Skip to main content

Delaware Nation President: State-Recognized Tribes Cutting Into Federal Funding 'Pie'

  • Author:
  • Updated:

State-recognized tribes are starting to receive more of the funding “pie”—the government aid intended for federally recognized tribes, Kerry Holton, the president of the Delaware Nation of Anadarko, Oklahoma said during a business luncheon in Oklahoma City, reported

"Tribes are blurring the line between state recognition and federal recognition,” he said.

The issue, Holton said, is “nobody has defined what that means, to be state-recognized.” With "800 to 1,000 unrecognized entities out there,” that's cutting the "pie" slices thin.

According to Holton, larger Oklahoma tribes, such as the Cherokee and Osage, are also concerned about the issue. “Down the road, we're not going to be able to tell the difference between one another,” he said. “If we don't get engaged, it's going to sneak up behind us.”

Scroll to Continue

Read More reports than less than half the states recognize non-federally recognized tribes, most of them east of the Mississippi River.

The National Conference of State Legislatures cites the National Congress of American Indians' (NCAI) 2011 register, listing state-recognized tribes in the states of Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Vermot, Virginia and Washington. The NCAI website listing state-recognized tribes was down while this article was being written.

Read President Holton's blog post "Recognition in Vain" from July 2011 on the issue.