184. Federal Acknowledgment of Indian Tribes. October 2, 1978
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290 184. Federal Acknowledgment of Indian Tribes October 2, 1978 The movement for self-determination of Indians was reflected in agitation by nonrecognized groups for acknowledgment of their tribal status by the federal government. In order to provide guidelines for such recognition, the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued “procedures for establishing that an American Indian group exists as an Indian tribe.” . . . . Purpose. The purpose of this part is to establish a departmental procedure and policy for acknowledging that certain American Indian tribes exist. Such acknowledgment of tribal existence by the Department [of the Interior] is a prerequisite to the protection, services, and benefits from the Federal Government available to Indian tribes. Such acknowledgment shall also mean that the tribe is entitled to the immunities and privileges available to other federally acknowledged Indian tribes by virtue of their status as Indian tribes as well as the responsibilities and obligations of such tribes. Acknowledgment shall subject the Indian tribe to the same authority of Congress and the United States to which other federally acknowledged tribes are subjected. Scope. (a) This part is intended to cover only those American Indian groups indigenous to the continental United States which are ethnically and culturally identifiable, but which are not currently acknowledged as Indian tribes by the Department. It is intended to apply to groups which can establish a substantially continuous tribal existence and which have functioned as autonomous entities throughout history until the present. . . . Form and content of the petition. The petition may be in any readable form which clearly indicates that it is a petition requesting the Secretary [of the Interior] to acknowledge tribal existence. All the criteria in paragraphs (a)–(g) of this section are mandatory in order for tribal existence to be acknowledged and must be included in the petition. (a) A statement of facts establishing that the petitioner has been identified from historical times until the present on a substantially continuous basis, as “American Indian,” or “aboriginal.” A petitioner shall not fail to satisfy any criteria herein merely because of fluctuations of tribal activity during various years. Evidence to be relied upon in determining the group’s substantially continuous Indian identity shall include one or more of the following: (1) Repeated identification by Federal authorities ; (2) Longstanding relationships with State governments based on identification of the group as Indian; (3) Repeated dealings with a county, parish , or other local government in a relationship based on the group’s Indian identity; (4) Identification as an Indian entity by records in courthouses, churches, or schools; (5) Identification as an Indian entity by anthropologists, historians, or other scholars; (6) Repeated identification as an Indian entity in newspapers and books; (7) Repeated identification and dealings as an Indian entity with recognized Indian tribes or national Indian organizations. (b) Evidence that a substantial portion of the petitioning group inhabits a specific area or lives in a community viewed as American Indian and distinct from other populations in the area, and that its members are descendants of an Indian tribe which historically inhabited a specific area. (c) A statement of facts which establishes that the petitioner has maintained tribal political influence or other authority over its members as an autonomous entity throughout history until the present. (d) A copy of the group’s present governing document, or in the absence of a written document, a statement describing in full the membership criteria and the procedures through which the group currently governs its affairs and its members. (e) A list of all known current members of the group and a copy of each available former list of members based on the tribe’s 291 own defined criteria. The membership must consist of individuals who have established, using evidence acceptable to the Secretary, descendancy from a tribe which existed historically or from historical tribes which combined and functioned as a single autonomous entity. . . . (f) The membership of the petitioning group is composed principally of persons who are not members of any other North American Indian tribe. (g) The petitioner is not, nor are its members , the subject of congressional legislation which has expressly terminated or forbidden the Federal relationship. . . . Implementation of decisions. (a) Upon final determination that the petitioner is an Indian tribe, the tribe shall be eligible for services and benefits from the Federal Government available to other federally recognized tribes and entitled to the privileges and immunities available to other federally recognized...