Native Americans and First Nations


“Native Americans” is a phrase used to describe a diverse array of Indigenous peoples in North, Central, and South America. Additionally, “First Nations” is a term that refers to any of the many groups of Indigenous people of Canada, though it may also be used to refer to the Indigenous peoples of any country or continent. Though referring to Native people by their specific tribal name is preferred, the terms “Native American,” “First American,” “American Indian,” “Native,” and “Indigenous” are considered acceptable and are used interchangeably to describe Indigenous communities in what is now the continental United States. Generally, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiians are named explicitly. Because racial and ethnic identities are deeply personal and are constantly evolving, terminology is a matter of individual preference and should be treated as such. 


Native Americans have contributed to society in countless ways, including the invention of 21st century necessities like baby bottles and syringes, and military service in World War II. However, Native American people have also been consistently oppressed, exploited, and excluded since European colonization of the Americas began in 1492. In the time since colonization began, Native people have been subjected to biological warfare, forced sterilization, and genocide—among other atrocities—at the hands of white colonizers. Ideas central to the American zeitgeist, like “manifest destiny,” are rooted in the erasure of Indigenous people and culture. The belief that white, Christian people were entitled to all land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans resulted in as much as 99% of Native land being stolen. As a result, Indigenous people have been forcibly removed from their homes and relocated, either onto low-resource reservations or assimilated into cities. Ongoing trauma from historical and modern injustices have left many Indigenous people with poor mental health and substance dependency. Native people who are economically poor, disabled, and/or LGBTQ+/Two Spirit are even more likely to struggle to thrive due to the compounding marginalizations they experience. 


In recent years, the practice of forcibly separating Native children from their families and requiring them to attend residential schools has gained attention through discovery of mass graves at former residential school sites in Canada and the United States. Native children endured physical, psychological, and sexual abuse at such schools, where their culture and language were prohibited. Indigenous people have also been on the forefront of the environmental and climate justice movements, though they remain the most under-represented in the scientific and academic communities.


Achieving health equity and racial justice for Native Americans requires deeply uprooting racist systems that perpetuate their exploitation and abuse. Institutionalizing and operationalizing equity and justice throughout all leadership levels of all sectors will require organizations, allies, and systems to genuinely center and follow the leadership of people with lived experience. Community-led processes, self-representation, and centering the voices of Native people are a few effective tactics that communities can leverage to advance equity and well-being for Native Americans and First Nations. 


  

Resources & Tools


Screen capture of article cover photo: Achieving Racial and Ethnic Equity in U.S. Health Care: A Scorecard of State Performance
Achieving Racial and Ethnic Equity in U.S. Health Care: A Scorecard of State Performance
Resource - Report
Brought to you by The Commonwealth Fund
PDF Cover: Policy, Wellness, and Native American Survivorship
Policy, Wellness, and Native American Survivorship
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by AMA
PDF Cover page: The Persistence of American Indian Health Disparities
The Persistence of American Indian Health Disparities
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by APHA
Screen capture of article photo: Healthy Tribes
Healthy Tribes
Resource - Website/webpage
PDF Cover: Indigenous Apocalypse and Transgenerational Trauma
Indigenous Apocalypse and Transgenerational Trauma
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by AMA
Screen capture of cover photo: Native Language Immersion Initiative
Native Language Immersion Initiative
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen capture of the Native Health Database website
Native Health Database
Resource - Data Bank/repository
Brought to you by Native Health Database
PDF Cover Page: Indigenous Health Equity
Indigenous Health Equity
Resource - Report
PDF Cover: What Does it Mean to Heal From Historical Trauma?
What Does It Mean to Heal From Historical Trauma?
Resource - Case Study
Brought to you by AMA
Screen Capture of Decolonizing Evidence to Better Support Native Communities blog post
Decolonizing Evidence To Better Support Native Communities
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Screen capture of cover photo: What is the significance of acknowledging the Indigenous land we stand on?
Beyond Land Acknowledgement: A Guide
Resource - Guide/handbook
Screen capture of NCAI Policy Research Center: Data Disaggregation
NCAI Policy Research Center: Data Disaggregation
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by National Congress of American Indians
Screen capture of Decolonizing the Mind video
Decolonizing the Mind
Resource - Webinar
PDF Cover: Social Determinants of American Indian Nutritional Health
Social Determinants of American Indian Nutritional Health
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by OUP
Screen shot Urban Indian Organization Profiles: Explore Service Areas and Programs Promoting Urban Indian Health webpage
Urban Indian Organization Profiles
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen capture of Native Americans: A Crisis in Health Equity article
Native Americans: A Crisis in Health Equity
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by ABA
Screen capture of Building a Hopeful Future: The Restoration of Native American Life and Culture
Building a Hopeful Future: The Restoration of Native American Life and Culture
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by Native Hope
Shutterstock image Native American health: Indian Health Service: Fact Sheets
Indian Health Service: Fact Sheets
Resource - Data Bank/repository
Screen capture of The Indigenous Futures Storytelling Project
The Indigenous Futures Storytelling Project
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen capture of
Decolonizing Environmentalism
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by Yes! Magazine
PDF Cover: Health disparities in American Indians/Alaska Natives: Implications for nurse practitioners
Health Disparities in American Indians/Alaska Natives: Implications for Nurse Practitioners
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Wolters Kluwer
Screen grab of Racial Trauma
Racial Trauma
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by MHA
Screen capture of website photo: Minority Rights: Native Americans
Minority Rights: Native Americans
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen shot of article photo: Urban Indian HIV and AIDS
Urban Indian HIV and AIDS
Resource - Website/webpage
Sreen grab of Why Food Sovereignty Matters
Why Food Sovereignty Matters
Resource - Website/webpage
PDF Cover Page: Native Land Digital 2019 Teacher’s Guide
Native Land Digital 2019 Teacher’s Guide
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by Native Land Digital
Screen shot of top of paper: Firearm Deaths Grow, Disparities Widen: Comprehensive Strategies Can Prevent Violence and Help Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities
Firearm Deaths Grow, Disparities Widen
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by CDC
Screen shot of website description video: Alaska Native Knowledge Network
Alaska Native Knowledge Network
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen grab of Land Reparations & Indigenous Solidarity Toolkit
Land Reparations and Indigenous Solidarity Toolkit
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by RG
PDF Cover: Arts-Based Research Methods to Explore Cancer in Indigenous Communities
Arts-Based Research Methods to Explore Cancer in Indigenous Communities
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by AMA
Screen capture of cover photo: National Healthy Brain Initiative for Indian Country
National Healthy Brain Initiative for Indian Country
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by CDC
Screen capture of article cover photo: Decolonize Data
Decolonize Data
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by SSIR
Screen capture of article photo: Indigenous Stories and Sky Science
Indigenous Stories and Sky Science
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by Arizona State University
PDF Cover: Representation of Native Americans in US Science and Engineering Faculty
Representation of Native Americans in US Science and Engineering Faculty
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Springer
PDF Cover: Health conditions before Columbus: paleopathology of native North Americans
Health Conditions Before Columbus: Paleopathology of Native North Americans
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by BMJ
Screen capture of BIA area: Bureau of Indian Affairs: Maps and Data
Bureau of Indian Affairs: Maps and Data
Resource - Data Bank/repository
PDF Cover: The Medicine Wheel Revisited: Reflections on Indigenization in Counseling and Education
The Medicine Wheel Revisited: Reflections on Indigenization in Counseling and Education
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by SAGE Publications
First page of Indigenous Data Governance: Strategies from United States Native Nations article
Indigenous Data Governance: Strategies from United States Native Nations
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Ubiquity Press Limited
Screen capture of Native Data Sovereignty Can Address Data Gaps and Improve Equity blog post
Native Data Sovereignty Can Address Data Gaps and Improve Equity
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by Urban Institute
Published on 06/13/2022
Screen capture of website logo: Indigenous Environmental Network
Indigenous Environmental Network
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen shot of top of article: Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ Identities: Today and Centuries Ago
Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ Identities: Today and Centuries Ago
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Human Rights Campaign
Screen capture of article image: Native American Activism: 1960s to Present
Native American Activism: 1960s to Present
Resource - Website/webpage
Screen capture of first article page: The Generational Impact Of Racism On Health: Voices From American Indian Communities
The Generational Impact Of Racism On Health: Voices From American Indian Communities
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Health Affairs
Screen shot of article photo: Indigenous Evaluation
Indigenous Evaluation
Resource - Website/webpage
PDF Cover: A Transdisciplinary Approach is Essential to Community-Based Research With American Indian Populations
A Transdisciplinary Approach Is Essential to Community-Based Research With American Indian Populations
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by Colorado School of Public Health
PDF Cover: Racialization as a Barrier to Achieving Health Equity for Native Americans
Racialization as a Barrier to Achieving Health Equity for Native Americans
Resource - Journal Article
Brought to you by AMA
Screen Capture of Native Americans Feel Invisible In U.S. Health Care System article
Native Americans Feel Invisible In U.S. Health Care System
Resource - Blog
Brought to you by NPR
Screen shot of article table: Rural Tribe Health
Rural Tribal Health
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by RHI Hub
Screen capture of Dental Health is Worse in Communities of Color
Dental Health Is Worse in Communities of Color
Resource - Report
Brought to you by The Pew Charitable Trusts
Screen capture of Reclaiming Native Truth webpage
Reclaiming Native Truth
Resource - Website/webpage
Brought to you by Reclaiming Native Truth
Screen capture of Project 562 : Changing The Way We See Native America book landing page
Project 562 : Changing The Way We See Native America
Resource - Book
Brought to you by Project 562
Screen capture of Improving the Well-Being of Native Older Adults and Their Caregivers
Improving the Well-Being of Native Older Adults and Their Caregivers
Story - Written
Brought to you by CDC Foundation
Colored background pattern
Making Coast Salish Territorial Acknowledgments Matter
Story - Video
Brought to you by YouTube
Screen capture of Photographer's Decade-Long, 600,000 Mile Journey Shows Indigenous Life in New Book story
Photographer's Decade-Long, 600,000 Mile Journey Shows Indigenous Life in New Book
Story - Audio
Brought to you by NPR
Published on 04/26/2023
Screen capture of Voluntary Land Taxes webpage
Voluntary Land Taxes
Story - Written
Screen capture of article photo: Returning the Land
Returning the Land
Story - Written
Screen capture of Gather video
Gather
Story - Video
Brought to you by First Nations Development Insitute
Screen capture of Pandemic Highlights Deep-Rooted Problems in Indian Health Service article
Pandemic Highlights Deep-Rooted Problems in Indian Health Service
Story - Written
Brought to you by NYT
Published on 10/08/2021
Screen capture of YouTube cover: Territory Acknowledgement Panel Talk
Territory Acknowledgement Panel Talk
Story - Video
Brought to you by YouTube
Screen capture of Promoting Health Equity in Rural Communities story
Promoting Health Equity in Rural Communities
Story - Written
Brought to you by ChangeLab Solutions
Published on 12/13/2022
Screen capture of We See You: Why America Must Invest in Young Adults of Color
We See You: Why America Must Invest in Young Adults of Color
Story - Written
Brought to you by SSIR
Screen capture of Before Disaster Hits: Why Now Is the Time to Support Tribal Communities and Local Organizations article
Before Disaster Hits: Why Now Is the Time to Support Tribal Communities and Local Organizations
Story - Written
Brought to you by OILS
Published on 09/25/2023
Screen shot of article: First Nations
First Nations
Story - Written
Screen capture of My Tribal Area
My Tribal Area
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Staff Pick!
Cover of the Food Sovereignty Assessment Tool
First Nations Food Sovereignty Assessment Tool
Tool - Toolkit/toolbox
Published on 01/15/2008
Screen capture of tool cover: Tribal Land Covid-19 Data
Tribal Land COVID-19 Data
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Staff Pick!
Native Land
Native Land
Tool - Data/mapping Tool
Screen capture of Native American Labor Market Dashboard
Native American Labor Market Dashboard
Tool - Data/mapping Tool

Data & Metrics


Collage of images of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color with teal, olive green, golden yellow, and burnt orange transparent overlays. Bold white text on charcoal background at the top reads
BIPOC Health Equity Library
Library
Published on 09/27/2022
Photo of an Indigenous person holding a drum. Behind them is a scene of a lake and forested mountains.
Indigenous Knowledge Library
Library
Published on 08/04/2022

 Related Topics


Card image
Environmental Racism

Card image
Food Sovereignty

Card image
Trafficked People

Card image
Decolonization

Card image
Racial Justice

Card image
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Card image
Health Equity

Card image
Indigenous Knowledge

Card image
Cultural Humility and Competence

Card image
Reproductive Justice

Card image
Culturally Appropriate Foods