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Tribal Recognition Stumbles on Inconsistent Definition

Indian Country Today, Posted: Aug 14, 2008

CANASTOTA The Office of Federal Acknowledgment is reviewing applications for federal recognition from as many as 300 tribal communities. Although the U.S. Constitution recognizes the Congress' power to regulate trade with Indian tribes, it does not provide a definition of an Indian ''tribe.'' The OFA requires proof of continuous tribal organization but does not provide a definition of acceptable tribes to either the academic community or tribes. Many reservations are composed of two or more tribes with no common language or social and political structures.

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