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  • American Indians and Alaska Natives - The Trust Responsibility

    The ‘trust responsibility’ is a legal principle that the Supreme Court noted in United States v. Mitchell (1983) is “the undisputed existence of a general trust relationship between the United States and the Indian people.”  This relationship is one of the most significant and motivating concepts in federal Indian law.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives - Treaties

    A treaty is a contract between nations. Nearly four hundred treaties were signed between Indian tribes and the U.S. until 1871 when Congress passed a law (25 U.S.C. 71) that prohibited the federal government from entering into additional treaties with the Indian tribes.  This law did not repeal any existing treaties stating, “no obligation of any treaty . . . shall be hereby invalidated or impaired.”
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives - What are State Recognized Tribes?

    State recognized tribes are Indian tribes and heritage groups that are recognized by individual states for their various internal state government purposes. State recognition does not confer benefits under federal law unless federal law authorizes such benefits, as is the case for state recognized tribes under ANA’s Native American Programs Act (NAPA).
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives - Public Law 280 Tribes

    In 1953, Congress enacted Public Law 83-280 to grant certain states criminal jurisdiction over Indians on reservations and to allow civil litigation that had come under tribal or federal court jurisdiction to be handled by state courts. The law did not grant states regulatory power over tribes or lands held in trust by the United States; federally guaranteed tribal hunting, trapping, and fishing rights; basic tribal governmental functions such as enrollment and domestic relations; nor the power to impose state taxes. 
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives - Indian Country and Reservations

    Broadly speaking, Indian country is all the land under the supervision of the federal government that has been set aside primarily for the use of Indians.  This includes all land within an Indian reservation and all land outside a reservation that has been placed under federal superintendence and designated primarily for Indian use. As a general rule, state laws do not apply to Indians in Indian country.  Instead, tribal and federal laws apply.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives - Federal Recognition

    Historically, most of today’s federally recognized tribes received federal recognition status through treaties, acts of Congress, presidential executive orders or other federal administrative actions, or federal court decisions. In 1978, the Interior Department issued regulations governing the Federal Acknowledgment Process (FAP) to handle, in a uniform manner, requests for federal recognition from Indian groups whose character and history varied widely.  These regulations – 25 C.F.R. Part 83 – were revised in 1994 and are still in effect.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives - Who is Indian? What is an Indian Tribe?

    There is no single definition of the term Indian.  Each government—tribal, federal, and state—determines who is an Indian for purposes of that government’s laws and programs.  This can result in someone being an Indian under tribal law but not under federal law, an Indian under federal law but not tribal law, and so forth.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives - By the Numbers

    When Europeans first arrived in North America, approximately five hundred sovereign Indian nations were prospering in what is now the United States.  Each nation possessed its own government, culture, and language. War and disease reduced the Indian population from more than one million people at the time of Columbus to about three hundred thousand in 1900.  Since then, the numbers of American Indians and Alaska Natives has grown.  The following information in based on Census Bureau numbers in 2012.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives - What About Alaska?

    In 1971, Congress passed a comprehensive law, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which changed the nature of the government’s relationship with Alaska Natives and gave them rights and interests not enjoyed by any other indigenous group. The ANCSA gave Alaska Natives approximately $960 million in compensation for extinguishing all of their aboriginal land claims.  ANCSA also gave Alaska Natives ownership rights to 40 million acres of land.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives - Affordable Care Act Special Indian Provisions

    American Indians and Alaska Natives - Affordable Care Act Special Indian Provisions