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BIA recognition decision database v2.0 now online
Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Welcome to Version 2.0 of the Federal Recognition Database by Indianz.Com!

The database is an online version of the Acknowledgment Decision Compilation (ADC), a record of documents that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has on file for dozens of groups that have made it through the federal recognition process. The ADC contains over 750 MB of documents -- up from over 600MB in version 1.2 -- that were scanned in and cataloged by the agency's Office of Federal Acknowledgment.

The BIA has changed a couple things since the version 1.2. First, all the documents are now in Adobe PDF format, a widely-used and popular Internet format. The PDFs replace the TIFF image files that some viewers might have found difficult to use.

Second, the BIA has added decision documents for the Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, a Michigan tribe that was denied federal recognition in March 2004, and the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Connecticut, whose status is now being reconsidered after receiving a favorable final determination.

Other than that, the ADC is still a Microsoft Access database that contains links to PDF images of the documents. Indianz.Com converted the database to a web page that you can find at

The database only contains information on petitioners that have received an answer -- preliminary or final -- on their status. Groups that are still in the process are not included.

But for each petitioner that has received an answer, the ADC has the following information:
  • letter of intent
  • technical assistance letters, if any
  • proposed finding
  • final determination

    The ADC does not contain evidence pertaining to each petitioner. That information is found in the Federal Acknowledgment Information Resource (FAIR), another Access database that BIA officials developed for the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Connecticut. The system is being used for all new recognition cases.

    Documents in the ADC date as far back as 1826, when the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana asked for recognition. The earliest proposed finding, in favor of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa in Michigan, is from 1979.

    This version of the ADC posted online stops in August 2004. The previous version 1.2, which we posted online posted in July 2004, stopped in 2003.

    The BIA had planned to post the ADC on its web site but still hasn't received permission from a federal court to reconnect to the Internet.

    Related Stories:
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    McCain takes on controversial topics in 109th Congress (03/07)
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    Famous Dave Anderson: 'The bureau needs to change' (2/4)
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    Jeff Benedict: BIA out of control on tribal recognition (2/9)
    Column: Federal recognition all about 'big wampum' (2/9)
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