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Census Bureau update says 2.4 million Indians



Part of the recent 10% growth per year of Native Americans in the United States, my two little ones. Their tribe? The Nava-Sioux-Mohawkian-Seneca-Tuscarora-Cayuga one.

At Indianz.com the article Census Bureau update provides look at Indian Country caught my eye. It says there are 2.4 million Indian people counted. 4.2 million if you count mixed-race Native Americans, although, why are we (I am 13/16th's American Indian) counted separately? Or are you only counted separately if you mark two boxes? Being 3/16th's European ancestry means I generally don't do that, but what the heck? It says that the four largest tribal affiliations named were: Cherokee (310,000), Navajo (294,000), and Sioux (120,000), and Ojibwe (115,00). I had no idea there were so many Ojibwe. I know a lot of Navajos get mad that they have lost their place as "the largest tribe" to the recent increase in Cherokee Nation enrollments. Many Americans have been tracing their lineage and taking greater pride in their Indian ancestry (it's no longer the skeleton in the closet). Consequently, enrollment in most of the Five Civilized Tribes does not require blood quantums which is enlightened for this day and age we live in. I think all tribes should do that. We're not prized poodles now are we? We're people. We mix. Although, Navajos still have far and away the most tribal members who speak their own language (nearly half of all Native language speakers are Navajo) as a first language. But let's hope someday we can all have that again. Even me. My Navajo is a source of constant humor to my relatives.

Navajo numbers may also be diminished by Navajo unwillingness to be counted. My friend Rob Nez, who worked as a Census worker on the rez was greeted by a shotgun when he tried to count some homes out in the middle of nowhere. So, he just guessed how many people were there. But still, being Navajo and Sioux, I have to say that's a lot of relatives! Perhaps, not as many as my husband's Kelly clan from County Claire, Ireland, but close! The Kelly's, now that's one big tribe!
Jacqueline Keeler
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2 comments:

Insouciance said...

These are interesting statistics about the populations. I wonder if you know or could post any population statistics for the time before the europeans came and since.

Since the US population has exploded how has the Indian population (or shrunk) over the years.

Jacqueline Keeler said...

The pre-contact figures vary. I have heard everything from 9 million to 30 million. For the Navajo tribe specifically, I remember reading that in the 1930's the population was at about 33,000. The number of Navajo who set off on the Long Walk or Hweldi (when the Navajo's were force marched across New Mexico to be held captive for several years at a concentration camp) were about 8,000. The number that returned about half that. So we have here late 19th century about 4-6 thousand Navajos. By the 1930's about 33,000. And today, almost 300,000.

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