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Guidelines, Precedent Manual, and Sample Narrative


These documents include several documents designed to assist the petitioner and the petitioner's research staff in putting together a petition.

The guidelines discuss the preparation process in general terms, and petitioners should be aware that their own experience in preparing petitions will have its set of special requirements, considerations, and decisions.

The precedent manual is intended to help petitioners better understand how the Department as interpreted and applied the regulations to specific cases.

The attached narrative, the “Petition for Federal Acknowledgment of the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan,” is 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.  The petitioner, through this narrative and additional supporting documents, demonstrated that it met the mandatory criteria for Federal acknowledgment.  This sample narrative was part of a petition evaluated under the acknowledgment regulations as revised in 1994. 


The Department recently revised its acknowledgment regulations.  Consequently, the Department has not had the time to compile official guidelines or a precedent manual specific to the acknowledgment regulations as revised in 2015.  Look for updated guidelines and an update precedent manual on this page in the future.  In the meantime, there is a DRAFT version of a documented called "Documented Petition Description with a Suggested Outline for Concise Written Narrative" available below.  Note also that the guidelines and precedent manual for the acknowledgment regulations as revised in 1994 might prove useful in preparing a petition under the 2015 revision.  The preamble (80 FR 37862-37885) to the current acknowledgment regulations provides an explanation of some of the differences between the 1994 revision and the 2015 revision.


NOTICE February 6, 2018:  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 Acknowledgement      1849 C Street, NW      Washington, DC 20240 


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