As a child I remember reading a chapter in an American Indian book called the “Vanishing Americans” and I always wondered what that meant. In 1982 there was a book of the same name. Since my home state is Kansas, I also remember reading this in the Chicago Tribune: “The last pure-blooded member of the Kaw Nation, the tribe that gave the state of Kansas its name, has died at 82.” His name was William A. Mehojah.
So I thought I would use Visual Intelligence to look at some U.S. Census data myself. Note that I am only looking at the numbers where individuals said on the US Census form that American Indian/Alaskan Native was their only race (not mixed race).
First, it seems the data is in various places on the U.S. Census site, so my research is by no means scientific and simply looking at overall data provided.
So from 1960 to 2000, the actual population of Native Americans (aka American Indians) seems to have increased, but dropped from 2000 to 2010. Why? This article from the Navajo Times explains that there have been increases in those reporting mixed race (such as myself). This article from the Huffington Post talks about increases in population.
Also, I used the 1990 census data (the only one I could find via a spreadsheet) and used it to visualize 1990 populuation of Native Americans by state:
Source of data: US Census 1990
You can’t really tell by the “circle” that the state of Oklahoma had the largest population of Native American population in the US until you show the data in another way in Visual Intelligence:
Source of data: US Census
Why did Oklahoma (which means “Red Man” in Choctaw) have the largest population of Native Americans? Read about a very dark period of US history called the Trail Of Tears which discusses the forced removal of Indians in the 1830s to Oklahoma.
The US Census has nice maps via PDF of tribes and where they reside in the US.
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