Native American tribes and nations in the United States face a range of threats to their sovereignty from federal and state governments, as centuries-old treaty agreements are questioned, and due to land-use and resource extraction policies. The country’s indigenous peoples’ long history of struggle shows no end in sight.
Scholars estimate that by the time Europeans began to settle America, nearly 10 million people had already been living in the continental United States. That number fell sharply after colonization, due to wars and the spread of diseases.
Native Americans are still dealing with the effects of 400 years of persecution and discrimination. During the 17th and 18th centuries, government officials forced tribes onto remote reservations that often lacked natural resources or arable soil. Today, American Indians have the highest poverty rate of any major racial group in the United States, with one in four living below the poverty line. Those who live on reservations face obstacles such as food insecurity and associated health problems like diabetes.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed population data across the country using the U.S Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey to identify the Native American heritage with the largest population in each state.
According to the Department of the Interior, across the country there are approximately 2 million members of federally recognized American Indian tribes. A much larger population of close to 6 million U.S. residents self-identifies as American Indian, including more than 4 million who self-identify as a specific American Indian tribe.
To identify the largest native population in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of residents in each state who self-identify as American Indian and Alaskan Native, and who specified a certain nation, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 5-year American Community Survey (ACS). We were not able to consider tribes not tabulated by the Census, such as Abenaki, Catawba, Eastern Tribes, Kickapoo, Mattaponi, Quapaw, Shawnee, and Yuchi.
This category includes people who indicate their race as “American Indian or Alaska Native” or report entries such as Navajo, Blackfeet, Inupiat, Yup’ik, or Central American Indian groups, or South American Indian groups. Generally, such individuals have origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.