Campus Units

World Languages and Cultures

Document Type


Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

The Indigenous World

First Page


Last Page



Approximately 6.6 million people in the U.S., or 2% of the total population, identify as Native American or Alaska Native, either alone or in combination with another ethnic identity. Around 2.5 million, or 0.8% of the population, identify as American Indian or Alaska Native alone. 567 tribal entities were federally recognized in May 2016, and most of these have recognized national homelands. 23% of the Native population lives in American Indian areas or Alaska Native villages. The state with the largest Native population is California; the place with the largest Native population is New York City. While socioeconomic indicators vary widely across different regions, the poverty rate for those who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native alone is around 27%. The United States announced in 2010 that it would support the UNDRIP as moral guidance after voting against it in 2007. The United States has not ratified ILO Convention No. 169. Recognized Native nations are sovereign but wards of the state. The federal government mandates tribal consultation but has plenary power over indigenous nations. American Indians in the United States are generally American citizens.


This article is published as Braun, S. "United States of America” in The Indigenous World 2017. Edited by Katrine Broch Hansen, Käthe Jepsen, and Pamela Leiva Jacquelin. pp.103-114. Copenhagen: IWGIA / Edison, NJ: Transaction Publishers. Posted with permission.


A Spanish version is posted below

Copyright Owner

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs



File Format