1.3. American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes
In 2003, there were more than 560 federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.
Figure 1.3. American Indian/Alaska Native tribes according to number of self-identified members, by
tribal group: 2000
1 Latin American Indian refers to respondents listing any one of a number of Latin American tribes (e.g., Maya or Yanomamo).
2 Iroquois is a language group which includes six federally recognized tribes in its confederacy.
NOTE: "Alone" refers to respondents who selected American Indian/Alaska Native and not any other race category. "In
combination with one or more other races" refers to respondents who selected American Indian/Alaska Native and one or
more other race categories. Both "alone" and "in combination" include persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Tribal groupings compiled
by the Census Bureau do not necessarily correspond with federally recognized tribes. Self-identified membership does not
necessarily correspond with official membership in a federally recognized tribe.
SOURCE. U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Census 2000 Brief: The American Indian and Alaska Native Population,
In 2003, the federal government recognized 562 American Indian/Alaska Native tribes (U.S. Department of the Interior 2004a). These federally recognized entities are eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). Furthermore, these tribes have "domestic dependent nation status," defined as the power of self-government, including the powers to form governments, make and enforce laws, tax, establish membership, license and regulate activities, zone, and exclude people from tribal territories (U.S. Department of the Interior 1999). As such, they maintain diplomatic relations with the federal government (U.S. Department of the Interior 2000).
In 2000, the largest American Indian tribes were Cherokee and Navajo, with 730,000 and 298,000 individuals reporting affiliation (including those of Hispanic ethnicity), respectively. Eskimo was the largest Alaska Native tribe, with a reported affiliation of 54,800 (including those of Hispanic ethnicity).
In 2008, there were about 64 state-recognized tribes in 16 states (500 Nations 2008).