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What's An Indian?

There are three ways to approach the definition of "Indian":
1) Statutory Definition
2) Person's Membership in Tribe
3) Racial designation on Census

The statutory definition of "Indian"(From the Indian Reorganization Act in title 25 of the United States Code.)
The term "Indian" as used in sections 461, 462, 463, 464, 465, 466, to 470, 471 to 473, 475, 476 to 478 and 479 of this title shall include all persons of Indian descent who are members of any recognized Indian tribe now under Federal jurisdiction and all persons who are descendants of such members who were, on June 1, 1934, residing within the present boundaries of any Indian reservation, and shall further include all other persons of one-half or more Indian blood. For the purposes of said sections, Eskimos and other aboriginal peoples of Alaska shall be considered Indians. The term "tribe" wherever used in said sections shall be construed to refer to any Indian tribe, organized band, pueblos, or the Indians residing on one reservation. The words "adult Indians" wherever used in said sections shall be construed to refer to Indians who have attained the age of twenty-one years.

What is the difference between the terms the difference between the terms Indian, Native American, Alaska Native?
There are also "Indians" in Alaska known as the Tlingit, Haida, and Athabascans. There are also two other distinctive ethnic designations, the Aleuts and the Eskimos of Alaska. In the 1970's it became common to use the more inclusive term, "Native American." It was a term embraced by the Alaska Natives and urban Indians. Most of the tribes of the lower 48 prefer the term "Indian." The term is often used to refer to all Native Americans.

Kirke Kickingbird, Working with Indian Tribes
©1995

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