The criteria for a tribe to be recognized by the federal government must meet all seven of the following criteria:
1, The petitioner must have existed substantially and on a continuous basis since 1900.
2, The petitioner has had a distinct community since historical times.
3, The petitioning group has maintained a political influence over it's members since historical times.
4, The petitioner provides a copy of it's governing document.
5, The petitioner's members descend from the tribe.
6, The petitioner's membership are not members of another tribe.
7, The petitioner not be subject to legislation forbidding the Federal relationship.
Once a tribe can prove all seven of the criteria then the tribe can receive Federal assistance which includes, economic development, education, law enforcement, social services, real estate services, agriculture and range management, and resource protection.
There are sometimes benefits for members of a federally-recognized tribe because of opportunities given to tribes that are federally recognized based on federal programs and business ventures such as casinos and businesses that a federally recognized tribe owns and operates.