Most early tribes are already federally recognized tribes, with the obvious exception of those who’ve ceased to exist either by attrition or annihilation. Those tribes who have tried to revive themselves or reestablish their governments come into question because of their time of absence and service to their people. The key seems to be, or the question asked is, how long has this been a viable tribe serving its people, and has it maintained a form of government or provable existence. If this cannot be established or proven, the tribe has, in the eyes of the US Government, ceased to exist and has therefore relinquished its right to be considered as a tribe for all intents and government purposes. Anthropologists have estimated that some three thousand tribes existed on this continent prior to the arrival of the Europeans; today only 566 remain federally accepted. I would never say that any one tribe would be or should be excluded.
Have a question for Sonny? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask N NDN” and we’ll see that it’s answered.