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Frequently Asked Questions

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Do Native Americans receive any special rights or benefits from the US government?

Contrary to popular belief, Indians do not receive payments from the federal government simply because they have Indian blood. Funds distributed to a person of Indian descent may represent mineral lease income on property that is held in trust by the United States or compensation for lands taken in connection with governmental projects. Some Indian tribes receive benefits from the federal government in fulfillment of treaty obligations or for the extraction of tribal natural resources — a percentage of which may be distributed as per capita among the tribe’s membership. 

What does the term “federally recognized” mean?

Only tribes who maintain a legal relationship to the US government through binding treaties, acts of Congress, executive orders, etc., are officially “recognized” by the federal government. Once “recognized” a tribe has a legal relationship with the United States. There are currently more than 550 federally recognized tribes in the United States, including some 200 village groups in Alaska. However, there are still hundreds of tribes undergoing the lengthy and tedious process of applying for federal recognition. 

Do Indians pay taxes?

All Indians are subject to federal income taxes. As sovereign entities, tribal governments have the power to levy taxes on reservation lands. Some tribes do and some don’t. As a result, Indians and non-Indians may or may not pay sales taxes on goods and services purchased on the reservation depending on the tribe. However, whenever a member of an Indian tribe conducts business off the reservation, that person, like everyone else, pays both state and local taxes. State income taxes are not paid on reservation or trust lands.

What measures can I take to officially update my racial/ethnic status? 

There a few ways to reclaim your status on State and Federal paper. 

  • Apply online for a replacement social security card under the "lost card" option

  • Apply for a replacement Drivers License and update you classification

  • Register to vote and choose the correct race classification

  • Amend your birth certificate

After my enrollment is processed, does that mean my children and spouse are automatically enrolled?

No. Potential members must be enrolled on an individual basis - each person of legal driving age separately completing their own application in order to receive an enrollment number and tribal ID.

I lost my tribal ID. How can I get a new one?

If you've lost your tribal ID card, notify administration right away. Protect it the same way you would protect your social security card and drivers license. Once you've notified administration, you will be issued a new ID card for a replacement fee of $35.