How Do You Identify Native American Tribes by State?


Quick Answer

The National Conference of State Legislatures provides a state-by-state directory of Native American tribes recognized by federal and state governments. The nonprofit group Native Languages of the Americas provides a state-by-state listing of Native American tribes, including those that are not recognized by the government.

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How Do You Identify Native American Tribes by State?
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Full Answer

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of 2015 there are 566 federally recognized tribes throughout the country as of 2015. These tribes are eligible for a variety of services and funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Tribes that are recognized by their respective state governments, but not the federal government, are not eligible for federal services or funding. Recognized tribes are also often eligible to operate casinos for revenue.

There are an estimated 460 tribes unrecognized by the federal government. Some of these are recognized by their respective state governments, and others are not. One such tribe is the Chinook Indian Nation, which has members in Oregon and Washington State. Famous American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark wrote about the Chinook people in their journals in 1805 and 1806. There are many other historical documents referring to the tribe as well, However, as of 2015, the Chinook Indian Nation continues to pursue federal recognition, which is a long and laborious process.

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