Definitions of Indian and Indian Tribe

 

Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 allowed people of Indian descent who were not members of federally recognized tribes to apply for recognition as an Indian.  The IRA also allowed tribes to set up their own governments with the rules for determining membership. This Act defined a person as Indian based on three criteria, tribal membership, ancestral descent, or blood quantum.  The applications the federal government used  had five factors to certify individuals who claimed to be more than half-blood Indian: tribal rolls, testimony of the applicant, affidavits from people familiar with the applicant, findings of an anthropologist, and testimony of the applicant that he has retained "a considerable measure of Indian culture and habits of living." We have records in RG 75, Entry 616.

 

Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975

Gave tribes better self control over their own affairs, allowing them to apply directly for federal grants and programs.

 

The 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act uses a two-part definition that defines an Indian as a person who belongs to an Indian Tribe, which in turn is a group that "is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians."

 

Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990

In the Act, Indian was described as "any individual who is a member of an Indian tribe; or for the purpose of this section is certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian tribe." An Indian tribe was defined more broadly than just to tribes with federal recognition, but also to "any Indian group that has been formally recognized as an Indian tribe by a State legislature or by a State commission or similar organization legislatively vested with State tribal recognition authority."

 

The 1994 Federal Legislation amendments to American Indian Religious Freedom Act gives another common definition, defining an Indian as one who belongs to an Indian Tribe, which is a group that "is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians."

 

Supreme  Court Carciere decision- 2010

Defines a tribe eligible to have land put into trust as one that was recognized by the Federal Government under the IRA in 1934.

 

Ruling by Interior Department allowing the Cowlitz to acquire land and set up a casino, established another precedent…that the landless tribe should be “on an equal footing” with other tribes that already have reservations when being first recognized since 1934 and having the right to get a reservation established for them, which would then be eligible for gaming

 

 

25 CFR 151.2 - Definitions.

(b)Tribe means any Indian tribe, band, nation, pueblo, community, rancheria, colony, or other group of Indians, including the Metlakatla Indian Community of the Annette Island Reserve, which is recognized by the Secretary as eligible for the special programs and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. For purposes of acquisitions made under the authority of 25 U.S.C.488 and 489, or other statutory authority which specifically authorizes trust acquisitions for such corporations, “Tribe” also means a corporation chartered under section 17 of the Act of June 18, 1934 ( 48 Stat. 988; 25 U.S.C. 477) or section 3 of the Act of June 26, 1936 ( 49 Stat. 1967; 25 U.S.C. 503).

(c)Individual Indian means:

(1) Any person who is an enrolled member of a tribe;

(2) Any person who is a descendent of such a member and said descendant was, on June 1, 1934, physically residing on a federally recognized Indian reservation;

(3) Any other person possessing a total of one-half or more degree Indian blood of a tribe;

(4) For purposes of acquisitions outside of the State of Alaska, Individual Indian also means a person who meets the qualifications of paragraph (c)(1), (2), or (3) of this section where “Tribe” includes any Alaska Native Village or Alaska Native Group which is recognized by the Secretary as eligible for the special programs and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

 

45 CFR 1336.10 - Definitions.

Alaskan Native means a person who is an Alaskan Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut, or any combination thereof. The term also includes any person who is regarded as an Alaskan Native by the Alaskan Native Village or group of which he or she claims to be a member and whose father or mother is (or, if deceased, was) regarded as an Alaskan Native by an Alaskan Native Village or group. The term includes any Alaskan Native as so defined, either or both of whose adoptive parents are not Alaskan Natives.

American Indian or Indian means any individual who is a member or a descendant of a member of a North American tribe, band, Pueblo or other organized group of native people who are indigenous to the Continental United States, or who otherwise have a special relationship with the United States or a State through treaty, agreement, or some other form of recognition. This includes any individual who claims to be an Indian and who is regarded as such by the Indian tribe, group, band, or community of which he or she claims to be a member.


The Federal Decennial Census for 2010 presented choices and an individual’s response to the race question was based upon self identification.