The U.S. government officially recognizes nearly 600 Indian tribes in the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. These federally recognized tribes are eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, either directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts.
The National Tribal Preservation Program helps Indian tribes protect resources and traditions important to them. The program funds Tribal Heritage grants for federally recognized Indian tribes to help them with cultural and historic preservation projects.
The program also funds Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, who:
- Inventory tribal historic properties
- Prepare and carry out a tribal-wide historic preservation plan
- Assist federal agencies with reviewing projects on tribal lands
When a federal agency reviews a project on tribal land, it must consult:
- The Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (for federally recognized tribes), or
- A designated representative (for tribes that are not federally recognized).
Federal agencies also must consult with Indian tribes that attach religious and cultural importance to historic properties. It doesn't matter where the properties are located.
- Requires federal agencies and museums to inventory and identify Native American human remains and cultural items in their collections
- Requires federal agencies and museums to consult with federally recognized Indian tribes on the return of those objects
- Authorizes grants to document and return human remains and cultural objects to their native people
As part of its archeology program, the National Park Service protects historic sites and shares the past with visitors.
The federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation assists tribes with critical issues. The nonprofit National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers also helps with this effort.
Other Cultural Resources
- Trace Indian ancestry.
- Find statistics related to American Indian and Alaska Native populations.
- Learn how the Census works with American Indians and Alaska Natives.
- Explore the diversity of the Native people of the Americas at the National Museum of the American Indian.
- See a list of important Native American places.
- Read federal news related to Native American land issues.
- Find out how members of Native American tribes can legally get eagle feathers and parts for ceremonies.
- Explore American history relating to Native Americans.
- Learn about World War II Navajo Code Talkers.
- Read Native American newspapers from the late 19th through the early 20th centuries.
If you are looking for housing help, contact the following offices:
- To live on public lands, contact the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH).
- To live on a reservation, contact a local Tribally Designated Housing Entity (TDHE).
Native American Housing Programs
- Indian Housing's Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) - administers housing and community development programs to ensure that safe, decent, and affordable housing is available to Native American families.
- Indian Housing Grant Programs - provide financial help for Indian tribes to develop affordable housing and to provide housing activities on a reservation or Indian area. Guidebooks available.
- Housing Improvement Program (HIP) - provides home repair, renovation, replacement, and new housing grants.
- Tribal Green Building - Funding resources from Federal, tribal and state agencies for tribal green building.
- Law Library of Congress — Lists laws related to Indians of North America.
- Department of the Interior Native American Resources — Compiles legal information on tribal governments, federal agencies and records.
- Senate Committee on Indian Affairs — Handles laws about American Indians, Native Hawaiians, or Alaska Natives proposed by U.S. Senators.
- Tribal Constitutions and Codes — Lists tribal laws, to assist federally recognized tribes in governing themselves.
- Early Treaties — Features historic treaties between the United States government and American Indian tribes.
- Cultural and Historic Preservation — Discusses some of the laws that federal agencies must follow with Indian cultural and historic preservation.
- Office of Tribal Justice— U.S. Department of Justice office for Indian Tribes.
- Policy on Indian Sovereignty and Government-to-Government Relations with Indian Tribes — Recognizes the sovereign status of federally recognized Indian tribes as domestic dependent nations.
- Indian Health Service Employment — Explains "absolute preference" in hiring American Indians and Alaska Natives.
- Tribal and Alaskan Native Training — Provides training to reduce crime on tribal lands.
- Crime Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice — Supports public safety, victim services, and crime prevention in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
- Crime Prevention, Bureau of Indian Affairs — Office of Justice Services law enforcement programs in Indian communities and on reservations.
Money and Laws
- Indian Trust Program — Consists of land held in trust by the United States for American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives. If you have questions about trust funds, contact your local Fiduciary Trust Officer. You can also call the Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 1-888-678-6836 (toll free).
- Taxes for Indian Tribal Governments — Reviews tax issues for Native Americans and offers FAQs and IRS contact numbers.
- Social Security — Social Security Administration programs for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
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Last Updated: July 10, 2019