It is important to understand that the indigenous settlements and communities were present long before the established white imposed boundaries of states and countries. Indigenous communities and family relationships extend across multiple states and regions. Keeping that in mind, below are some links to various sources that list many (not all) of the indigenous Tribes and Nations within a given area.
For all Federal and State recognized Tribes and Nations in the U.S. and/or Tribal Leaders Directory. For federal maps check out the Tribal Directory maps on the Department of the Interior website.
Tribes and Nations within the Northwest. This list changes depending on which agency, entity or group is providing the listing. For our puporses at present, the Northwest is made up of:
- Alaska Native Regions Villages, Corporations
Alaska’s Unrecognized Tribes and Nation include:
- Five Landless Alaska Tlingit communities (left out of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement. No land, no subsaistence rights.) Presentation by Tlingit artist Jesse Cooday and others.
- Tsimshian Tribe, petitioned 7/72/78 — note: may be an unrecognized band like the above Tlingit, or may have been recognized (there are recognized Tsimshian groups in AK)
- British Columbia First Nations
- Washington State Federally Recognized Tribes and Nations
Washington’s Unrecognized Tribes and Nations include:
- Mitchell Bay Band
- Snoqualmoo Tribe of Whidbey Island, petitioned 4/15/80,
- Duwamish Indian Tribe, petitioned 6/7/77
- Steilacoom Tribe, petitioned 8/28/73
- Chinook Indian Tribe, Inc., petitioned 7/23/79
- Snohomish Tribe of Indians, petitioned 3/3/75
- Noo-Wha-Ha Band
- Cowlitz Tribe of Indians, petitioned 9/17/75
- Oregon Tribes and Nations
Oregon’s Unrecognized Tribes and Nations include:
- Celilio-Wyam Indian Community, intertribal with joint use property in federal trust
- Tolowa- Tututni Tribe, no info, there’s a Tolowa Nation in CA petitioning
- Tchinouk Indians , petitioned 5/16/79; acknowledgement declined, 3/17/86
- N.W. Cherokee Wolf Band of S.E. Cherokee Confederacy , petitioned 3/9/78; acknowledgement declined, 11/25/85
- Chinook Indian tribe, petitoned 7/23/89, funding in preogress
- Chetco Tribe
- Idaho Tribes and Nations
- Idaho’s Unrecognized Tribe: Delawares of Idaho — petitioned 6/26/79
- Montana Tribes and Nations
Montana’s Unrecognized Tribes and Nations include:
- Little Shell Tribe of Chippewas of Montana, state recognized; petitioned 4/28/78
- Swan Creek & Black River Chippewa
These lists do not necessarily include all identified indigenous communities. Nor are they the only lists that can be used in tracking down Tribal leadership and status. Understand that there are three different statuses that Tribes and Nations can hold. They are federally recognized, state recognized and unrecognized.
Federally recognized Tribes and Nations have a defined relationship with the federal government either through law (including treaties), court decisions or federal recognition process. They will also usually (not always) have land allocations making up an Indian “reservation” and are eligible for a wide variety of federal funding and participation in federal programs. Examples include Lummi Nation (by treaty), and the Mashantucket Pequot (by law-Mashantucket Pequot Settlement Act (25 USC § 1751 et. seq.).
There are many Tribes and Nations that do not have a definitive relationship with the federal government, but the states in which they are established may have developed their own relationships with some or all of the tribes within their boundaries. There will be some benefits to federal funding and participation in federal programs; however, it will be limited. The state recognized Tribes and Nations will have a defined relationship with the state that will allow them access to state funding and participation in state programs. Some state recognized Tribes and Nations can be allocated state lands for community use as reservations. Examples include the Lumbee of North Carolina and the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Connecticut.
There are also those indigenous communities that are not recognized by either the state or federal governments and law. While these communities exist, they do not have the benefit of having a land base, right to sovereignty and membership and access to state and federal funding and programs. These would include the Duwamish and Chinook of Washington. Many of these communities have attempted and are attempting to achieve some form of recognition, but have either been denied or are still in process. A good article appeared in the December 2016 of YES! Magazine entitled “Some “Unrecognized” Tribes Still Waiting After 130 Years“ by Gabriel Furshong. Furshong attempts to explain the plight and struggles of indigenous communities to achieve recognition.