12 Stan. L. & Pol'y Rev. 271 (2001)
Federal Recognition of Indian Tribes in the United States

handle is hein.journals/stanlp12 and id is 277 raw text is: Federal Recognition of Indian Tribes
in the United States
by
Mark D. Myers

I personally would like to
speak for our tribe. We feel
like we are twenty years
behind times. We have not
been able to take part in
any programs or any type
of program. Right now, we
do not get the support we
need. We are not asking
for a handout.   We just
want to be recognized as
Indians.
-Lewis Barlow, Chief of
the then-terminated Ottawa
Tribe, before the United
States   Senate    Select
Committee    on   Indian
Affairs,  September  27,
197Z
L    INTRODUCTION
In 1977 the American Indian
Policy   Review    Commission
(AIPRC) concluded that, of more
than 400 tribes in the U.S., only

Presently, the
recognition process is
widely
misunderstood.. .as
conferring legitimacy.
Recognition is a
certification and
documentation
process, not a
transformative one; it
is analogous to a
citizen's obtaining a
passport, not an
alien's naturalization.

Mark D. Myers, Cherokee, is a third-year J.D. candidate at
Stanford Law School, where he co-chairs Stanford's chapter oj
the Native American Law    Students Association.   Myers
graduated with honors from Cambridge University in 1987 and
in 1990 cum laude from Yale Divinity School. Beginning in
August 2001, he will work as law clerk for the Hon. William J.
Holloway, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

289 were served by the Bureau of
Indian  Affairs  (BIA).     The
remainder,    whose     members
numbered more than 100,000, were
members of 'unrecognized' tribes...
excluded from the protection and
privileges of the Federal-Indian legal
relationship.1 Since that time, more
Indian groups have laid claim to the
right to be recognized as tribes, and
the number of tribes and tribal
members is growing. Many serious
problems, however, plague    the
administration  of  the   federal
recognition process.
The flawed application of the
federal recognition process keeps
acceptance and federal support out
of reach for a number of deserving
Indian tribes. While the benefits of
federal recognition are sufficiently
great to  make the burdensome
application process worthwhile, the
uneven  application  of standards
means that outcomes are often
unpredictable. Moreover, there is a
widespread misunderstanding of the
process,   shared   by    courts,

government officials, and other tribes, that such a
relationship with the United States government confers
legitimacy on otherwise suspect groups. On the contrary,
recognition does not change what a tribe in fact always
was; rather, it offers groups one way to demonstrate that
they ought to be treated as Indian tribes under the law.

VOLUME 12:2 2000

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