Do You Think Every Tribe Deserves Federal Recognition?

Do You Think Every Tribe Deserves Federal Recognition?


Most early tribes are already federally recognized tribes, with the obvious exception of those who’ve ceased to exist either by attrition or annihilation. Those tribes who have tried to revive themselves or reestablish their governments come into question because of their time of absence and service to their people. The key seems to be, or the question asked is, how long has this been a viable tribe serving its people, and has it maintained a form of government or provable existence. If this cannot be established or proven, the tribe has, in the eyes of the US Government, ceased to exist and has therefore relinquished its right to be considered as a tribe for all intents and government purposes. Anthropologists have estimated that some three thousand tribes existed on this continent prior to the arrival of the Europeans; today only 566 remain federally accepted. I would never say that any one tribe would be or should be excluded.

Have a question for Sonny? Send it to with the subject line “Ask N NDN” and we’ll see that it’s answered.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



thinkswitherlummiheart's picture
Submitted by thinkswitherlum... on
Hi Sonny Skyhawk What is the first step to begin establishing a tribe?

honorindians's picture
Submitted by honorindians on
Why do we continue to let the U.S. government decide who is a tribe or not? Why don't we let tribes decide who should be a tribe/nation?

jeanniepappas's picture
Submitted by jeanniepappas on
I am one of many Native People whose ancestors did not remove west. We continued to practice our customs in hiding because it was illegal to be Indian and live in Northwest Florida, Georgia, Alabama or Louisiana. I am one of 29 first cousins who believed that the government would come get us and make us move to a reservation if anyone found out who we were. It is sad to know that my aunts and uncles had to live with hiding who they were. Most of our elderly have passed on and with every generation that passes, we loose some more of our heritage. It is time to stand up for who we are and be proud without fear of the government. And for those of us who know where we come from, it is time for recognition of our tribes, villages and families. Bring honor to our ancestors who tried to protect us and who died while hiding our identities. Mvto

kristinamitchell's picture
Submitted by kristinamitchell on
i feel you.i am having that same situation here in tribe fought for the state and country when general washington called.watertown treaty of we must stay on a parcel of land in canada.but yet i was born in massachusetts as well as my two children.we are M'ikmac.