Controversies remain over how much the federal government has jurisdiction over tribal affairs, sovereignty, and cultural practices. Mid-century, the Indian termination policy and the Indian Relocation Act of marked a new direction for assimilating Native Americans into urban life. The census counted , Indians in and , in , including those on and off reservations in the 48 states. Some 44, Native Americans served in the United States military during World War II : at the time, one-third of all able-bodied Indian men from eighteen to fifty years of age.
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Their fellow soldiers often held them in high esteem, in part since the legend of the tough Native American warrior had become a part of the fabric of American historical legend. White servicemen sometimes showed a lighthearted respect toward Native American comrades by calling them "chief". The resulting increase in contact with the world outside of the reservation system brought profound changes to Native American culture. Indian Commissioner in , "caused the greatest disruption of Native life since the beginning of the reservation era", affecting the habits, views, and economic well-being of tribal members.
There were also losses as a result of the war. In addition, many more Navajo served as code talkers for the military in the Pacific.
The code they made, although cryptologically very simple, was never cracked by the Japanese. Military service and urban residency contributed to the rise of American Indian activism, particularly after the s and the occupation of Alcatraz Island — by a student Indian group from San Francisco. In the same period, the American Indian Movement AIM was founded in Minneapolis , and chapters were established throughout the country, where American Indians combined spiritual and political activism.
Political protests gained national media attention and the sympathy of the American public.
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Through the mids, conflicts between governments and Native Americans occasionally erupted into violence. Upset with tribal government and the failures of the federal government to enforce treaty rights, about Oglala Lakota and AIM activists took control of Wounded Knee on February 27, Indian activists from around the country joined them at Pine Ridge, and the occupation became a symbol of rising American Indian identity and power. Federal law enforcement officials and the national guard cordoned off the town, and the two sides had a standoff for 71 days. During much gunfire, one United States Marshal was wounded and paralyzed.
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In late April, a Cherokee and local Lakota man were killed by gunfire; the Lakota elders ended the occupation to ensure no more lives were lost. In June , two FBI agents seeking to make an armed robbery arrest at Pine Ridge Reservation were wounded in a firefight, and killed at close range.
In , the government enacted the Indian Civil Rights Act. This gave tribal members most of the protections against abuses by tribal governments that the Bill of Rights accords to all U.
It resulted from American Indian activism, the Civil Rights Movement, and community development aspects of President Lyndon Johnson 's social programs of the s. The Act recognized the right and need of Native Americans for self-determination. It marked the U. The U. Tribes have developed organizations to administer their own social, welfare and housing programs, for instance. Tribal self-determination has created tension with respect to the federal government's historic trust obligation to care for Indians; however, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has never lived up to that responsibility.
Tensions immediately arose between two philosophies: one that the tribal colleges should have the same criteria, curriculum and procedures for educational quality as mainstream colleges, the other that the faculty and curriculum should be closely adapted to the particular historical culture of the tribe. There was a great deal of turnover, exacerbated by very tight budgets. Congress passed legislation recognizing the tribal colleges as land-grant colleges , which provided opportunities for large-scale funding.
By the early 21st century, tribal nations had also established numerous language revival programs in their schools. In addition, Native American activism has led major universities across the country to establish Native American studies programs and departments, increasing awareness of the strengths of Indian cultures, providing opportunities for academics, and deepening research on history and cultures in the United States. Native Americans have entered academia; journalism and media; politics at local, state and federal levels; and public service, for instance, influencing medical research and policy to identify issues related to American Indians.
United States Native Americans
It stated that the U. In , jurisdiction over persons who were not tribal members under the Violence Against Women Act was extended to Indian Country. This closed a gap which prevented arrest or prosecution by tribal police or courts of abusive partners of tribal members who were not native or from another tribe.
Many lived in poverty. Racism, unemployment, drugs and gangs were common problems which Indian social service organizations such as the Little Earth housing complex in Minneapolis attempted to address. The Census showed that the U. In addition, 2. Together, these two groups totaled 5. Thus, 1.
According to Office of Management and Budget, "American Indian or Alaska Native" refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America including Central America and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment. The census permitted respondents to self-identify as being of one or more races. Self-identification dates from the census of ; prior to that the race of the respondent was determined by opinion of the census taker.
The option to select more than one race was introduced in The census counted , Native Americans in , , in and , in , including those on and off reservations in the 48 states. Full-blood individuals are more likely to live on a reservation than mixed-blood individuals. The Navajo , with , full-blood individuals, is the largest tribe if only full-blood individuals are counted; the Navajo are the tribe with the highest proportion of full-blood individuals, The Cherokee have a different history; it is the largest tribe with , individuals, and it has , full-blood individuals.
Many live in poverty. Racism, unemployment, drugs and gangs are common problems which Indian social service organizations such as the Little Earth housing complex in Minneapolis attempt to address. According to United States Census Bureau estimates, a little over one third of the 2,, Native Americans in the United States live in three states: California at ,, Arizona at , and Oklahoma at , Census Bureau estimated that about 0.
This population is unevenly distributed across the country. Census Bureau estimated that about less than 1. This population is unevenly distributed across twenty-six states. They are listed by the proportion of residents citing Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander ancestry, based on estimates:. Below are numbers for U. There are federally recognized tribal governments  in the United States.
These tribes possess the right to form their own governments, to enforce laws both civil and criminal within their lands, to tax, to establish requirements for membership, to license and regulate activities, to zone, and to exclude persons from tribal territories. Limitations on tribal powers of self-government include the same limitations applicable to states; for example, neither tribes nor states have the power to make war, engage in foreign relations, or coin money this includes paper currency.
Native Americans in the United States
In , eight of ten Americans with Native American ancestry were of mixed ancestry. It is estimated that by that figure will rise to nine out of ten. In addition, there are a number of tribes that are recognized by individual states , but not by the federal government. The rights and benefits associated with state recognition vary from state to state. Some tribal groups have been unable to document the cultural continuity required for federal recognition.
The Muwekma Ohlone of the San Francisco bay area are pursuing litigation in the federal court system to establish recognition.
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Several tribes in Virginia and North Carolina have gained state recognition. Federal recognition confers some benefits, including the right to label arts and crafts as Native American and permission to apply for grants that are specifically reserved for Native Americans. But gaining federal recognition as a tribe is extremely difficult; to be established as a tribal group, members have to submit extensive genealogical proof of tribal descent and continuity of the tribe as a culture. In July , the Washington State Republican Party adopted a resolution recommending that the federal and legislative branches of the U.
House of Representatives to "terminate" the Cherokee Nation. As of , various Native Americans are wary of attempts by others to gain control of their reservation lands for natural resources, such as coal and uranium in the West. In the state of Virginia , Native Americans face a unique problem. Until Virginia previously had no federally recognized tribes but the state had recognized eight.
This is related historically to the greater impact of disease and warfare on the Virginia Indian populations, as well as their intermarriage with Europeans and Africans. Some people confused the ancestry with culture, but groups of Virginia Indians maintained their cultural continuity.