The Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana is not a tribe and the federal government does not have to recognize it, a federal appeals court in South Bend ruled.
The court said about 4,700 Indiana Miamis are left. Only a third of those live in five contiguous counties in Indiana, and they don't live in a group.
The appeals court ruled that "Indian nations, like foreign nations, can disappear over time."
The Interior Department ruled in 1992 that the Miamis were not a tribe, saying the group didn't live in a distinct community and had not maintained authority over members.