top of page


Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation (Petitioner #82)  is seeking self-determination, self-governance, and acknowledgment through the federal recognition process. This designation will allow our tribe to assert our tribal sovereignty rights. Federal recognition allows access to further health benefits, scholarships for higher education, funding opportunities to support our wellbeing and cultural continuance.


The Importance of Federal Acknowledgement




Office of Federal Acknowledgment Proposed Finding

 How and When to Submit Comments

Comments on the Proposed Finding (PF) or requests for a copy of the report on the PF should be submitted to:

Department of the Interior

Office of the Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs

Attn: Office of Federal Acknowledgment

1849 C Street NW, MS–4071 MIB

Washington, DC 20240

Reference Petitioner #82: Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation, CA.


Parties who submit comments on the PF should also provide a copy via mail or email to our council

Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation

Attn: Sandra Chapman, Chairperson

P.O. Box 186

Mariposa, CA 95338



R. Lee Fleming, Director, Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA), (202) 513-7650



SSMN Comprehensive Response Public Comments Letter

SSMN Extension November 6, 2023


SSMN Extension November 11, 2022

FOIA Request to the OFA

SSMN Public Comment Extension Request or Withdraw of Proposed Finding


Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation Narrative

Honored Elder Les James Public Comment Letter

Former OFA Dr. Aldo Salerno, Ph.D. Public Comment Letter


Former OFA Cultural Anthropologist Public Comment 

Mark Nicholas Ph.D., Former OFA Historian Public Comment explains OFA finding 

A 'sham': Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation being denied federal recognition

Yosemite Gateway Partners Letter of Support

Mariposa County Resolution

CASA of Mariposa Supports SSMN

Jackson Rancheria Band of Miwuk recognize SSMN

Sierra Foothill Conservancy Support Letter

Survival International Letter of Support for SSMN

General Public Comments Received

Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Mariposa County Public Comment

Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Mariposa County Personal Contribution

Comment letter of the Mariposa County Sheriff-Coroner-Public Administrator


Local Public Support Letter

More Comments

Support letter from an ally on the east coast

Sierra Club Tehipite Chapter Supports Federal Recognition of SSMN

Yosemite NPS Letter to OFA


Native American Heritage Commission Requirements

2017 Mariposa County Needs Assessment

Legal Representation

Dr. Aldo Salerno, PH.D., letter to Secretary Deb Haaland

SSMN Letter to Acting AS-IA Bryan Newland requesting withdrawal of the Proposed Finding

Congressional Letter to Assistant Secretary -Indian Affairs

Letter to Mariposa Gazette

Lonnie Kauk Magic Line






Basic Chronology of the

Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation (SSMN) Petition

for Federal Acknowledgment:

April 14, 1982—SSMN [aka American Indian Council of Mariposa County] files its letter of intent to petition for federal acknowledgment.

March 1, 1984—SSMN files its documented petition for federal acknowledgment: “Petition to the Government of the United States From the American Indian Council of Mariposa County [aka Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation] for Acknowledgment as the Yosemite Indian Tribe”

(prepared by Lowell John Bean, Ph.D., and Sylvia Brakke, M.A.)

On May 1, 1985, and April 11, 1988, respectively, the Deputy to the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs (AS-IA) issues Technical Assistance letters, to which the SSMN responded.

November 1, 2010—the Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA) places the SSMN Petition on Active Consideration.  

From November 1, 2010, until the AS-IA issues the Proposed Finding on November 16, 2018 (approximately 8 years), the Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA):

  • issues two (2) suspensions of the period of Active Consideration. The first suspension was from April 19, 2012, to December 6, 2013, totaling 596 days. The second suspension was from September 23, 2016, to January 21, 2017, totaling 120 days.

  • issues twenty-one (21) extensions of the period of Active Consideration.

NOTE: The above suspensions and extensions of the period of Active Consideration far exceeded and violated the time requirements of the federal regulations for issuance of a Proposed Finding.

September 8, 2017—the SSMN, through its legal counsel, sends a letter to the OFA complaining of the repeated extensions of time in violation of the federal regulations.

November 16, 2018—the AS-IA issues a Proposed Finding Against Federal Acknowledgment of the SSMN (“Proposed Finding”).

April 24, 2019—the SSMN participates in an On the Record (OTR) meeting with the OFA in Washington, D.C., to review the Proposed Finding, including its reasoning, analyses, and factual bases.

May 9, 2019—the SSMN submits a letter to the AS-IA requesting a copy of all documents used by the OFA in its determination of the Proposed Finding, per the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

May 9, 2019—the SSMN submits a letter to the AS-IA, requesting a 180-day extension of the public comment period on the Proposed Finding, and proposing an alternative: that the AS-IA withdraw the Proposed Finding, recommence the period of Active Consideration, consider the SSMN petition under the standard for unambiguous previous federal acknowledgment, and issue a new Proposed Finding.

Support our efforts by donating to our non-profit,

American Indian Council of Mariposa County.



'és/pa/tok/muh/mèe 'íw/win

he/yáw/ŋe/mah/hìi káp/tan/me/tii/mah/hìi

ṭə́n/ṭən/nəp/pùu chə/tə́y

'i/tán/'ok 'ít/chə/kòo ṭə/lə́l/ləy

'i/tán/'ok ho/yé' 'áy/tuu/mè' míw/ṭəy/yà'

--ko/tōo/non/'u/chà' hó'/'ay

ném/mo/'òk ho/yít/tət–

'út/chu/ni'/mah/hìi wál/li/hèt

hó'/'ay che/chíi/wə/ni'/mah/hìi

wə/'ə́'/'a'/mah/hìi míw/ṭəy/yaŋ.

We ask now for help

in calling our representatives

and asking them to decide well

so that our people

–of the past and of the future–

can live with calmness (peace)

and continue our ways.

Kawiinətishshii, 'utchuhakme' net'ok mitaanon nəmih net'ok halle'həə miwdtəyyang

We are still here! We have been here forever, it seems, in this land of the Miwuk.

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button
bottom of page