US Tribes A to Z
Indigenous peoples in what is now the contiguous United States are commonly called "American Indians", or just "Indians" domestically, but are also often referred to as "Native Americans". In Alaska, indigenous peoples, which include Native Americans, Yupik and Inupiat Eskimos, and Aleuts, are referred to collectively as Alaska Natives.
Native Americans and Alaska Natives make up 2 percent of the U.S. population, with more than 6 million people identifying themselves as such, although only 1.8 million are recognized as registered tribal members. Tribes have established their own rules for membership, some of which are increasingly exclusive. More people have unrecognized Native American ancestry together with other ethnic groups.
A minority of U.S. Native Americans live in land units called Indian reservations. Some southwestern U.S. tribes, such as the Yaqui and Apache, have registered tribal communities in Northern Mexico. Similarly, some northern bands of Blackfoot reside in southern Alberta, Canada, in addition to within US borders.
A number of Kumeyaay communities may be found in Baja California del Norte.
Indian tribes are unique legal entities in the United States and are distinct political communities with extensive powers of self-government. Tribal sovereignty predates the U.S. government. Treaties, federal statutes and executive agreements over the past 200 years have established a special trust relationship between tribes and the federal government. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (B.I.A.) has been designated by the Secretary of the Interior as the primary agency to protect tribal interests and administer trust responsibilities.
Federal Tribes (F)
Federal tribes followed by (F) have recognition by the US. Government. Recognized Indians are those who are enrolled members of tribes from whom the federal government has acknowledged treaty or statutory obligations. There are 564 federally recognized indian tribes (as of October 1, 2010).
State Tribes (S)
State tribes marked with an (S) have recognition at the state level, but may or may not have federal recognition by the US Government.
Terminated Tribes (T)
During the 1950s, in a move to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream America, the U.S. government ended federal trusteeship of roughly three percent of the country’s Native American population through a process called termination. Of the 109 tribes and bands terminated, 62 were native to Oregon and 41 were in California. Others were in Minnesota, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin. Even though the tone of the termination legislation was emancipation, the net effect of the policy on terminated tribes was cultural, political and economic devastation. In recent years, however, vigorous efforts have been mounted by terminated tribes to reestablish or restore the trust relationship. Terminated tribes are marked with (T).
UnRecognized Tribes (U)
Un-recognized tribes marked with (U) are historical indian tribes or people with Indian ancestry who are not recognized by either the Federal Government or any state government entity. Unrecognized Indians include those from tribes with whom federal relations have been severed by congressional action (termination) and those whose tribe has never been recognized by the federal government. They also include persons of indian ancestry who, for fear of persecution, fled or hid their Indian ancestry during the time the early Indian Rolls were being taken in the mid to late 1800s and early 1900s.
Petitioning Tribes (P)
Many of the Terminated Tribes and Unrecognized tribes are today petitioning to again be recognized as tribal governments with sovereign nation status or to be included in tribes they were previously terminated from. Those tribes are marked with a (P), where known.
Inclusion on this site does NOT mean an endorsement has been made for recognition of any particular tribe. All entities claiming to be US indian tribes that we are aware of have been included for completeness. Where known, we have indicated official tribal status with our Key Chart. In many cases we have not verified the validity of the claim of tribal status, and leave it to your own common sense or further research to validate tribal claims.
Alternate names in parenthesis are either older names that were once used to identify that tribe, shortened common names, or they are misspellings.