The number of Indigenous people in the United States of America is estimated at between 4 and 7 million,1 of which around 20% live in American Indian areas or Alaska Native villages. Indigenous Peoples in the United States are more commonly referred to as Native groups. The state with the largest Native population is California; the place with the largest Native population is New York City.
With some exceptions, official status of being American Indian or Alaska Native is conferred on members of federally-recognised tribes. Five hundred and seventy-four Native American tribal entities were recognised as American Indian or Alaska Native tribes by the United States in January 2021,2 and most of these have recognised national homelands. Federally recognised Native nations are inherently sovereign nations but their sovereignty is legally curbed by being unilaterally defined as wards of the federal government. The federal government mandates tribal consultation for many issues but has plenary authority over Indigenous nations. Many Native nations have specific treaty rights and the federal government has assumed responsibility for Native peoples through its guardianship, although those responsibilities are often underfunded.
Ka Pae Aina (the Hawai’ian Archipelago) is made up of 137 islands, reefs and ledges stretching 2,451 kilometres southeast / northwest in the Pacific Ocean and covering a total of 16,640 square kilometres. The Kanaka Maoli, the Indigenous Peoples of Ka Pae Aina or Hawai’i, make up around 20% of the total population of 1.2 million. In 1893, the Government of Hawai’i, led by Queen Lili’uokalani, was illegally overthrown and a provisional government established without the consent of the Kanaka Maoli and in violation of international treaties and law. It was officially annexed by the United States and became the Territory of Hawaii in 1898. Hawaii acquired statehood in 1959 and became a part of the United States of America. The Kanaka Maoli continue to fight for self-determination and self-government and continue to suffer from past injustices and ongoing violations of their rights. Some members are involved in the Hawai’ian sovereignty movement, which considers the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1893 illegal, along with the subsequent annexation of Hawai’i by the United States. Among other things, the movement seeks free association with and/or independence from the United States.
The number of Indigenous people in the United States of America is estimated at between 2.5 and 6 million,1 of which around 20% live in American Indian areas or Alaska Native villages. Indigenous Peoples in the United States are more commonly referred to as Native groups. The state with the largest Native population is California; the place with the largest Native population is New York City. While socio-economic indicators vary widely across different regions, the poverty rate for those who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native is around 27%.