By the Numbers: Native American Heritage Month

In recognition of Native American Heritage Month (also known as National American Indian Heritage Month), we look at the history of the celebration and some details about the population it celebrates.


Number of fully accredited tribal colleges and universities in the U.S., according to the Department of Education.


The number of distinct federally recognized American Indian reservations.


Number of federally recognized tribes in 2018, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


The year of the first American Indian Day celebration, after Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfoot nation, rode horseback from state to state to gain endorsements for a day to honor American Indians. He received 24 state endorsements.


The year the council of the Colorado River Indian Tribes in Arizona created the first tribal library known to exist.


The year the American Indian Library Association was founded.


The year that President George H. W. Bush, at the request of Congress, issued a proclamation designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month.


The year the Native American Heritage Day Act was signed, designating the Friday after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day.


The estimated number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses (2016 number).


The estimated number of American Indian and Alaska Native civilian veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2017.

6.8 million

Number of people who identify as American Indian and Alaska Native, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

10 million

The projected American Indian and Alaska Native population in 2060, amounting to 2.5 percent of the total population.

Source:  American Libraries magazine, U.S. Census Bureau

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