Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why do we have to be recognized?

We don't, but it helps. Federally recognized tribes can establish tribal governments that possess a measure of sovereignty. Federally recognized tribes also can have their reservation lands placed in trust. This means that their land is protected by the federal government from being purchased or taken by non-Indians. If a tribe is not federally recognized, it can own land as a corporate entity, but the federal government will not put these lands into trust for the tribe. Thus, federally recognized tribes also have what is a called a trust relationship with the government. This means that the federal authorities will protect their sovereign status, their lands and tribal property, and their rights as members of domestic dependent nations. There is a nation-to-nation relationship with the U.S. government.

How did we lose our recognition?

That's part of the complicated relationship between the U.S. government and Native American tribes. Remember, the Solicitor General wrote in a letter to the Brothertown tribe in 1990, and again in 1993,that the Act of 1839 did not terminate the Brothertown Indian Nation. The Tribe believed this and moved forward with the acknowledgment process because of it.

What happens if OFA doesn't grant recognition?

First, we won't be surprised. Far fewer than half of the tribes that have been reviewed for recognition have received it. Second, we will immediately begin working toward Congressional recognition. Everything we are doing today will be used in the next step.



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