Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Native Peoples of the United States
Currently, the United States has 562 federally recognized Native American communities and more than 270 reservations. Reservations range in size from the largest, inhabited by the Navajos in New Mexico and containing approximately 16 million acres, to fewer than 10 acres, as is the case for various Native communities in states across the United States. Populations today are beginning to equal those that existed at the time of contact. Most demographers assume that the United States supported 5 to 8 million people prior to the spread of newly introduced diseases. Diseases such as smallpox, measles, influenza, bubonic plague, diphtheria, cholera, and typhoid spread with the advance of contact. Some of these diseases occurred in waves and frequently disrupted subsistence cycles, the transmission of knowledge between generations, and the ability of communities to remain viable polities. In some cases, epidemics eliminated entire communities, and in others, it resulted in the death ...