, on April 22, 2011, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed legislative bills officially recognizing two Abenaki Bands.

On May 7, 2012 Governor Shumlim signed legislative bills officially recognizing two more Abenaki Bands:


Shares a name with an unrecognized tribe Rappahannock Indian Tribe (II).


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sheffield (1998) p63
  2. ^ 25 CFR 290.2, "Definitions"
  3. ^ The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, US Department of the Interior: Indian Arts and Crafts Board. (retrieved 23 May 2009)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v State Recognized Indian Tribes (2010-2011). National Congress of American Indians (Accessible as of February 9, 2011 here).
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af "List of Federal and State Recognized Tribes: State Recognized Tribes (2011)". National Conference of State Legislatures (Retrieved 5 Aug 2012). 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h NEAR Small Business Development Center. "Tribes Recognized by the State of Alabama". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Alabama Indian Affairs Commission. "Tribes Recognized by the State of Alabama". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Cherokee Nation (Fraudulent Indian) Task Force: Fraudulent Group List (as of June 23, 2010) (Accessible as of June 28, 2010 here)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an "Tribes & Nations: State Recognized Tribes". 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Petitions for Federal Recognition". Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap Troy Johnson. "U.S. Federally Non-Recognized Indian Tribes". 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as "U.S. Federally Non-Recognized Tribes". 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au Wild Apache. "Wild Apache Native American Portal". 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i Karen M. Strom. "A Line in the Sand: Contact Information for the Tribes of the United States and Canada". Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al "Roster of State Recognized Tribes, 2006". Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay LIST OF PETITIONERS BY STATE (as of July 31, 2012) (Accessible as of January 15, 2013 here)
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h "A-Z Index of Tribal Governments, on". Retrieved 2010-09-12. 
  18. ^ a b c Sheffield (1998) p64
  19. ^ Sheffield (1998) p65
  20. ^ Sheffield (1998) p66
  21. ^ Sheffield (1998) p63-64
  22. ^ O.C.G.A. § 44-12-300 (2007) Title 44, Chapter 12, Article 7, Part 3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, Georgia Legislature. Quote: The State of Georgia "officially recognizes as legitimate American Indian tribes of Georgia the following tribes, bands, groups, or communities" for state purposes
  23. ^ a b O.C.G.A. § 44-12-300 (2007)
  24. ^ a b Sheffield (1998) p67
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Nations, Tribes, Bands". Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  26. ^ Metts, Tara.The-Caring-Difference-Newsletter"National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) and its implications in Kentucky", Summer 2010, Vol. 9, No. 2, p. 4, Retrieved Sep 2013
  27. ^ Cooper, Sara. Indian Welfare Act Compliance Desk Aid May 2010, Retrieved Sep 2013
  28. ^ John Y. Brown: Governor. Commonwealth of Kentucky
  29. ^ "Cherokee Nation Proclamation", Ernie Fletcher: Governor, Commonwealth of Kentucky website
  30. ^
  31. ^ a b c d e f g "Louisiana Governor's Office of Indian Affairs" Retrieved on 4/8/2008.
  32. ^ "Four Winds Tribe website"
  33. ^ Executive Orders 01.01.2012.01 and 01.01.2012.02 "Recognition of tribes in the state", Governor's Office
  34. ^ a b Witte, Brian. "Md. Formally Recognizes 2 American Indian Groups." NBC Washington. 9 Jan 2011. Retrieved 10 Jan 2011.
  35. ^ a b c d e f Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness
  36. ^ Michael S. Dukakis. "EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 126 - Massachusetts Native Americans". 
  37. ^ a b Michigan Department of Human Services. "State Historic Tribes". 
  38. ^ House Memorial 40 (HM40), "Genizaros, In Recognition" and Senate Memorial 59 (SM59), "Genizaros, In Recognition," 2007 New Mexico State Legislature, Regular Session.
  39. ^ See New Mexico Legislature: Glossary of Legislative Terms—General Legislative and Financial Terms
  40. ^ Cohen, Felix S. Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law. 2005 ed. Newark, NJ : LexisNexis, c2005. KF8205 .C6 2005, Sec. 3.02(9) at 171.
  41. ^ Alexa Koenig and Jonathan Stein, "Federalism and the State Recognition of Native American Tribes: A Survey of State-Recognized Tribes and State Recognition Processes Across the United States", University of Santa Clara Law Review, Vol. 48 (2008) pg. 107
  42. ^ a b c d e f g North Carolina Department of Administration (February 2007). "North Carolina American Indian Tribes and Organizations" (PDF). 
  43. ^ a b Sheffield (1998) p68-70
  44. ^ a b c d e f g "Virginia tribes take another step on road to federal recognition" in Richmond Times-Dispatch, Wednesday, October 28, 2009.
  45. ^ STDs in American Indians and Alaska Natives: OHIO, National Coalition of STD Directors
  46. ^ Office of the Governor, Ohio. June 20, 2013
  47. ^ signiture book of attendees
  48. ^ 1805, 1809, 1813 Treaties, Keplers Book of Treaties)
  49. ^ "current events page"
  50. ^ “Native American Indian Tribe” means an assembly of Indian people comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with their descendents, who have a common character, interest, and behavior denoting a separate ethnic and cultural heritage, and who have existed as a separate community, on a substantially continuous basis throughout the past 100 years. In general, core members of the tribe are related to each other by blood. A tribal council and governmental authority unique to Native American Indians govern them.
  51. ^ “Native American Group” means a number of individuals assembled together, which have different characteristics, interests and behaviors that do not denote a separate ethnic and cultural heritage today, as they once did. The group is composed of both Native American Indians and other ethnic races. They are not all related to one another by blood. A tribal council and governmental authority unique to Native American Indians govern them
  52. ^ “Native American Special Interest Organization” means an assembly of people who have united for the common purpose of promoting Native American culture and addressing socio-economic deprivation among people of Indian origin. The organization is made up of Native American Indians and other ethnic races. A tribal council or other form of governing body provides oversight and management. Membership is not required. They may be organized as a private nonprofit corporation under the laws of South Carolina.
  53. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs. "SC tribes and groups" (PDF). 
  54. ^ a b c d e f South Carolina Indian Affairs Commission. "Members". 
  55. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n South Carolina Indigenous Gallery. "Visitors Center". 
  56. ^ a b Receipt of Petitions for Federal Acknowledgment of Existence as an Indian Tribe (68 FR 13724)
  57. ^ Chattanooga InterTribal Association. "TN Tribal Recognition - past example". 
  58. ^ T.C.A. 4-34-103(6)
  59. ^ Tennessee Attorney General "Mark Greene v. Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs"
  60. ^ Humphrey, Tom. "6 Indian groups lose state recognition: Court order says commission violated open meetings law." Knoxville News Sentinel. 3 Sep 2010 (retrieved 3 Sep 2010)
  61. ^ Tennessee Attorney General Court Order 7 Sep 2010
  62. ^ a b Vermonters Concerned on Native American Affairs. "Tribal Sites VT". Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  63. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Virginia Council on Indians. "Virginia Tribes". 
  64. ^ Sheffield (1998) p71-73


External sources[edit]