Tribal Council

Tribal Council

A Tribal Council is either: (1) an association of Native American bands in the United States or First Nations governments in Canada, or (2) the governing body for certain tribes within the United States or elsewhere (since ancient times). They are generally formed along regional, ethnic or linguistic lines.


Associations of tribes

Several Sovereign American Indian Nations are organized as Tribal Councils. The Navajo Nation, or Dineh, were formally governed by the Navajo Tribal Council, known today as the Navajo Nation Council. The Crow Nation in Montana was once organized as the Crow Tribal Council. Currently, the Crow Nation, after a change in constitution whose legality is disputed, is organized as a three branch government with a ceremonial Crow Tribal General Council.

In Canada, the Indian band, usually consisting of one main community, is the fundamental unit of government. Bands may unite to form a tribal council, but they need not do so. Bands that do not belong to a tribal council are said to be independent. Bands may and do withdraw from tribal councils. Furthermore, the authority that bands delegate to their tribal council varies, with some tribal councils serving as a strong, central organization while others are granted limited power by their members.

Governing bodies

Tribal councils in the United States and Canada have a somewhat different status. In the United States, the term usually describes the governing body of a tribe that is typically distinct from other tribes as a matter of geography, native language, religion and culture. The tribe, usually comprising a single Reservation (although some tribes have more than one, and many have none) is the basic unit of government. Depending on the state, recognized tribes are considered "domestic dependent nations", which gives then sovereign status somewhat comparable to the individual American States. Different tribes may choose governance structures for themselves, but most tribes, using the democratic governments in which a Tribal Council or the equivalent functions as a legislative body and an elected or appointed Chairman has an executive role comparable to a President or Prime Minister. Although not necessarily required by US law to recognize legal principles of democracy, separation of powers, legal precedent, etc., most tribes have found it easier to deal with outside authorities if they do. On a few reservations such as the Hopi Reservation, tribal government exists in parallel with the tribe's more traditional religious and secular government.

Tribal Councils in Canada


  • Athabasca Tribal Council
  • Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations
  • Four Nations Administration
  • Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council
  • Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council
  • Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta
  • Treaty 7 Management Corporation
  • Western Cree Tribal Council
  • Yellowhead Tribal Council

British Columbia


  • Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council
  • Interlake Reserves Tribal Council
  • Island Lake Tribal Council
  • Keewatin Tribal Council
  • Manitoba Keewatinook Ininew Okimowin
  • Swampy Cree Tribal Council
  • Western Region Tribal Council
  • West Region Tribal Council

New Brunswick

  • Mawiw Tribal Council
  • Saint John River Valley Tribal Council

Newfoundland and Labrador

Northwest Territories

  • Mackenzie Delta Tribal Council

Nova Scotia

  • The Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq
  • Union of Nova Scotia Indians



Prince Edward Island

  • Mi'kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island


  • Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council
  • Algonquin Nation Tribal Council
  • Mamuitun Tribal Council


  • Agency Chiefs Tribal Council
  • Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations
  • Battlefords Tribal Council
  • File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council
  • Fort Carlton Agency Council
  • Meadow Lake Tribal Council
  • Prince Albert Grand Council
  • Saskatoon District Tribal Council
  • Southeast Tribal Council
  • Southeast Treaty#4 Tribal Council
  • Touchwood Agency Chiefs
  • Yorkton Tribal Council
  • Barking Spider Swift Current Chiefs Council


  • Gwich'in Tribal Council
  • Tanana Chiefs Council

Tribal Councils in the United States

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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