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Report Number WE-5
Component ID: #ti1750261525

Introduction

We, the American Indians and Alaska Natives, are the original inhabitants of America. Our land once was a vast stretch of forest, plains, and mountains extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and from the Arctic Circle to the tip of South America. In many American Indian and Alaska Native lands across the country, we still hunt, fish, and gather from the land, rivers, and seas, much as we have for thousands of years.

Our long proud heritage continues in our many traditional foods, medicines, and names all Americans use. We have survived numerous disruptions of our lives and dislocations from our native habitats. Today, while still maintaining our tribal traditions and languages, we strive to accept new technologies which address our needs.

This is a descriptive profile of the American Indian and Alaska Native populations. Characteristics such as population size, family composition, education, labor force status, occupation, income, and poverty status are presented in three sections.

Section 1 — Figures 1-10.

Characteristics of the American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut Population

The nearly 2 million American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts living in the United States in 1990 represented an increase of 38 percent over the 1980 total. Data are presented for the total American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut population compared with the total population of the United States.

Section 2 — Figures 11-22.

Characteristics of the American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut Population on 10 Largest Reservations and Trust Lands

The 1990 census showed that 437,079 American Indians, 182 Eskimos, and 97 Aleuts lived on 314 reservations and trust lands; about 218,290 American Indians, 25 Eskimos, and 5 Aleuts lives on the 10 largest reservations and trust lands.

Data are presented for the American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut population on all reservations, and trust lands, as well as the 10 reservations and trust lands with the largest populations — Navajo, Pine Ridge, Fort Apache, Gila River, Papago, Rosebud, Hopi, San Carolos, Zuni Pueblo, and Blackfeet.

Section 3 — Figures 23-32.

Characteristics of the Alaska Native Population (American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts) in Alaska

In 1990, there were 85,698 Alaska Natives living in Alaska. Most were Eskimos, but substantial numbers were American Indians and Aleuts. In 1980, the Alaska Native population number 64,103, a 34 percent increase during the 1980’s. Data are presented for all Alaska Natives, as well as separately for the three groups—American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts.

The increase in the American Indian, Eskimos, and Aleut population cannot be attributed only to natural increase. Other factors may have contributed to the higher count of American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts such as: improvements in the way the Census Bureau counted people on reservations, on trust lands, and in Alaska Native villages; continued use of self-identification to obtain information on race; greater propensity in 1990 than in earlier censuses for individuals (especially those of mixed Indian and non-Indian parentage) to report themselves as American Indian; and improved outreach programs and promotion campaigns.

The possible effect of these factors upon the data in this report should be considered in interpreting changes from 1980 to 1990 in the size, distribution, and characteristics of the American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut population.

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