Facts and Features: American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month: November 2019

The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, rode horseback from state to state to get endorsements from 24 state governments to have a day to honor American Indians. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued every year since 1994, and we now refer to this celebration as “American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.” This Facts for Features presents statistics for American Indians and Alaska Natives, as this is one of the six major race categories defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

The following facts are made possible by the invaluable responses to the U.S. Census Bureau’s surveys. We appreciate the public’s cooperation as we continuously measure America’s people, places and economy.

Did You Know?

6.9 million

The nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native population, including those of more than one race.
Source: Vintage 2017 Population Estimates

10.1 million

The projected American Indian and Alaska Native population, including those of more than one race, on July 1, 2060. They would constitute 2.5 percent of the total population.
Source: 2017 National Population Projections, Tables 4 and 5


The estimated number of single-race American Indian and Alaska Native civilian veterans of the U.S. armed forces in 2017.
Source: 2017 American Community Survey


The number of distinct federally recognized American Indian reservations in 2016, including federal reservations and off-reservation trust land.
Source: 2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files


The number of federally recognized Indian tribes in 2018. Source: Bureau of Indian Affairs, 2018


The estimated number of American Indian and Alaska Native-owned employer firms in 2016. Source: 2016 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs