The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians is a Tribal government that is financially organized as a California 501c(4) non-profit corporation. For a tax-deduction credit, please make your AcknowledgeRent contribution to the FTBMI’s charitable wing, Pukúu, Cultural Community Services a 501(c)(3) organization registered with the State of California and IRS.

For over a century, our Tribal leaders had to think creatively about how to effectively operate as a non-federally recognized tribe in a country that does not recognize our existence. For example, there is no Internal Revenue Code status that portrays the statuses of non-federally recognized tribes. Our Tribe must operate within a gray area because there is no mechanism within the state of California that could sustain our operations, and yet we must sustain our operations for the advancement of our people and community.

A 501(c)3 encompasses, but is not limited to educational, religious, scientific, medical and charitable endeavors – all of which our Tribe operates as. However, if organized as a 501(c)3, our Tribe would be restricted from political campaigning, which our Tribe must participate in for policies and rules that have lasting impacts on our homelands and people. As a sovereign nation, our Tribe could not organize as a 501(c)3 and engage in meaningful governance.

A 501(c)4 is an organization that must not be organized for profit and operate exclusively to promote social welfare. Under this tax code, the Tribe is not able to pursue profit that would ultimately enhance the lives of its people. Since California has no formal State recognition process or mechanism though which non-federally recognized Tribal Nations can operate, our Tribe has no other option than to organize as a 501(c)4.

The lack of a process and tax code status for non-federally recognized tribes in California and U.S. is a systemic hindrance that works to diminish the growth of tribes and contributes to Tribal erasure.