Indian Affairs | OFA Guidelines

Guidelines and Precedent Manual 

These documents include several documents designed to assist the petitioner and the petitioner's research staff in putting together a petition.

The guidelines discuss the preparation process in general terms, and petitioners should be aware that their own experience in preparing petitions will have its set of special requirements, considerations, and decisions.

The precedent manual is intended to help petitioners better understand how the Department as interpreted and applied the regulations to specific cases.

The attached narrative, the “Petition for Federal Acknowledgment of the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan,” is an example of a narrative written by a member of a petitioning group, who volunteered for the project, along with the help of other group members.  The petitioner, through this narrative and additional supporting documents, demonstrated that it met the mandatory criteria for Federal acknowledgment.  This sample narrative was part of a petition evaluated under the acknowledgment regulations as revised in 1994. 



Because the Department recently revised its acknowledgment regulations, the Department has not had the time to compile official guidelines or a precedent manual specific to the acknowledgment regulations as revised in 2015.  Look for updated guidelines and an update precedent manual on this page in the future.  In the meantime, the guidelines and precedent manual for the acknowledgment regulations as revised in 1994 might prove useful in preparing a petition under the 2015 revision.  The preamble (80 FR 37862-37885) to the current acknowledgment regulations provides an explanation of some of the differences between the 1994 revision and the 2015 revision.