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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Federal Definitions

The United States government has tried to define us…


Their definition of a legal Indian is: "Any person who has the certifiable Indian blood quantum to meet the enrollment requirements of a federally-recognized tribe.”

The US government’s definition for a federally-recognized tribe:
"Any Indian tribe, band, nation, rancheria, pueblo, colony or community which is recognized by the United States government as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the Secretary of the Interior to Indians because of their status as Indians.”

As outlined in The Rights of Indians and Tribes, sovereignty for tribes entails the right to:
  • Form tribal governments
  • Determine tribal membership
  • Regulate tribal and individual property
  • Assess taxes
  • Establish law enforcement systems
  • Regulate domestic relations
  • Regulate commerce and trade
  • Exclude nonmembers from tribal territory.
published by the American Civil Liberties Union

  1. A group of Indians must have been identified as a group or community by people outside the tribe from 1900 to the present.
  2. The petitioning entity must demonstrate it has maintained a continuous community from the time the tribe first had contact with non-Indians.
  3. The petitioning group must demonstrate there are and have been leaders within the tribe who, over time, have influenced the behavior of other members. For example, leaders who resolved conflicts or helped decide an Indian building should be restored.
  4. The petitioning group must submit a copy of its governing document, or, if it does not have one, a statement describing tribal membership criteria and the membership application process.
  5. The petitioning entity must show that its current members are descendants of historic tribes or tribes that joined together as one political group.
  6. The petitioning group must demonstrate that the majority of its members do not belong to another federally-recognized tribe.
  7. The petitioning group must prove that it has never been terminated by legislation.
Please read that last requirement again…
In 1954, the Termination and Relocation Act of 1954 arbitrarily erased 61 tribes.

Recognized (and Petitioning) Nations in Massachusetts
Federally Recognized Nations, listed by State
List of Massachusetts Tribes and Organizations with links