An Introduction to Indian Nations in the United States

Year

There are 562 federally recognized Indian Nations (variously called tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, communities, rancherias and native villages) in the United States. Approximately 229 of these ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse nations are located in Alaska; the rest are located in 33 other states.

The United States Constitution recognizes that Indian Nations are sovereign governments just like Canada and California. The Supreme Court, Congress, U.S. Presidents, and hundreds of treaties have repeatedly reaffirmed that Indian Nations retain their inherent powers of self-government. Treaties and laws have created a fundamental contract between Indian Nations and the United States: Indian Nations ceded millions of acres of land that made the United States what it is today, and in return received, among other guarantees, the right of continued self-government on their own lands.

Resource Type
Citation

"An Introduction to Indian Nations in the United States." National Congress of American Indians. Washington, D.C. 2003. Paper. (http://www.ncai.org/about-tribes/Indians_101.pdf, accessed December 4, 2013)

Related Resources

Image
Protecting Our Children: A Review of 100+ Tribal Welfare Codes

NNI researchers Mary Beth Jäger (Citizen Potawatomi), Rachel Starks (Zuni/Navajo), and National Indian Child Welfare Association governmental affairs staff attorney, Adrian Smith shared the results of an ongoing study on culture, removal, termination of parental rights, and adoption in tribal…

Image
Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development

Based on two decades of research, the Native Nations Institute (NNI) at the University of Arizona has worked hard to develop a curriculum for tribal leaders that can assist tribes in achieving true economic self-determination. The essays in Rebuilding Native Nations, published in 2007, are the…

Image
Processes of Native Nationhood: The Indigenous Politics of Self-Government

Over the last three decades, Indigenous peoples in the CANZUS countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States) have been reclaiming self-government as an Indigenous right and practice. In the process, they have been asserting various forms of Indigenous nationhood. This article…