The Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior (Department) implements Part 83 of Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations (25 CFR Part 83), Procedures for Federal Acknowledgment of Indian Tribes. The acknowledgment process is the Department’s administrative process by which petitioning groups that meet the criteria are given Federal "acknowledgment" as Indian Tribes and by which they become eligible to receive services provided to members of Indian Tribes.

Through the Department’s Office of the Solicitor, OFA makes recommendations to the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs (AS-IA). The AS-IA has the authority to make the decision whether to acknowledge Tribal existence and establish a government-to-government relationship or to deny acknowledging a petitioning group as an Indian Tribe.

By applying anthropological, genealogical, and historical research methods, OFA reviews, verifies, and evaluates groups’ petitions for Federal acknowledgment as Indian Tribes. OFA makes recommendations for proposed findings and final determinations to the AS-IA, consults with petitioners and third parties, provides copies of 25 CFR Part 83 and its guidelines, prepares technical assistance review letters, maintains petitions and administrative correspondence files, and conducts special research projects for the Department. OFA also performs other administrative duties that include maintaining its web page and responding to appeals, litigation, and Freedom of Information Act requests.



NOTICE July 17, 2024:

The United States Department of the Interior (Department) seeks input on a proposal to create a conditional, time-limited opportunity for denied petitioners to re-petition for Federal acknowledgment as an Indian Tribe. Click here to learn more.

NOTICE April 16, 2024:

Opportunity for Comment: Individuals and entities now have the opportunity to submit comments on the petition submitted by the Chihene Nde Nation of New Mexico petitioner (Petition #404). See Opportunities for Comment for more information.

The address for the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs is:

Department of the Interior
Office of the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs
Attention: Office of Federal Acknowledgment
Mail Stop 4071 MIB
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

The address for the petitioner is:

Mr. Manuel P. Sanchez
c/o Mr. Ruben Q. Leyva
5690 Desert Star Road
Las Cruces, New Mexico 88005

Comments must be postmarked no later than 2024-08-14.

NOTICE February 5, 2024:

Indian Affairs Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA) Director R. Lee Fleming is currently assisting the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Office of Indian Services (OIS) through a detail.

Indian Affairs Division Chief K. Denise Litz is now assisting OFA as Acting Director. Questions can be sent to OFA_info@bia.gov or https://www.bia.gov/as-ia/ofa/contact-us.

NOTICE February 6, 2018:

Mailing Address Clarification: As noted elsewhere on this web site, OFA's current mailing address is 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20240. Because OFA moved to a new building in the autumn of 2017, the acknowledgment regulations in § 83.20 reflect OFA's old address on 1951 Constitution Avenue. Please submit documented petitions to:

Department of the Interior
Office of the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs
Attention: Office of Federal Acknowledgment
Mail Stop 4071 MIB
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

Petitioners for Federal Acknowledgment as of Wed Jul 24, 2024

Petition Number Petitioning Group Name State Regulation Revision Contact Person
082 Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation CA 1994 Sandra Chapman
120 Amah Mutsun Band of Ohlone/Costanoan Indians CA 1994 Irenne Zwierlein
146 Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians MI 1994 Ronald F. Yob
032 Muscogee Nation of Florida FL 2015 Ann D. Tucker
005 Piro/Manso/Tiwa Indian Tribe of the Pueblo of San Juan Guadalupe NM 2015 Andy Roybal
401 Schaghticoke Indian Tribe CT 2015 Alan Russell
402 Butte Tribe of Bayou Bourbeaux LA 2015 Rodger Collum
403 Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians CA 2015 Rudy Ortega, Jr.
404 Chihene Nde Nation of New Mexico NM 2015 Manuel P. Sanchez

 

Groups requesting Federal Acknowledgment that Will Become Petitioners When They Supplement Their Petitions Wed Jul 24, 2024

Petition Number Petitioning Group Name State Regulation Revision Contact Person
119B Meherrin Indian Tribe NC 2015 Wayne M. Brown
056 United Houma Nation, Inc. LA 2015 Lora Ann Chaisson
056A Biloxi, Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogees, Inc. LA 2015 Randy Verdun
056B Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe LA 2015 Charles Verdin, Sr.
084A Juaneno Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation CA 2015 Teresa M. Romero

 

The above tables list all the petitioners that, as of September 29, 2015, have submitted documented petitions to the Office of Federal Acknowledgment. The above tables also indicate which petitioners chose to be evaluated under the provisions of the 1994 acknowledgment regulations and which petitioners chose to be evaluated under the provisions of the 2015 acknowledgment regulations, pursuant to 25 CFR 83.7(b). The petitioners in the second table have stated that they will supplement their petitions with additional material. When one of these petitioners submits new materials and declares that its submissions are complete, the Department will review the materials and move the petitioner onto the Register of Documented Petitions in accordance with 25 CFR 83.21-22.

25 CFR Part 83 ACKNOWLEDGMENT REGULATIONS as revised in 2015 (the current regulations):

Recent Acknowledgment Actions: This is a listing of some of the Department's latest actions regarding the 25 CFR Part 83 acknowledgment process.

Opportunities for Comment

In accordance with 25 CFR 83.22(b)(iv), the Department posts opportunities for individuals and entities to submit comments on documented petitions.

Petitions in Process

This is a listing of the petitions that the Department is now evaluating under the 25 CFR Part 83 acknowledgment process.

Petitions Resolved

This is a listing of the petitions that have resolved through the 25 CFR Part 83 acknowledgment process.

How to Prepare a Complete Documented Petition

This is a list of the petitioners who have submitted a documented petition as defined by 25 CFR Part 83 and are waiting for the evaluation process to begin.

Supplemental Administrative and Regulatory Documents

These are additional documents that may be of assistance in preparing petitions and in better understanding the Federal acknowledgment process. These documents include the previous revisions of the acknowledgment regulations (in 1978 and 1994); several guidance directives from the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs; general timelines for the 25 CFR 83 acknowledgment process; technical assistance (TA) guidelines; GAO reports; and other documents.

Guidelines, Precedent Manual, and Sample Petition Narrative

The documents include general guidelines intended for the petitioning group, as well as more specialized guidelines for researchers. Also included is a precedent manual that may better help petitioners understand how the Department has interpreted the regulations. A sample petition narrative provides an example of a narrative written by a member of a petitioning group, who volunteered for the project, along with the help of other group members.

Sample Formats for Petitioner Submissions

This is a collection of sample forms that might be helpful in corresponding with the Department during the acknowledgment process.

Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA) Documents

The IBIA is an appeals court within the Department of the Interior to which, under the 1994 revision of the acknowledgment regulations, petitioners or interested parties could appeal decisions by the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs.