State recognized tribes in the United States
of the United States
State recognized tribes are Native American Indian Tribes, Nations, and Heritage Groups that have been recognized by a process established under assorted state laws for varying purposes. With increasing activism by tribal nations since the mid-20th century to obtain federal recognition of their tribal sovereignty, many states have passed legislation to recognize some tribes and acknowledge the self-determination and continuity of historic ethnic groups. The majority of these groups are located in the Eastern US, as is the case with the three largest state-recognized tribes: viz. the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and the United Houma Nation of Louisiana.
In many cases, they have recognized tribes that were landless; that is, did not have an Indian reservation or communal land holdings. In addition, such states have often established commissions or other administrative bodies to deal with Native American affairs within the state. It has resulted from the process of increasing self-determination and preservation of cultural identity within some Native American communities, including descendants who remained in states east of the Mississippi River when many tribes were removed during the 19th century.
State recognition confers limited benefits under federal law. It is not the same as federal recognition, which is the federal government's acknowledgment of a tribe as a dependent sovereign nation. Some states have provided laws related to state recognition that provide some protection of autonomy for tribes not recognized by the federal government. For example, in Connecticut, state law recognizing certain tribes also protects reservations and limited self-government rights for state-recognized tribes.
Such state recognition has at times been opposed by federally recognized tribes. For instance, the Cherokee Nation opposes state-recognized tribes claiming Cherokee identity, as well as many non-recognized groups that also claim to be Cherokee.
Numerous other groups assert that they are Indian tribes. Many are listed in List of unrecognized tribes in the United States.
- 1 Description
- 2 List of state-recognized tribes
- 3 See also
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
- 6 External sources
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. Under federal law and regulations, an Indian tribe is a group of Native Americans with self-government authority. This defines those tribes recognized by the federal government.
By late 2007, about 16 states had recognized 62 tribes. Five other states—Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Oklahoma—had less developed processes of recognition. Typically, the state legislature or state agencies involved in cultural or Native American affairs make the formal recognition by criteria they establish, often with Native American representatives, and sometimes based on federal criteria. Members of a state-recognized tribe are still subject to state law and government, and the tribe does not have sovereign control over its affairs. While some state-recognized tribes have petitioned unsuccessfully for federal recognition only the Virginian Palmunky tribe has been successful. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 14 states recognize tribes at the state level.
Under the United States Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, members of state-recognized tribes are authorized to exhibit as identified Native American artists, as are members of federally recognized tribes.
Koenig and Stein have recommended the processes of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, all established by laws passed by the state legislatures, as models worthy of other states to use as the basis for legislation related to recognition of Native American tribes. Statutes that clearly identify criteria for recognition or that explicitly recognize certain tribes remove ambiguity from their status.
List of state-recognized tribes
By 2008 a total of 62 Native American tribes had been recognized by states; 566 had been recognized by the federal government, often as a result of the process of treaties setting up reservations in the 19th century.
The following is a list of tribes recognized by various states, but not by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Tribes originally recognized by states that have since gained federal recognition have been deleted from the list below. The list identifies those state-recognized tribes that have petitioned for federal recognition and been denied. Many continue to work to gain such recognition.
By the Davis-Strong Act of 1984, the state established the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission to acknowledge and represent Native American citizens in the state. At that time, it recognized seven tribes that did not have federal recognition. The commission members, representatives of the tribes, have created rules for tribal recognition, which were last updated in 2003, under which three more tribes have been recognized.
- Cher-O-Creek Intra Tribal Indians
- Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama (formerly Cherokees of Jackson County, Alabama) Letter of Intent to Petition 09/23/1981; certified letter returned "not known" 11/19/1997.
- Cherokees of Southeast Alabama Letter of Intent to Petition 05/27/1988; certified letter returned marked "deceased" 11/5/1997.
- Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama
- Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe of Alabama Letter of Intent to Petition 06/27/1983. Declined to Acknowledge 08/18/1988 52 FR 34319, Denied federal recognition
- 'MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians Letter of Intent to Petition 05/27/1983. Final Determination to Decline to Acknowledge published 12/24/1997 62FR247:67398-67400; petitioner requested reconsideration from BIA 3/23/1998, denied federal recognition; decision effective 11/26/1999.
- Piqua Shawnee Tribe
- Star Clan of Muscogee Creeks (formerly Lower Creek Muscogee Tribe East, Star Clan, Southeastern Mvskoke Nation, and Yufala Star Clan of Lower Muscogee Creeks)
- United Cherokee Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation (formerly United Cherokee Intertribal). Letter of Intent to Petition 11/08/2001.
- Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation.
- Eastern Pequot Indians of Connecticut. Letter of Intent to Petition 06/28/1978; Reconsidered final determination not to acknowledge became final and effective 10/14/2005 70 FR 60099.
- Paucatuck Eastern Pequot Indians of Connecticut. Letter of Intent to Petition 06/20/1989. Reconsidered final determination not to acknowledge became final and effective 10/14/2005 70 FR 60099.
- Golden Hill Paugussett. Final Determination Against Federal Acknowledgement of the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe (2004)
- Schaghticoke Tribal Nation. Letter of Intent to Petition 9/27/2001. Letter of Intent to Petition 12/14/1981; Declined to acknowledge in 2002; Reconsidered final determination not to acknowledge became final and effective 10/14/2005 70 FR 60101. Also known as the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe.
- Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware
- Nanticoke Indian Association, Inc. Letter of Intent to Petition 08/08/1978; requested petition be placed on hold 3/25/1989 of limited applicability
In 2007, the state legislature formally recognized as American Indian tribes of Georgia the following:
- Cherokee of Georgia Tribal Council
- Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokees (I). Letter of Intent to Petition 01/09/1979; last submission February 2002; ready for Acknowledge review.
- Unrecognized tribes with the same name as Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokees, Inc. (II) and (III) exist.
- Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe Letter of Intent to Petition 02/02/1972; Declined to Acknowledge 12/21/1981 (46 FR 51652). Denied federal recognition Also known as Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe East of the Mississippi, Inc.
- Addai Caddo Tribe. Recognized by the State of Louisiana in 1993. Letter of Intent to Petition 09/13/1993. Also known as Adais Caddo Indians, Inc.
- Biloxi-Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogee. Separated from United Houma Nation, Inc. Letter of Intent to Petition 10/24/1995. Recognized by the State of Louisiana in 2005.
- Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb Recognized by the State of Louisiana in 1978. Letter of Intent to Petition 07/02/1978.
- Clifton-Choctaw Recognized by the State of Louisiana in 1978. Letter of Intent to Petition 03/22/1978. Also known as Clifton Choctaw Reservation Inc.
- Four Winds Tribe, Louisiana Cherokee Confederacy Recognized by the State of Louisiana in 1997.
- Grand Caillou/Dulac Band
- Isle de Jean Charles Band
- Louisiana Choctaw Tribe.
- Pointe-au-Chien Tribe. Separated from United Houma Nation, Inc.. Letter of Intent to Petition 7/22/1996. Recognized by the State of Louisiana in 2004.
- United Houma Nation Recognized by the State of Louisiana in 1972. Letter of Intent to Petition 07/10/1979; Proposed Finding 12/22/1994, 59 FR 6618. Denied federal recognition
On January 9, 2012, for the first time the state recognized two American Indian tribes under a process developed by the General Assembly; these were both Piscataway groups, historically part of the large Algonquian languages family along the Atlantic Coast. The Governor announced it to the Assembly by executive order.
- Piscataway Conoy Tribe It includes the following two sub-groups:
- Piscatway Indian Nation
The Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs was created by a legislative act of the General Court of Massachusetts in 1974, with the purpose of helping tribes recognized or that will be recognized receive access to and assistance with various local and state agencies. Two former state recognized tribes, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, have federal recognition as of 1987 and 2007, respectively.
- Nipmuc Nation Letter of Intent to Petition 04/22/1980; Proposed finding in progress. Declined to acknowledge on 6/25/2004, 69 FR 35667; Reconsideration request before IBIA (not yet effective)
As of 2014, Michigan has four State Recognized Tribes.
- Burt Lake Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians
- Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians
- Mackinac Bands of Chippewa & Ottawa Indians
- Swan Creek Black River Confederated Ojibwa Tribes of Michigan
- Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Letter of Intent to Petition 4/28/1978;> Proposed Finding 7/21/2000.
- Nanticoke Indian Association
- Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. Letter of Intent to Petition 01/03/1992.
- Tonawanda Band of Seneca (Also federally recognized)
- Tuscarora Nation (Also federally recognized)
- Unkechague Poosepatuck Tribe (Unkechaug Nation)
- Coharie Intra-tribal Council, Inc. Letter of Intent to Petition 3/13/1981.
- Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe Letter of Intent to Petition 1/27/1979. Notified of "obvious deficiencies" in federal recognition application
- Lumbee Tribe (Lumbee Regional Development Association Inc., Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina). Letter of Intent to Petition 01/07/1980; determined ineligible to petition (SOL opinion of 10/23/1989). In 2009, Senate Indian Affairs Committee endorsed a bill that would grant federal recognition.
- Meherrin Nation. State Recognized 1987.
- Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation. Letter of Intent to Petition 01/06/1995.
- Sappony(formerly known as Indians of Person County, North Carolina).
- Waccamaw-Siouan Tribe. Letter of Intent to Petition 06/27/1983; determined ineligible to petition (SOL opinion of 10/23/1989). Letter of Intent to Petition 10/16/1992; determined eligible to petition (SOL letter of 6/29/1995). Also known as Waccamaw Siouan Development Association.
In 2003 the state legislature passed Section 1 31 40(A)(10), South Carolina Code of Laws (Annotated), which established criteria for state recognition of Native American tribes, further providing 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; B. Native American Indian Group; C. Native American Special Interest Organization.
- Beaver Creek Indians. Letter of Intent to Petition 01/26/1998. State recognized tribe in 2006.
- Edisto Natchez Kusso Tribe of South Carolina, state recognized tribe in 2010. Also known as Edisto Natchez-Kusso Indians (Four Holes Indian Organization)
- Pee Dee Nation of Upper South Carolina. Letter of Intent to Petition 12/14/2005. State recognized tribe in 2005.
- Pee Dee Indian Tribe of South Carolina, state recognized tribe in 2006.
- Santee Indian Organization. Letter of Intent to Petition 06/04/1979. State recognized tribe in 2006. Formerly White Oak Indian Community.
- Wassamasaw Tribe of Varnertown Indians,
- The Waccamaw Indian People.
State-recognized Tribal Groups (not tribes):
- Chaloklowa Chickasaw Indian People. Letter of Intent to Petition 08/14/2002. Receipt of Petition 08/14/2002. State recognized tribal group in 2005.
- Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois & United Tribes of South Carolina, Inc. (a.k.a. Cherokee Indian Tribe of South Carolina or ECSIUT), state recognized tribal group in 2005.
- Natchez Indian Tribe, state recognized tribal group in 2007.
- Pee Dee Indian Nation of Beaver Creek. Letter of Intent to Petition 6/16/1999. State recognized tribal group in 2007.
- Piedmont American Indian Association of South Carolina (or Piedmont American Indian Association - Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation of South Carolina) Letter of Intent to Petition 8/20/1998. State recognized tribal group in 2006.
State-recognized tribal Special Interest Organizations (not tribes):
- American Indian Chamber of Commerce of South Carolina, state-recognized tribal Special Interest Organization in 2006.
- Little Horse Creek American Indian Cultural Center, state-recognized tribal Special Interest Organization in 2010.
- Lipan Apache Tribe. On March 18, 2009, the State of Texas legislature passed resolutions HR 812 and SR 438 recognizing the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas. Also known as Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas.
- Mount Tabor Indian Community  On April 5th, 2017 the Senate of the State of Texas State of Texas legislature passed resolutions 85 SCR 25 with the House passing the bill on April 27, 2017 , Governor Greg Abbott signed the bil into law on May 10, 2017 recognizing the Mount Tabor Indian Community of Texas. Also known as Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands-Mount Tabor Indian Community.
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. The four Abenaki state-recognized tribes are also known as the "Abenaki Alliance."
- Elnu Abenaki Tribe; recognition signed into statute April 22, 2011.
- Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation; recognition signed into statute April 22, 2011.
On May 7, 2012 Governor Shumlim signed legislative bills officially recognizing two more Abenaki Bands:
- Koasek Abenaki Tribe. Also known as Traditional Koasek Abenaki Nation of the Koas
- Mississquoi Abenaki Tribe. Also known as Missisquoi St Francis Sokoki Abenaki Nations.
- Cheroenhaka (Nottoway). Letter of Intent to Petition 12/30/2002. Receipt of Petition 12/30/2002. State recognized 2010; in Courtland, Southampton County.
- Chickahominy Tribe. Letter of Intent to Petition 03/19/1996. State recognized 1983; in Charles City County. In 2009, Senate Indian Affairs Committee endorsed a bill that would grant federal recognition.
- Eastern Chickahominy Tribe. Letter of Intent to Petition 9/6/2001. State recognized, 1983; in New Kent County. In 2009, Senate Indian Affairs Committee endorsed a bill that would grant federal recognition.
- Mattaponi(a.k.a. Mattaponi Indian Reservation) Letter of Intent to Petition 04/04/1995. State recognized 1983; in Banks of the Mattaponi River, King William County. The Mattaponi and Pamunkey have reservations based in colonial-era treaties ratified by the Commonwealth in 1658. Pamunkey Tribe's attorney told Congress in 1991 that the tribes state reservation originated in a treaty with the crown in the 17th century and has been occupied by Pamunkey since that time under strict requirements and following the treaty obligation to provide to the Crown a deer every year, and they've done that (replacing Crown with Governor of Commonwealth since Virginia became a Commonwealth)
- Monacan Indian Nation (formerly Monacan Indian Tribe of Virginia). Letter of Intent to Petition 07/11/1995. State recognized 1989; in Bear Mountain, Amherst County. In 2009, Senate Indian Affairs Committee endorsed a bill that would grant federal recognition.
- Nansemond, Letter of Intent to Petition 9/20/2001. State recognized 1985; in Cities of Suffolk and Chesapeake. In 2009, Senate Indian Affairs Committee endorsed a bill that would grant federal recognition. Also known as Nansemond Indian Tribal Association.
- Nottoway of Virginia(Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia), recognized 2010; in Capron, Southampton County.
- Patawomeck recognized 2010; in Stafford County.
- Pamunkey (also federally recognized)
- Rappahannock). Letter of Intent to Petition 11/16/1979. State recognized 1983; in Indian Neck, King & Queen County. In 2009, Senate Indian Affairs Committee endorsed a bill that would grant federal recognition. Formerly known as United Rappahannock Tribe.
- Shares a name with an unrecognized tribe, Rappahannock Indian Tribe (II).
- Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe. Letter of Intent to Petition 11/26/1979. State recognized 1983; in King William County. In 2009, Senate Indian Affairs Committee endorsed a bill that would grant federal recognition. Formerly known as Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribal Association.
- Chinook Indian Tribe. Letter of Intent to Petition 07/23/1979; Declined to acknowledge 07/12/2003 (67 FR 46204). Also known as Chinook Indian Tribe of Oregon & Washington, Inc. and Chinook Nation.
- United States
- Federally recognized tribes (Lower 48 states)
- Federally recognized tribes in Alaska
- Unrecognized tribes, not recognized by state or federal governments
- Native Americans in the United States
- List of federally recognized tribes by state
- List of Indian reservations in the United States
- List of historical Indian reservations in the United States
- Outline of United States federal Indian law and policy
- National Park Service Native American Heritage Sites
- "What is a real Indian Nation? What is a fake tribe?". Cherokee Nation. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- 25 CFR 290.2, "Definitions"
- 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", Santa Clara Law Review, Vol. 48, November 2007
- Sheffield (1998) p. 63
- "State Recognized Tribes". National Conference of State Legislatures. October 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, US Department of the Interior: Indian Arts and Crafts Board. (retrieved 23 May 2009)
- Alabama Indian Affairs Commission. "Tribes Recognized by the State of Alabama". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
- "Tribal Directory: Southeast". National Congress of American Indians. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
- LIST OF PETITIONERS BY STATE (as of July 31, 2012) (Accessible as of January 15, 2013 here)
- Sheffield (1998) p64
- Connecticut Law on Indian Tribes (2007-R-0475). Christopher Reinhart, Senior Attorney, on behalf of State of Connecticut General Assembly (Accessible as of July 15, 2014 here).
- Christopher Reinhart (2002-02-07). "Effect of State Recognition of an Indian Tribe". State of Connecticut. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
Connecticut statutes recognize five tribes: (1) Golden Hill Paugussett, (2) Mashantucket Pequot, (3) Mohegan, (4) Eastern Pequot, and (5) Schaghticoke tribe.
- "CGS § 47-59a Connecticut Indians; citizenship, civil rights, land rights.". State of Connecticut. Retrieved 2015-07-02.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs (2004-06-21). "Final Determination Against Federal Acknowledgement of the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe". Federal Register. United States. pp. 34388–34393. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- "Tribal Directory". National Congress of American Indians. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
- Sheffield (1998): 66
- 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
- Sheffield (1998) p67
- "Louisiana Governor's Office of Indian Affairs" Retrieved on 4/8/2008.
- Sheffield (1998): 67
- Witte, Brian. "Md. Formally Recognizes 2 American Indian Groups.", NBC Washington, 9 Jan 2011, Retrieved 10 Jan 2011
- Executive Orders 01.01.2012.01 and 01.01.2012.02 "Recognition of tribes in the state", Governor's Office
- Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 6A, § 8A.
- Swimmer, R. (1987). Final determination for federal acknowledgment of the Wampanoag Tribal Council of Gay Head, Inc., FR Doc. 87-2877. US. Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.
- Carson, J. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs. (2004). Summary under the criteria of evidence for final determination of federal recognition of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council, Inc. (71 FR 17488). U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C.
- "Michigan Historic Tribes" (pdf). State of Michigan Community Services Block Grant. State Plan from Fiscal Years 2015–2016. Michigan Department of Human Services. 1 July 2014. p. 67. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- "Tribal Directory: Northeast". National Congress of American Indians. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
- North Carolina Department of Administration (February 2007). "North Carolina American Indian Tribes and Organizations" (PDF).
- Sheffield (1998) p68-70
- "Virginia tribes take another step on road to federal recognition" in '[Richmond Times-Dispatch, 28 October 2009.
- “Native American Indian Tribe” means an assembly of Indian people comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with their descendants, 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.
- “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.
- “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 forms of governing bodies provides oversight and management. Membership is not required. They may be organized as a private nonprofit corporation under the laws of South Carolina.
- South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs. "SC tribes and groups" (PDF).
- South Carolina Indian Affairs Commission. "Members".
- South Carolina Indigenous Gallery. "Visitors Center".
- "South Carolina Native American Affairs State Recognized Tribe List".
- Receipt of Petitions for Federal Acknowledgment of Existence as an Indian Tribe (68 FR 13724)
- Vermonters Concerned on Native American Affairs. "Tribal Sites VT". Retrieved 2011-12-28.
- Virginia Council on Indians. "Virginia Tribes".
- Sheffield (1998) p71-73
- Koenig, Alexa and Jonathan Stein (2008). 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.
- Sheffield, Gail (1998). Arbitrary Indian: The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-2969-7.
- Constitution of the United States
- Miller, Mark Edwin. Forgotten Tribes: Unrecognized Indians and the Federal Acknowledgment Process. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004. Discusses the state recognition process, the experiences of several state-recognized tribes (the United Houma Nation of Louisiana, and the Tigua/Pueblo of Ysleta Del Sur and Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas- the latter two are federally recognized), and the problems of non-federally acknowledged indigenous communities.
- Bates, Denise. The Other Movement: Indian Rights and Civil Rights in the Deep South. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011. Details state recognition and the functioning of state Indian commissions in Alabama and Louisiana.
- Federalism and the State Recognition of Native American Tribes: A survey of State-Recognized Tribes and State Recognition Processes Across the United States
- "BIA list of petitioners for recognition by state as of 22 September 2008
- BIA status summary of petitions for recognition as of 15 February 2007"
- Testimony of Leon Jones, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and Dan McCoy, Tribal Council Chairman, on the Indian Federal Recognition Administrative Procedures Act of 1999
- Joint resolution of the Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opposing fabricated Cherokee "tribes" and "Indians" (acknowledges the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians)
- U.S. GAO - Indian Issues: Federal Funding for Non-Federally Recognized Tribes Published April 12, 2012