Native American

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While there remains controversy over the preferred term, Native American is a frequently used term for U.S. citizens who trace their ancestry to include the pre-Columbian population of North America. This is primarily a U.S. term; Canada tends to use First Nations. "American Indian" is, in practice, a synonym, but disliked by many.

Some scholars estimate the total population of North and South America at 100 million people, prior to European intervention, and that this population had dropped to 4-4.5 million, by the turn of the 20th Century, with only 237,000 living in the USA.[1]

Political roles

After the American Civil War, there were various bureaus concerned with "Indian Affairs", which eventually centralized in the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Other than an occasional legislature with Native American heritage, there was no particular Congressional interest, other than in the oversight committee concerned with the relevant Interior functions. There is a new Congressional Native American Caucus, co-chaired by Dale Kildee (D-Michigan) and Tom Cole (U.S. Republican Party|R-]]Oklahoma).

In the Obama Administration, [2] Kimberley Teehee, an attorney and formerly a staff member for Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Michigan), has been named to the White House Domestic Policy Council. Kildee, co-chair of the Native American Caucus, calls her "a thoughtful, dedicated and passionate advocate for our Native American population."


  1. David Michael Smith. Counting the Dead: Estimating the Loss of Life in the Indigenous Holocaust, 1492-Present, Native American Symposium: Representations and Realities, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, p. 7. Retrieved on 2023-10-15. “At the turn of the twentieth century, the total number of Native inhabitants living in the entire Western Hemisphere had declined to 4-4.5 million.”
  2. "President names adviser for Native American affairs", USA Today, 15 June 2009