Demographics on American Indians & Alaska Natives
Facts and Demographic Information About American Indian Tribes:
Who Is An Indian?
- There is no single federal or tribal criterion that establishes Indian identity.
- Tribal Membership is determined by the enrollment criteria of the tribe/nation.
- Generally, if linkage to an identified tribal member is far removed, one would not qualify for enrollment.
- Tribes/nations determine their own membership criteria.
- Blood quantum needed varies from tribe Nation to Nation. Some tribes only require proof of descent from an Indian ancestor while others require as much as one-half blood quantum.
- To be eligible for Bureau of Indian Affairs Services, an Indian must be 1) a member of a federally recognized tribe; 2) be of ½ or more Indian Blood of tribes indigenous to the United States; or 3) must be of ¼ or more Indian ancestry.
Tribal Names: There are many terms used including:
- American Indian
- First Nations (Canadian)
- Native Americans
- American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN)
- However, most Indians prefer their tribal name. For example, a Navajo person would prefer to be called Diné, which is the name of the tribe in the Navajo language.