Tribal and Native Communities


Efforts to improve the economic status of Native Americans – approximately one in four of whom live in families with income below the federal poverty line – are increasing. Poverty and other barriers to economic development among tribal communities stem from historical interactions with the federal government. Land trust regulations restricted resources and job opportunities. As a result, native communities are frequently guarded about relations with the federal government or people who are not part of their community. Eligible people in tribal communities may be hesitant to claim the credits.


  • Tribal health agencies, urban Indian centers, tribal Head Start or housing agencies, and tribal councils
  • Tribal community colleges and universities
  • Native media
  • Native-owned business


1. Get to know the community.

There are 574 federally recognized tribes, bands, nations, pueblos, rancherias, communities, and Native villages, in addition to many other groups that are not federally recognized. It is important for outreach approaches and messages to be consistent with the values and beliefs of individual tribes. Find out from community members how to work with tribal elders or other leaders who play a pivotal role in influencing community priorities. To identify tribal leaders, visit the Tribal Leaders Directory.

2. Partner with tribal community colleges and universities.

Often these schools serve as career centers, libraries, economic development centers, public meeting spaces, and child care centers. They may be able to provide space, computers, and volunteers to serve as free tax preparation sites. These schools can also provide tax credit information to students. Visit the American Indian Higher Education Consortium for information on tribal colleges and universities.


3. Promote tax credits through Native media.

Native media can deliver information in the language or dialect of the community. Newspapers can publish stories about how tribal members benefited from the credits and they can advertise free tax filing assistance. Also reach out to non-Native media that might interest tribal members.

4. Reach out to urban Native Americans.

More than 70 percent of the nearly seven million Native Americans nationwide live in urban communities. The following five cities have large American Indian and Alaska Native populations: New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Anchorage, and Oklahoma City.



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