ACET Survey on the Federal Acknowledgment Process

posted Jul 5, 2013, 2:52 PM by John Norwood
A brief survey, sponsored by the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes (ACET), was administered in June 2013 to assess how the manner in which the Federal Acknowledgment Process (FAP) criteria as currently applied has neglected to take into consideration regional historical realities and individual tribal experiences, creating an unreasonable evidentiary burden on worthy tribes. The intention was to generate data for a report to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaskan Native Affairs. This report is intended to inform and advise the government in response to a call for how the FAP can be improved and made more sensitive to regional historical realities impacting the ability of tribes to meet certain criteria. 

The survey was conducted in response to the 2013 midwinter executive session of the National Congress of American Indians meeting of the Task Force on Federal Acknowledgment. As of 22 June 2013, twenty-one responses were received representing fifteen different tribes. The survey was limited in scope, focusing in on the specifics of the discussion during the Task Force meeting. The survey is confidential, but represents responses from the Northeast, Southeast, California, and Oklahoma… with the Eastern / Southeastern seaboard tribes making up 19 of the 21 respondents.

Subsequent to the processing of the survey data, on 21 June 2013, Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn of the Bureau of Indian Affairs proposed changes to the Part 83 Federal Acknowledgment Requirements. Some of the proposed changes address issues identified in the preliminary findings from the survey data. After further review, conclusions and suggestions based upon the data will be provided.