Tribal Council

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

Associations of tribes

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.

In the United States, 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. Since the late 20th century, the Crow Nation changed their constitution and organized as a three-branch government with a ceremonial Crow Tribal General

Governing bodies

Tribal councils in Canada and the United States 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. Federally recognized tribes in the United States are considered "domestic dependent nations", and they have sovereign status somewhat comparable to the individual American States. Different tribes may choose governance structures for themselves, but most tribes have adopted 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. On a few American Indian reservations such as the Hopi Reservation and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) reservations, a U.S. or Canadian-recognized and -funded, democratically-elected tribal government operates in parallel, and in some cases, in conflict with, the nation's traditionalist governance.

Tribal Councils in Canada


British Columbia


New Brunswick

  • Mawiw Tribal Council
  • Saint John River Valley Tribal Council

Newfoundland and Labrador

Northwest Territories

  • Mackenzie Delta Tribal Council

Nova Scotia

Nunavut Association of Municipalities The Nunavut Association of Municipalities (NAM) represents community officials across Nunavut. The association was formed to make important contributions to decisions about Nunavut communities and capital projects. The group provides a single voice for mayors and municipal administrators of the territory's 25 communities.


Prince Edward Island

  • Mi'kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island


  • Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council
  • Algonquin Nation Tribal Council
  • Mamuitun Tribal Council
  • The Grand Council of the Crees is not a tribal council in the same sense of the above, but serves a similar purpose. its powers are not delegated from member communities but are derived from the 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and subsequent agreements with Canada and Quebec.
  • Waban-Aki Tribal Council



Tribal Councils in the United States

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