Special Report

States With the Most Indian Reservations and Tribal Areas

Natalie Behring / Getty Images

Most of us were taught as young children that the first Thanksgiving was a shared autumn harvest feast between Wampanoag Indians and early colonists in 1621. Often, however, the suffering of the Indigenous population shortly after the feast, and for the several centuries since, is brushed aside.

Today, Native American culture is concentrated in many of the nation’s tribal areas, including reservations, tribal statistical areas, home lands, and off-reservation trust lands. According to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, there are 574 federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native tribes and villages across the country. The U.S. government has signed treaties with the tribes that ensure their sovereignty, and the U.S. is legally obligated to “protect tribal treaty rights, lands, assets, and resources,” per the BIA.

These treaties ensure that the U.S. maintains reservations — federal lands set aside as permanent tribal homelands.. These reservations sit on more than 56 million acres of U.S. land held in trust by the government. These lands are home to nearly 5.5 million Native American people, though the vast majority are located in just a handful of states.

24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to identify the states with the most Indian reservations and tribal areas. These lands include reservations, off-reservation trust land, state designated tribal statistical areas, Alaska native village statistical area, and more.

The vast majority of reservations and tribal areas are located in the Southern and Western parts of the country. This is largely due to the Indian Removal Act of 1830, when all tribes in the Eastern U.S. were forcibly relocated to areas west of the Mississippi River. To this day, a large share of the population in many of these Southern and Western states still have Native American ancestry. These are the states with the largest Native American populations.

About half of all U.S. states get their names from a Native American words or phrases used to describe the area before the arrival of Europeans. These are all the states with a Native American name.

Click here to see the state with the most Indian reservations and tribal areas.

Source: Swampyank / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

38. Rhode Island (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 1
> State population living in American Indian areas: 0
> Largest American Indian area: Narragansett Reservation (population: 0)

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Source: Courtesy of Google Maps 2013

37. Georgia (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 1
> State population living in American Indian areas: 11
> Largest American Indian area: Tama Reservation (population: 11)

Source: Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

36. Mississippi (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 1
> State population living in American Indian areas: 7,867
> Largest American Indian area: Mississippi Choctaw Reservation (population: 7,867)

Source: ChrisBoswell / Getty Images

35. Wyoming (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 1
> State population living in American Indian areas: 26,855
> Largest American Indian area: Wind River Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 26,855)

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Source: Courtesy of The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation / Facebook

34. New Jersey (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 2
> State population living in American Indian areas: 6,926
> Largest American Indian area: Nanticoke Lenni Lenape SDTSA (population: 5,932)

Source: Courtesy of Google Maps 2018

33. Delaware (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 2
> State population living in American Indian areas: 9,213
> Largest American Indian area: Nanticoke Indian Tribe SDTSA (population: 8,546)

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Source: Courtesy of Southern Ute Indian Tribe

32. Colorado (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 2
> State population living in American Indian areas: 14,923
> Largest American Indian area: Southern Ute Reservation (population: 13,379)

Source: bernson74 / Getty Images

31. Massachusetts (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 3
> State population living in American Indian areas: 66
> Largest American Indian area: Wampanoag-Aquinnah Trust Land (population: 66)

Source: John Moore / Getty Images News via Getty Images

30. Texas (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 3
> State population living in American Indian areas: 2,256
> Largest American Indian area: Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 1,220)

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Source: Courtesy of Google Maps 2015

29. Virginia (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 4
> State population living in American Indian areas: 3,987
> Largest American Indian area: Chickahominy SDTSA (population: 3,601)

Source: Jerrye and Roy Klotz MD / Wikimedia Commons

28. Iowa (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 4
> State population living in American Indian areas: 8,872
> Largest American Indian area: Omaha Reservation (population: 4,831)

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Source: Magicpiano / Wikimedia Commons

27. Connecticut (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 5
> State population living in American Indian areas: 547
> Largest American Indian area: Mohegan Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 283)

Source: Courtesy of Kansas Kickapoo Tribe

26. Kansas (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 5
> State population living in American Indian areas: 5,942
> Largest American Indian area: Kickapoo (KS) Reservation (population: 3,983)

Source: Hillary / Wikimedia Commons

25. North Dakota (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 5
> State population living in American Indian areas: 40,644
> Largest American Indian area: Lake Traverse Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 11,052)

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Source: Courtesy of National Park Service

24. Idaho (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 5
> State population living in American Indian areas: 33,887
> Largest American Indian area: Nez Perce Reservation (population: 18,770)

Source: zrfphoto / Getty Images

23. Maine
> Number of American Indian areas: 6
> State population living in American Indian areas: 2,807
> Largest American Indian area: Penobscot Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 756)

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Source: Courtesy of Pee Dee Indian Tribe via Facebook

22. South Carolina (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 7
> State population living in American Indian areas: 9,582
> Largest American Indian area: Pee Dee SDTSA (population: 3,210)

Source: Ammodramus / Wikimedia Commons

21. Nebraska (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 7
> State population living in American Indian areas: 29,042
> Largest American Indian area: Pine Ridge Reservation (population: 19,895)

Source: Photo by Robert Alexander / Getty Images

20. Utah (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 7
> State population living in American Indian areas: 200,823
> Largest American Indian area: Navajo Nation Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 172,875)

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19. Montana (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 8
> State population living in American Indian areas: 79,003
> Largest American Indian area: Flathead Reservation (population: 29,717)

Source: Courtesy of Cher-O-Creek Intratribal Indians / Facebook

18. Alabama (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 8
> State population living in American Indian areas: 193,458
> Largest American Indian area: Cher-O-Creek SDTSA (population: 86,566)

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Source: Courtesy of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina / lumbeetribe.com

17. North Carolina (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 8
> State population living in American Indian areas: 605,667
> Largest American Indian area: Lumbee SDTSA (population: 503,825)

Source: Courtesy of United Houma Nation / Facebook

16. Louisiana
> Number of American Indian areas: 9
> State population living in American Indian areas: 245,594
> Largest American Indian area: United Houma Nation SDTSA (population: 203,711)

Source: Courtesy of Florida Seminole Tourism / Facebook

15. Florida
> Number of American Indian areas: 10
> State population living in American Indian areas: 3,117
> Largest American Indian area: Hollywood Reservation (population: 989)

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Source: Andy8Kahn / Wikimedia Commons

14. Oregon (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 11
> State population living in American Indian areas: 9,692
> Largest American Indian area: Warm Springs Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 4,296)

Source: zrfphoto / Getty Images

13. New York (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 11
> State population living in American Indian areas: 17,092
> Largest American Indian area: Allegany Reservation (population: 6,127)

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12. South Dakota (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 11
> State population living in American Indian areas: 84,862
> Largest American Indian area: Pine Ridge Reservation (population: 19,895)

Source: Royalbroil / Wikimedia Commons

11. Wisconsin
> Number of American Indian areas: 12
> State population living in American Indian areas: 45,343
> Largest American Indian area: Oneida (WI) Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 24,800)

Source: usacehq / Flickr

10. Minnesota (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 13
> State population living in American Indian areas: 40,834
> Largest American Indian area: Leech Lake Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 11,229)

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Source: Rex_Wholster / Getty Images

9. Michigan (tied)
> Number of American Indian areas: 13
> State population living in American Indian areas: 36,598
> Largest American Indian area: Isabella Reservation (population: 27,617)

Source: David McNew / Getty Images News via Getty Images

8. Arizona
> Number of American Indian areas: 21
> State population living in American Indian areas: 270,709
> Largest American Indian area: Navajo Nation Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 172,875)

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Source: LindaJohnsonbaugh / Getty Images

7. New Mexico
> Number of American Indian areas: 26
> State population living in American Indian areas: 252,110
> Largest American Indian area: Navajo Nation Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 172,875)

Source: alacatr / Getty Images

6. Nevada
> Number of American Indian areas: 28
> State population living in American Indian areas: 15,680
> Largest American Indian area: Washoe Ranches Trust Land (population: 3,096)

Source: Image courtesy of Puyallup Tribe of Indians / Facebook

5. Washington
> Number of American Indian areas: 29
> State population living in American Indian areas: 169,534
> Largest American Indian area: Puyallup Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 51,407)

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Source: Rdlogan05 / Wikimedia Commons

4. Oklahoma
> Number of American Indian areas: 30
> State population living in American Indian areas: 2,626,580
> Largest American Indian area: Creek OTSA (population: 792,241)

Source: Teri Wertman / Getty Images

3. Hawaii
> Number of American Indian areas: 75
> State population living in American Indian areas: 36,090
> Largest American Indian area: Nanakuli Hawaiian Home Land (population: 5,141)

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Source: Cheri Alguire / Getty Images

2. California
> Number of American Indian areas: 108
> State population living in American Indian areas: 73,581
> Largest American Indian area: Agua Caliente Indian Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land (population: 26,028)

Source: Image Courtesy of Knick Tribal Council / kniktribe.org

1. Alaska
> Number of American Indian areas: 221
> State population living in American Indian areas: 266,602
> Largest American Indian area: Knik ANVSA (population: 76,056)

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