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State Recognized Tribes
Yellow: states with federally-recognized tribes Red: states with state-recognized tribes Orange: states with both federal- and state-recognized tribes Grey: states with neither federal- nor state-recognized tribes
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.
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; by 2018, 573 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.
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.
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.
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
Natchitoches Tribe of Louisiana, Recognized by the State of Louisiana in 2017 Regular Session, HR227.
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.
Nipmuc Nation (Hassanamisco Nipmuc and some Chaubunagungamaug Nipmuck) 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)
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.
South Carolina recognizes three types of Native American entities; tribes, groups and special interest organizations. As of 2019[update] the state recognizes nine Native American tribes that are not recognized by the federal government.
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. Letter of Intent to Petition 01/30/1995. State recognized in 2006. Formerly Pee Dee Indian Tribe of South Carolina (2005). Formerly Pee Dee Indian Association (1978). Formerly, Pee Dee Lumbee Indian Association (1976).
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."
Missisquoi 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. Letter of intent to file for federal recognition 2017. Currently a bill is being sponsored.
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)
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.
^ abAlexa 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
^ abcd"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 2015.
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. ISBN0-8061-2969-7.
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.