AMCAS Application Tribal Affiliation FAQs

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Help Text Definitions

Federally Recognized Tribe:  "Recognition" is a legal term meaning that the United States recognizes a government-to-government relationship with a tribe and that a tribe exists politically in a "domestic dependent nation" status. Federally recognized tribes possess certain inherent powers of self-government and entitlement to certain federal benefits, services, and protections because of the special trust relationship.

State Recognized Tribe:  State recognized tribes are Indian tribes and heritage groups that are recognized by individual states for their various internal state government purposes.

Non–Federally Recognized Tribe:  While the term “non-federally recognized tribe” is not defined in federal laws, it can include state recognized tribes and tribal entities without state or federal recognition.  

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Tribal Affiliation FAQs

Starting with the 2025 AMCAS application cycle, applicants can share information in a new section within Biographic Information titled “Tribal Affiliation.”

Tribal affiliation is the acknowledgment of membership or association with an American Indian, Alaska Native, or Indigenous tribe.

Members of the admissions community and native organizations have advocated for a more defined option to identify an applicant's tribal affiliation than what currently exists within the AMCAS application.

Understanding the need for consistent reporting and standardization within the data collection, and the protected status of this community, the AAMC acknowledges that this dual approach allows us to appropriately acknowledge how an applicant may identify in alignment with our data collection standards.
Including the question in both sections allows an applicant to differentiate tribal affiliation related to racial or ethnic identity and the political aspect of tribal affiliation, involving membership or non-membership.

This change reinforces the AAMC's commitment to supporting both American Indian, Alaska Native, and Indigenous learners as well as medical schools who are recruiting from this community of applicants.

Applicants have the option to link their racial identity to a tribe within the Self- Identification section. The new question allows an applicant the option of acknowledging their membership or non-membership.

Tribal affiliation is an optional section within the AMCAS application.

We encourage applicants to provide contextual information throughout the application. This question is intended to provide an opportunity to share additional information about yourself and enhance your profile for medical schools in ways that may not be expressed elsewhere.

Applicants with affiliations to more than one tribe can enter multiple names.

No. The AMCAS program will not collect any materials to verify tribal affiliation.

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