Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions about Native American Indians
Are there still Native Americans around today? Are there any in Chicago?
Yes. There are over 5,220,579 Native American / Alaskan Natives, comprising 1.7% of the total U.S. population. Chicago has a population of 26,933 Native American / Alaskan Natives, making us the 7th largest city in the nation with a Native American population. The number one city is 111,749 in New York, NY. This data is from the 2010 U.S. census and does not include First Nations which are indigenous people from Canada.
How many tribes are representated today?
There are 566 federally recognized tribes in the United States. A federally recognized tribe means the tribe has a government to government relationship with the U.S. and is considered to be a sovereign nation.
What exactly is a ‘Reservation’ and do all Native Americans live on them?
A reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are 324 federally recognized American Indian reservations. Yes, people still live on the reservations today but many Native American people live all throughout the United States in different towns and urban cities as well.
Do all Native Americans live in teepees?
No. “Native Americans are diverse, and each groups’ practices have changed over time, but that does not diminish their authenticity. Today at sun dances, powwows, and other events, members of some Plains tribes set up teepees. The Iroquois use a longhouse for ceremonial functions many tribes in the great lakes use wigwams for ceremonies. In parts of the Southwest hogans and pueblos are used for both ceremonial and everyday shelter.” (This excerpt is from the book “Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask” by Anton Treuer)
Do all Native American Students get to go to college for free?
No. This is a very common myth, some tribes do offer scholarship programs; however there are guidelines students must meet such as a good GPA, essays, etc, as well as meeting certain blood quantum qualifications. Blood quantum restrictions means you must be recognized in your tribe as having a minimum percentage of that tribal ancestry.
Resources for teachers:
- Useful Slides for Teachers
- Resourceful Native American Themed Books
- Top recommended American Indian Websites
- More commonly asked questions!
The American Indian Family Resource Center has added more titles to its resource collections! Click on any of the links below to view our inventory:
Teachers:The Title VII program is committed to providing resources and alternate reading materials for American Indian Studies in the classroom. Contact our staff for more information.