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Indian Country by the numbers


There are many misconceptions about Indian tribes in the United States. Growing up in the United States educational system, students do not learn accurate information about the history of American Indians and the reality of life in Native America today. When Christopher Columbus made his infamous “discovery” in 1492, there were millions of indigenous people living on this land in hundreds of tribal nations. Each nation, today generally called a tribe, Community, or band, had its own culture, language, traditions, and political structures. Below are a collection of facts about Indian Country today (and a few about the past) which can serve as a background or basis of understanding about Indian people.


States American Indians are most likely to live in: Arizona, California, and Oklahoma.


Dakota Tribes in Minnesota.


Ojibwe Bands in Minnesota.


Number of states with more than 100,000 American Indian and Alaska Native residents (California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, New York, Washington, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, and Alaska. Combined, these states were home to 62 percent of the nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native residents.)


The percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives who live at the poverty level.


The percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives age 16 and over, work in management and professional occupations.


Percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives ages 5 and older who speak a language other than English at home.


Number of states with Indian Gaming.


Percent of the Indian lands in U.S. guaranteed protected by treaties which remains in Indian control.


Dakota warriors were hanged at Mankato, Minnesota, on December 26, 1862, in the largest mass hanging in U.S. history.


Percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives 30 and older who live with grandchildren and are responsible for their care, compared to 40% for the population as a whole.


The percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives who live in metropolitan areas; this is the lowest metropolitan percentage of any racial group.


Percentage of Americans who believe Indian Gaming is essential to self-reliance for Indian tribes.


The percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives age 25 and over have at least a high school diploma.


Indian boarding schools were used to foster the federal government’s policy of termination and assimilation by “Killing the Indian and saving the man.”


Tribes were terminated by the U.S. Government in the 1950s in a move to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream America.


Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms with 100 or more employees. They generated nearly $5.3 billion in gross receipts — 24 percent of the total revenue for American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned employer firms.


Members of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA).


Unrecognized or terminated Indian tribes and bands who continue to struggle to obtain Federal recognition.


Indian Tribes in the United States operate gaming facilities.


American Indian languages spoken (or formerly spoken in North American, north of Mexico).


Number of Indian Gaming facilities in the United States


Number of federally recognized Indian Tribes in the United States.


Number of members from throughout the United States in the National Congress of American Indians.


The average number of patients to each Indian Health Service doctor, compared to one for every 500 people for the United States as a whole.


Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms in the U.S. with receipts of $1 million or more.


Number of American Indians who identify as Sioux (Dakota, Lakota, or Nakota).


The number of American Indian and Alaska Native veterans of the U.S. armed forces.


Jobs in businesses and enterprises that support Indian Gaming across the country.

1.2 million

American Indian and Alaska Natives are under the age of 18, which comprises 27 percent of this racial group.

1.9 million

American Indians and Alaska Natives live on reservations or other trust lands.

4.9 million

The estimated current population of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the U.S., including those of more than one race, making up 1.6 percent of the total population. Compared to 110 million before the year 1492.

24.5 million

Visitors to Indian Gaming facilities in 2009

212 million

Amount tribes annually spend to regulate their gaming operations and pay for state and federal regulatory costs.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; Office of Minority Health (Health and Human Services Department); Indian Health Service; National Indian Gaming Association; National Congress of American Indians; Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.


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