Mar 4, 2014

Who Are North America’s Indigenous Peoples?

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Depending on where you are, you will receive varying politically correct responses. In the lower 48 states the acceptable term is Native American, and refers to 565 federally recognized tribal groups in addition to other state-recognized and non-recognized tribal groups.

 

In Alaska, the accepted term is Alaska Native people, which is inclusive of 11 distinct cultures speaking 20 different languages and living in more than 200 different villages. These distinct  Alaska Native people groups are inclusive of the Athabascan of interior and south central Alaska, the Yup’ik and Cup’ik Eskimo of southwest Alaska, the Inupiaq and St. Lawrence Island Yupik of northwest to northern Alaska,  the Aleut and Alutiiq from Prince William Sound to the end of the Aleutian Island chain, and the Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian of southeast Alaska. Today’s indigenous Alaska Natives live in cities, towns, and villages which are separated by vast distances. Though each group is distinct, they share common goals and values.

In Canada, the accepted term is First Nations people, and refers to about 80 distinct tribal groupings spread across all of the provinces and territories of Canada.

 In the United States Census, these tribal groupings are referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN). In Canada, the government refers to these tribal groupings as First Nations. The Native American population in the last 20 years grew from 1,478,523 in 1980 to 1,937,391 in 1990 to 2,475,956 in 2000. That is a growth of 997,433, or 67%, over the last 20 years. The 2000 census furthermore indicates that an additional 1,643,345 people indicated Native American origin in combination with one or more other races. That brings the total Native American population in the United States to 4,119,301.

The last census taken in Canada was in 2006. At that time, the Canadian government reported that there were 1,172,790 people of Aboriginal origin. This included 390,000 Metis (people of North American Indian origin mixed with one or more other races), 700,000 North American Indians, and 50,00 Inuit.  When added to the total Native American population in the United States, the combined total is 5,292,091.

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  1. Thomas Kutluk says:

    When refering to Inuit, we do not use the letter “s” at the end. Inuk is singular; Inuit is plural. In our Canadian Constitution, Inuit are identified as a distinct peoples apart from “First Nations” and “Metis”. Literally these three racial groups are recognized as First Nations (Cree Indian and of others close to them), Inuit (no longer called “Eskimo”), and Metis.

    • CHIEF Inc. says:

      Thomas,
      Thank you for your correction. We will make that correction on our site. Praying for you and the Inuit of Canada!
      CHIEF Inc.

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