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The injustices that Native peoples face today are varied. Some, including poverty, lack of access to quality health care and education, and violence against women, affect many others in the United States, but are exacerbated in Native communities because of jurisdictional issues and historic marginalization. Other justice issues are unique to the lived experience of Native peoples.
Over 4.1 million people in the United States identify as American Indian and/or Alaskan Native. Contrary to stereotype, about 64% of these 4.1 million people live in urban areas, and only about 37% live on reservations. 
The U.S. federal government currently recognizes 562 tribes, each of which is a sovereign nation that determines its own membership and exercises its own powers of government. However, jurisdictional tensions and the historical trustee/beneficiary relationship between the U.S. government and Native tribes have contributed to systemic poor living conditions and rights violations.
Our Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to respect and learn from indigenous peoples and support their struggles for social justice and religious freedom. Learn more by following the links below.
A Note on Language: These web pages primarily focus on people who are indigenous to the land now called the United States, and various terminology is used and has been used over time to group together these populations. "American Indian" generally refers to peoples within the contiguous U.S. states, which is why the term is often paired with "Alaskan Native" and sometimes also with "Hawaiian Native." Some prefer "Native American," which has at times been used as an umbrella term. Here we follow the current lead of many people and organizations that claim these identities and use the adjective "Native."
Read what Dennis Zotigh, Community Events Coordinator at the National Museum of the American Indian, has to say about what language to use, or an article by Brendan Koerner at Slate on the topic.
 U.S. Census Bureau. We the People: American Indians and Alaskan Natives in the U.S. Special Report, 2006.
For more information contact socialjustice @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Thursday, August 25, 2011.
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