American Indians and Alaska Natives

American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) are persons descended from the original inhabitants of North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean. Those who occupy what is now the State of Alaska are referred to as Alaska Natives. The colonization experience of Alaska Natives is originally seeded in Russian occupation, but their experience mirrors that of the tribes in the lower 48 states. As a group, tribal peoples of the Continental United States are referred to herein as First Nations persons. In the United States, there are more than 560 federally recognized nations and an untold number of non–federally recognized groups. These First Nations are culturally distinct and include populations speaking more than 300 discrete languages. The 2000 U.S. Census Bureau reported First Nations

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