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American Indian Education Knowledgbase

This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.

The American Indian Education KnowledgeBase is an online resource to aid education professionals in their efforts to improve the education of American Indian students and close the achievement gap American Indian students have faced in public, Bureau of Indian Education, and other schools.

Task 2: Understand Eligibility for Tribal Citizenship

Guideline: According to the U.S. Government's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), no single federal or tribal criterion establishes a person's identity as an American Indian. Enrollment criteria vary, and are determined by the tribe from which Indian blood may be derived. Generally, if linkage to an identified tribal member is far removed, one would not qualify for citizenship.

To be eligible for BIA services, an American Indian must be:

  • A member of a tribe recognized by the federal government,
  • of one-half or more American Indian blood of tribes indigenous to the United States; or
  • for some purposes, be of one-fourth or more American Indian ancestry.



Ancestry - And How To Enroll Or Register In A Federally Recognized Tribe

This website offers information and directions on how to enroll or register with a federally recognized American Indian tribe.  

What Is The Purpose Of Tribal Enrollment?

Tribal enrollment requirements preserve the unique character and traditions of each tribe. The tribes establish membership criteria based on shared customs, traditions, language and tribal blood.

What Are Tribal Membership Requirements?

Tribal enrollment criteria are set forth in tribal constitutions, articles of incorporation or ordinances. The criterion varies from tribe to tribe, so uniform membership requirements do not exist. 

National Congress of American Indians

This National Congress of American Indians website provides a database of American Indian tribes with contact information for each tribe.




Guide to Tracing Your American Indian Ancestry

This link is to a U.S. Department of the Interior guide addressing the purpose of tribal enrollment, membership requirements, how to apply, and how to locate an ancestral tribe.

Native American Indian Genealogy

This link to Access Genealogy provides such Native American records as tribal histories, final rolls, census, and an extensive collection of online books.

Top 50 Questions About American Indian Tribes

This Californian Indian Education site explores the Top 50 Questions about American Indian tribes.



Alabama Teacher Nurtures Native American Students

This 2016 ED Week video displays how Nicole Williams came back home to Calcedeaver Elementary School in rural Alabama to teach Native American culture, language, dance, and history in a community with a large Choctaw Indian population, mentoring many students through high school.

Who Gets To Be An Indian ?

In this November 2015 challenging video, Dr. Richie Meyers, an Oglala Sioux tribal citizen, explores who gets to be an Indian and what that says about our community. Identity is ever-changing. Those who choose who is included and excluded tells as much about a society as the identities themselves. Dr. Meyers is a professionally trained cultural anthropologist with an emphasis in sociology-linguistics and cognitive functions of the mind. 



Russell Means - American Indian Reservations and Dying Languages

In this February 2011 video, American Indian Activist Russell Means cut his hair as a sign of mourning for the suffering of his people. In this video, he speaks about life on American Indian reservations, and about the importance of having a living language.

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and are intended for general reference purposes only. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education or the Center, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Some resources on this site require Adobe Acrobat Reader. This website archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.