What Are Some Native American Tribes That the Federal Government Recognizes?


Quick Answer

As of 2015, the federal government recognizes 566 Indian tribes, including the Sitka tribe of Alaska, Blue Lake Ranchiera of California and Kaw Nation of Oklahoma. Alaska houses the most recognized tribes, with California following close behind. A majority of states have fewer than five tribes or none at all.

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The Narragansett is Rhode Island's only federally recognized tribe. The first documented contact with tribe members occurred in 1524. Historically, Narragansett became known for its fighting style, offering protection to the state's smaller tribes. Tribal members continue to hold monthly meetings and recognize traditional celebrations.

The federal government recognizes two Wyoming tribes, the Shoshone and the Arapaho. The Arapaho classify themselves as Plains Indians and speak a version of the Algonquin language. The Treaty of 1851 awarded land to the tribe, expanding over four states. The government took back the land with the Treaty of 1868. The tribe now shares land with the Shoshone on Wyoming's Wind River Reservation.

The Aroostook Band of Micmacs gained federal recognition in November of 1991. Located in Maine, the tribe includes more than 1240 members. They call themselves the "Wabanki" which means People of the Daybreak. The tribe produces popular baskets, using ash wood and split cedar with added wooden decorations.

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