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State of Vermont
Criteria for State Recognized Native American Indian Tribes

To be eligible for recognition, an applicant must file an application with the Commission and demonstrate compliance with subdivision 1 through 8 which may be supplemented by subdivision 9 in No. 107 – An Act relating to state recognition of Native American Indian tribes in Vermont.
“Applicant” refers to a group or band seeking formal state recognition as a Native American Indian tribe.

  1. A majority of the applicant’s members currently reside in a specific geographic location within Vermont.
  2. A substantial number of the applicant’s members are related to each other by kinship and trace their ancestry to a kinship group through genealogy or other methods. Genealogical documents shall be limited to those that show a descendancy from identified Vermont or regional native people.
  3. The applicant has a connection with Native American Indian tribes and bands that have historically inhabited Vermont.
  4. The applicant has historically maintained an organizational structure that exerts influence and authority over its members that is supported by documentation of the structure, membership criteria, the names and residential addresses of its members, and the methods by which the applicant conducts its affairs.
  5. The applicant has an enduring community presence within the boundaries of Vermont that is documented by archaeology, ethnography, physical anthropology, history, folklore, or any other applicable scholarly research and data.
  6. The applicant is organized in part:
    1. To preserve, document, and promote its Native American Indian culture and history, and this purpose is reflected in its bylaws.
    2. To address the social, economic, political or cultural needs of the members with ongoing educational programs and activities.
  7. The applicant can document traditions, customs, oral stories, and histories that signify the applicant’s Native American heritage and connection to their historical homeland.
  8. The applicant has not been recognized as a tribe in any other state, province, or nation.
  9. Submission of letters, statements, and documents from:
    1. Municipal, state, or federal authorities that document the applicant’s history of tribe-related business and activities.
    2. Tribes in, and outside Vermont that attest to the Native American Indian heritage of the applicant.

 The Process for State Recognized Native American Indian Tribes

 The Commission will compile and maintain a list of scholarly professionals for appointment to a review panel. A three member review panel, accepted by both the applicant and the Commission will review the applicant’s supporting documentation for recognition and advise the Commission of its accuracy and relevance. Any documentation relating to genealogy submitted in support of the application shall be available only to the three-member review panel. The Commission shall consider the application pursuant to the following process which shall include at least the following requirements.
“Legislative committees” refer to the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs and the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs.

  • The Commission shall provide public notice of receipt of the application and supporting documents.
  • The Commission shall hold at least one public hearing on the application.
  • The Commission shall establish appropriate time frames that include a requirement that the Commission and the review panel shall complete a review of the application and issue a determination regarding recognition within one year after an application and all the supporting documentation have been filed. If a recommendation is not issued, the Commission shall provide a written explanation to the applicant and the legislative committees of the reasons for the delay and the expected date that a decision will be issued.
  • The review panel shall provide a detailed written report of its findings and conclusions to the Commission, the applicant, and the legislative committees. Members of each review panel shall be appointed cooperatively and will have expertise in cultural or physical anthropology, Indian law, archaeology, Native American Indian genealogy, history, or another related Native American Indian subject area. If the applicant and the Commission are unable to agree on a panel, the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) shall appoint the panel.
  • No member of the review panel may be a member of the Commission or affiliated with or on the Tribal rolls of the applicant.
  • The Commission shall review the application, the supporting documentation, the report from the review panel, and any other relevant information to determine compliance and will make a determination to recommend or deny recognition. 
  • The decision to recommend recognition shall require a majority vote of all eligible members of the Commission. A member of the Commission who is on the tribal roll of the applicant is ineligible to participate in any action regarding the application.
  • If the Commission denies recognition, the Commission shall provide the applicant and the legislative committees with written notice of the reasons for the denial, including specifics of all insufficiencies of the application.
  • The applicant may file additional supporting documentation for reconsideration within one year after receipt of the notice of denial.
  • An applicant may withdraw an application any time before the Commission issues a recommendation, and may not file a new application for two years following withdrawal.
  • A new application and supporting documentation shall be considered a de novo filing, and the Commission shall not consider the withdrawn application or its supporting documentation.
  • The Commission shall provide a detailed written report of its findings and conclusions to the applicant and the legislative committees along with a recommendation that the general assembly recognize or deny recognition to the applicant as a Native American Indian tribe.
  • All proceedings, applications, and supporting documentation shall be public except materials exempt pursuant to statute 1 V.S.A. § 317(40). Any documentation relating to genealogy submitted in support of the application shall be available only to the three-member review panel.

An applicant for Recognition shall be recognized by approval of the General Assembly two years after a recommendation to recognize a tribe by the Commission is filed with the legislative committees, provided the General Assembly took no action on the recommendation.
A decision by the Commission to recommend denial of recognition is final unless an applicant or a successor of interest to the applicant that has previously applied for and been denied recognition under this chapter provides new and substantial documentation and demonstrates that the new documentation was not reasonable available at the time of the filing of the original application.
Vermont Native American Indian bands and tribes and individual members of these bands and tribes remain subject to all the laws of the state.