Institute of Intergovernmental Relations


Aboriginal Rights and Governance in the United States

Federal Agencies Dealing with Aboriginal Affairs

Administration for Native Americans

  • ANA is the only federal agency serving all Native Americans, including 562 federally recognized Tribes, American Indian and Alaska Native organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations and Native populations throughout the Pacific basin (including American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). The mission of ANA is to promote the goal of self-sufficiency and cultural preservation for Native Americans by providing social and economic development opportunities through financial assistance, training, and technical assistance to eligible Tribes and Native American communities, including American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Native Pacific Islanders organizations.  ANA provides funding for community-based projects that are designed to improve the lives of Native children and families and reduce long-term dependency on public assistance.

Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior

  • Indian Affairs (IA) is the oldest bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. Established in 1824, IA currently provides services (directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts) to approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. There are 565 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives in the United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for the administration and management of 55 million surface acres and 57 million acres of subsurface minerals estates held in trust by the United States for American Indian, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives. Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) provides education services to approximately 42,000 Indian students.

Aboriginal representative bodies

National Congress of American Indians

  • Serving as the major national tribal government organization, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is positioned to monitor federal policy and coordinated efforts to inform federal decisions that affect tribal government interests. It serves to secure the rights and benefits entitled to Indian peoples; to enlighten the public toward the better understanding of the Indian people; to preserve rights under Indian treaties or agreements with the United States; and to promote the common welfare of the American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Other Aboriginal sites

American Indian Movement

  • At the core of the American Indian Movement is Indian leadership under the direction of NeeGawNwayWeeDun, Clyde H. Bellecourt, and others. Making steady progress, the movement has transformed policy making into programs and organizations that have served Indian people in many communities. These policies have consistently been made in consultation with spiritual leaders and elders. During the past thirty years, The American Indian Movement has organized communities and created opportunities for people across the Americas and Canada.

American Indian Program Council

  • The American Indian Program Council (AIPC) is a subcommittee of the Denver Federal Executive Board concerned with the recruitment, retention and visibility of American Indians in the Federal workforce.

Association on American Indian Affairs

  • The mission of the Association of American Indian Affairs (AAIA) is to promote the welfare of American Indians and Alaska Natives. It has played a critical role in a host of landmark events that benefited Native people, including: drafting a number of important laws, such as the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the Tribal Governmental Tax Status Act; establishing health programs, such an the innovative field nursing program, that later were adopted and expanded upon by the Indian Health Service; establishing organizations like the Medicine Wheel Coalition for the Protection of Sacred Sites and negotiated landmark agreements to protect sacred lands such as the Bighorn Medicine Wheel and Medicine Mountain in Wyoming; and awarding thousands of scholarships to Native American college and graduate students.

Center for World Indigenous Studies

  • The Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS) is an independent, non-profit, research and education organization dedicated to wider understanding and appreciation of the ideas and knowledge of indigenous peoples and the social, economic and political realities of indigenous nations.

Code Talk

  • CodeTalk is a federal, interagency, Native American Web site designed specifically to deliver electronic information from government agencies and other organizations to Native American communities.

National Tribal Development Association

  • Founded in 1995 by the late John “Eagle” Sunchild, Sr., the National Tribal Development Association (NTDA) is a non-profit national American Indian service organization that provides a wide range of economic development and governance type services to American Indian/Alaska Natives nationwide.


  • NativeWeb is an international, nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to using telecommunications including computer technology and the Internet to disseminate information from and about indigenous nations, peoples, and organizations around the world; to foster communication between native and non-native peoples; to conduct research involving indigenous peoples' usage of technology and the Internet; and to provide resources, mentoring, and services to facilitate indigenous peoples' use of this technology.

Native American Rights Fund

  • The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is a non-profit 501c(3) organization that provides legal representation and technical assistance to Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide - a constituency that often lacks access to the justice system. NARF focuses on applying existing laws and treaties to guarantee that national and state governments live up to their legal obligations.

Tribal Court Clearinghouse

  • The Tribal Court Clearinghouse is a comprehensive website established in June 1997 to serve as a resource for American Indian and Alaska Native Nations, American Indian and Alaska Native people, tribal justice systems, victims services providers, tribal service providers, and others involved in the improvement of justice in Indian country.