Skip to content

3 United States

By 1900 it seemed that the Native American civilisation would completely disappear as the government, the soldiers and the settlers wanted Native people to give up their homeland, traditions and beliefs and follow the American way of life. Native Americans protested although they had few civil rights and were not full American citizens until 1924. Their leaders continued their campaigns holding demonstrations and marches and fighting cases in the courts. The conditions have improved up to a point and some schools now teach lessons in Native American languages, but they are still the exception. Since 1988, Native Americans have the right to govern their own land and people.

It is estimated that there are now 2,500,000 Native Americans in North America today. They still face problems, some of their own, but they continue to celebrate old and new ceremonies and they are proud of their heritage. Many participate actively in the life of their country.

Indigenous peoples in what is now the contiguous United States are commonly called “American Indians”, or just “Indians” domestically, but are also often referred to as “Native Americans”. In Alaska, indigenous peoples, which include Native Americans, Yupik and Inupiat Eskimos, and Aleuts, are referred to collectively as Alaska Natives.
Native Americans and Alaska Natives make up 2 percent of the population, with more than 6 million people identifying themselves as such, although only 1.8 million are recognized as registered tribal members. Tribes have established their own rules for membership, some of which are increasingly exclusive. More people have unrecognized Native American ancestry together with other ethnic groups. A minority of U.S. Native Americans live in land units called Indian reservations. Some southwestern U.S. tribes, such as the Yaqui and Apache, have registered tribal communities in Northern Mexico. Similarly, some northern bands of Blackfoot reside in southern Alberta, Canada, in addition to within US borders.

A number of Kumeyaay communities may be found in Baja California del Norte.