Native American

Native Americans, also referred to as Indian Americans, are the original settlers of the United States. There are 566 federally recognized Indian nations with almost a third of them located in Alaska. This includes over 4.1 million American Indians or Alaskan Natives with each tribe distinct in ethnicity, language, and culture. Andrews University has had only a small population of Native American students over the past five years, from 14 – 10 students each year.

Native American groups have inhabited the territory of New Mexico for thousands of years, many centuries before Europeans reached the Americas. Reminders of their ancient presence are throughout the state: cliff dwellings and pit houses, kivas (underground ceremonial chambers), abandoned cities along ancient trade routes, and symbols etched in rock. New Mexico is home to 22 tribes, which includes the Navajo Nation, Jicarilla Apache, Mescalero Apache, and 19 pueblos.

The Navajo Nation is the largest American Indian tribe in North America and their reservation is located in northwest New Mexico, northern Arizona and southeast Utah. The Jicarilla Apaches live in northern New Mexico and the Mescalero Apaches reside in southern New Mexico. A majority of the 19 pueblos are located in northern New Mexico. Each tribe is unique and they have their own traditional language, customs, values, prayers, songs, ceremonies, traditional attire, and way of life.

Click here for a brief history of Native Americans in the United States.

Legal Issues
Unfortunately, Native Americans have been subject to a vast array of both legal and physical maltreatment via the U.S. government. Through determination, a growing understanding of various cultures, and an insistence on being recognized and supported, Native Americans have firmly established themselves as a legitimate ethnic/racial category and one that should be respected and treated like any other.

Native American Rights Fund - Provides legal representation for Native Americans nationwide.

Tribal Court Clearing House- Lists and links to tribal police departments nationwide.

Department of Justice - Initiatives to enhance public safety.

Office of Justice Services- Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Native American Disability Law Center - Advocates for legal rights of those with disabilities (specifically Native Americans)

National Indian Education Association - Advances comprehensive educational opportunities through advocacy, research, and capacity-building.

National Council of American Indians - Seeks to represent Native Americans on a national level and serves as a resource.

US Department of the Interior Indian Affairs - Administers educational programs, social services, natural resources management, economic development, law enforcement and detention services, housing improvement and more.

Office of Native American Affairs- Provides access for small businesses to tools such as entrepreneurial development, lending and procurement programs.

Tribal Energy Program - Funding opportunities and grants for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on tribal lands.

Indian Community Development Block Grant Program - Provides federal aid to develop viable communities by improving housing stock, providing community facilities, making infrastructure improvements, funding microenterprises, and expanding job opportunities.

National Indian Health Board- Represents tribal governments and focusing attention on health care needs.

National Council of Urban Indian Health - Also monitors federal law in regards to health care.

American Indian Health Information - Portal to issues regarding health care.

Tribal Health Care - Information for both consumers and community representatives on issues affecting health care.

Content provided in part by Maria Lombart, Dr. Erich Baumgartner’s Fall 2013 Diversity, Leadership & Culture class (LEAD 689/789).


Additional Resources:

Scholarship Guide for Native American Students:   Information on National and Regional Scholarships available to Native students throughout the U.S.