List of federally recognized tribes

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There is a list of federally recognized tribes in the contiguous United States of America. There are also federally recognized Alaska Native tribes. As of January 2016, 566 Native American tribes were legally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) of the United States.[1][2][3]


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).[4] 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.

Following the decisions made by the Indian Claims Commission, the BIA in 1978 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. Tribes seeking recognition must submit detailed petitions to the BIA's Office of Federal Acknowledgment. Consequently, the Federal Acknowledgment Process can take years, even decades; delays of 12–14 years are not uncommon. The Shinnecock Indian Nation formally petitioned for recognition in 1978 and was recognized 32 years later, in 2010. At a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing, witnesses testified that the process was "broken, long, expensive, burdensome, intrusive, unfair, arbitrary and capricious, less than transparent, unpredictable, and subject to undue political influence and manipulation."[5][6]

In January 2015 the United States' Federal Register issued an official list of 566 tribes that are Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible To Receive Services From the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs.[7] The number of tribes increased to 567 in July 2015 with the federal recognition of the Pamunkey tribe in Virginia.[8] The website, the federal government's official web portal, also maintains a constantly updated list of 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.

Alphabetical list of federally recognized tribes



























See also

United States

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

Former versions

  • Federal Register, Volume 78, Number 87 dated May 6, 2013 (78 FR 26384)
  • Federal Register, Volume 77, Number 155 dated August 10, 2012 (77 FR 47868) – 566 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 75, Number 190 dated October 1, 2010 (75 FR 60810), with a supplemental listing published in Federal Register, Volume 75, Number 207 dated October 27, 2010 (75 FR 66124) – 565+1 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 74, Number 153 dated August 11, 2009 (74 FR 40218) – 564 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 73, Number 66 dated April 4, 2008 (73 FR 18553) – 562 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 72, Number 55 dated March 22, 2007 (72 FR 13648) – 561 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 70, Number 226 dated November 25, 2005 (70 FR 71194) – 561 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 68, Number 234 dated December 5, 2003 (68 FR 68180) – 562 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 67, Number 134 dated July 12, 2002 (67 FR 46328) – 562 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 65, Number 49 dated March 13, 2000 (65 FR 13298) – 556 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 63, Number 250 dated December 30, 1998 (63 FR 71941) – 555 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 62, Number 205 dated October 23, 1997 (62 FR 55270) – 555 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 61, Number 220 dated November 13, 1996 (61 FR 58211) – 555 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 60, Number 32 dated February 16, 1995 (60 FR 9250) – 552 entities
  • Federal Register, Volume 58, Number 202 dated October 21, 1993 (58 FR 54364)
  • Federal Register, Volume 53, Number 250 dated December 29, 1988 (53 FR 52829)
  • Federal Register, Volume 47, Number 227 dated November 24, 1982 (47 FR 53133) – First time listing that includes native entities within the state of Alaska
  • Federal Register, Volume 44, Number 26 dated February 6, 1979 (44 FR 7235) – First listing of Indian tribal entities within the contiguous 48 states


  1. Federal Register, Volume 80, Number 9 dated January 14, 2015
  2. Federal Acknowledgment of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe
  4. Sheffield (1998) p56
  5. Federal Recognition: Can the BIA's Acknowledgment Process Be Fixed?, Indian Country Today (August 8, 2012).
  6. Fixing the Federal Acknowledgment Process (S. Hrg. 111-470), Hearing Before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate (Nov. 4, 2009).
  7. Federal Register, Volume 80, Number 9 dated January 14, 2015
  8. Federal Acknowledgment of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe
  9. "Timbisha" is a compound of tüm 'rock' + pisa 'red paint', so the hyphen in the middle of pisa is impossible
  10. Federal Recognition of LRBOI
  11. Federal Recognition of LTBBOI
  12. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.

Further reading

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