Indian Country

Child Trauma Center



What Indian Country looks like:

Indian Country is used in a general sense to describe the location of reservations, allotment,trust land and tribal dependent Indian communities and Alaska Native villages. It is also a legal term that the federal govenment uses to deliniate jurisdiction and obligations.

  • American Indians made up 2.0% of the total population of the United States in 2015. (Vintage 2015 Population Estimates,

  • The median age for those who were American Indian and Alaska Native, alone or in combination, in 2015 was 30.2%. (Vintage 2015 Population Estimates,

  • There are 326 federally recognized American Indian reservations in 2016, including federal reservations and off-reservation trust land. (Census Bureau Geography Division)

  • There were 567 federally recognized Indian tribes in 2016. (Bureau of Indian Affairs, 2016).

  • In 2015, there were 1,792,840 American Indian and Alaska Native households (households with a householder who was American Indian and Alaska Native alone or in combination with another race.) Of these, 38.1 percent were married-couple families, including those with children. (2015 American Community Survey).

  • 5.7 percent of American Indians and Alaska Native , alone or in combination with other races, age 30 and over, who were grandparents living with at least one of their grandchildren in 2015. (2015 American Community Survey).

  • 53.1 percent of single race American Indian and Alaska Native householders owned their own home in 2015. (2015 American Community Survey).

  • 27.1 percent of singel race American Indian and Alaska Natives age 5 and older spoke a language other than English in their home in 2015, as compared with 21.5 percent for the nation as a whole. (2015 American Community Survey).

  • 82.7 percent of the American Indian and Alaska Native population, alone or in combination, age 25 and older had at least a high school diploma, GED certficate or alternative credential in 2014. In addition, 19.1 percent obtained a bachelor's degree or higher. In comparison, 87.1 percent of the overall population age 25 and older had a high school diploma or higher, and 30.6 percent had a bachelor's degree or higher. (2015 American Community Survey).

  • The median household income of single-race American Indian and Alaska Native households in 2015 was $38,530. This compares with $55,775 for the nation as a whole. (2015 American Community Survey).

  • 26.6 percent of single race American Indian and Alaska Natives were in poverty in 2015, the highest rate of any group. For the nation as a whole, the poverty rate was 14.7 percent. (2015 American Community Survey).

  • 20.7 percent of single race American Indian and Alaska Natives lacked health insurance coverage in 2015. For the nation as a whole, the corresponding percentage was 9.4 percent. (2015 American Community Survey).

What is an Indian?

No single federal or tribal criterion establishes a person's identity as an Indian. Tribal membership is determined by the enrollment criteria of the tribe from which Indian blood may be derived, and this varies with each tribe. Generally, if linkage to an identified tribal member is far removed, one would not qualify for membership.

To be eligible for Bureau of Indian Affairs services, an Indian must:

(1) be a member of a tribe recognized by the federal government,
(2) be of one-half or more Indian blood of tribes indigenous to the United States; or
(3) must, for some purposes, be of one-fourth or more Indian ancestry.

By legislative and administrative decision, the Aleuts, Eskimos and Indians of Alaska are eligible for BIA services. Most of the BIA's services and programs, however, are limited to Indians living on or near Indian reservations.


Domestic Violence 

  • AI/AN women report more domestic violence than men or women from any other race (CDC 2004).
  • One study found AI/AN women were twice as likely to be abused (physically or sexually) by a partner than the average woman (CDC 2004).
  • Risk is greater for AI women who live in very poor socioeconomic conditions.


Child Abuse and Neglect

  • AI/AN children make up 1.2% of the AI/AN child population.

  • AI/AN children make up 2.5% of all confirmed maltreatment cases nationally (highest incidence ratio of any racial group on available data nationwide- DHHS, 1999).
  • Neglect endangers AI/AN children 4 times more often than physical abuse and results in numerous child fatalities (NICWA, 1999).
  • There is one substantiated report of child victim of abuse or neglect for every 30 AI/AN children age 14 or younger. (Department of Justice, 1999).
  • The national rate is 12.3/1000 (NCCAN, 2002).
  • Reports of neglect appear to be higher for AI/AN children than for White children.
  • Violence is more likely to be reported among AI/AN families, both as an element of abuse and/or neglect and in general.
  • Alcohol abuse, related to child abuse and neglect and in general, is more likely to be reported for AI/AN families.
  • There has been a reported increase in overall cases of child abuse and/or neglect for AI/AN children.
  • AI/AN children appear to be more likely than White children to be placed in foster care.
  • AI/AN children currently appear less likely to be adopted compared to White children. This positive finding, reported by CWLA (1999), may be due to the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA).
  • Analysis of the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) data found
    higher rates of public assistance among AI/AN families compared to Whites.
  • There appear, from the analysis of NCANDS data, to be significantly lower rates of sexual and physical abuse among non-Hispanic AI/AN children than among non-Hispanic White children.

    Violent Crime

  • Among juveniles, Native Americans suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at a rate of 22 percent - roughly the same PTSD rates as returning military personnel from Afghanistan and Iraq. (Indian Law & Order Commission, 2013).
  • The average vilent crime rate amon all Native American age 12 and older is 2.5 times the U.S. average. (U.S. Dept of Justice, 2012).
  • Native American and Alaska Native youth experience reported violent crime rates up to 10 times the national average. (Indian Law & Order Commission, 2013).
  • Native American women are 10 times as likely to be murdered than other U.S. citizens and sexually assaulted at 4 times the national average. (U.S. Dept of Justice, 2012).
  • Violent crime rates result in an average life expectancy of less than 50 years for Native American men on some Indian reservations. (Indian Law & Order Commission, 2013).
  • More than half of all Native women who have experienceed abuse say they have also endured sexual assault, and another 48 percent have been stalked. (NIJ Journal, Issue No. 277, Sept, 2016)..


Leads nation in deaths caused by:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities
  • chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
  • diabetes (infections/amputations/health complications)
  • fetal abnormalities
  • Homicide