English Across the Curriculum

Native Americans

Native Americans Today

About 5 million Native Americans live in the USA today, or 1.6% of the total population. The biggest tribes are the Cherokee, Chippewa, Navajo and Sioux. About a fifth of of all Native Americans in the US live on reservations. The rest live in cities or towns.

Indian culture is still preserved on reservations. Here, they practice old traditions. However, they are worried that their traditions will disappear because more and more of them are being integrated into society.

Today, Native Americans are better off than they were at the beginning of the 20th century. They get better education; many go to high school and college. Many Native Americans work as lawyers, doctors or have other important jobs, like working for government companies.

Some tribes get money from tourism or selling handicrafts. In 1988 the government allowed casinos and other gambling operations on reservations. Other tribes earn money from taxes on oil or gas that is produced on their land.

Even though life has improved , Native Americans still face many problems in today's America. Unemployment on reservations is about 50%. The income of an Indian family is much lower than that of a white family. Most Native Americans are badly paid and are unskilled workers. Suicide rates are also higher than in other places. Some of them try to reduce their problems by drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

Native American population

Population of Native Americans in % of the overall population

Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Indigenous_Americans_by_county.png

Casino operated by a Native American tribe in Connecticut

Image:Elfenbeinturm, CC BY-SA 3.0,
via Wikimedia Commons