History & Traditions

The reconstruction of our history at the national and local levels is a critical issue. 
Not only because this information is invaluable in terms of advocacy and awareness; but also because it is a testament to the endurance and incessant efforts of those community leaders who, despite having all odds against them, created environments where our brothers and sisters could feel at home away from their motherlands; where the Native American culture & traditions were understood and appreciated; and health services to our siblings could be rendered. Issues such as identity, leadership, development, cosmology and evolution of our communities are linked to our history. This takes paramount importance when we consider that today Urban Native Americans and Alaska Natives together account for over 71 % of all Native Americans in the US.

The formation of Indian communities living off the reservations is relatively new (from 40 to 60 years), however our origin and background goes back beyond the recorded history of this country. The first migration waves of Native Americans into urban settings were forced ones. Since the mid 20th Century, thousands of Indians from different tribes and backgrounds were taken away from their families, and --literally--inserted into environments that were completely foreign to them (such as in distant boarding schools completely disconnected from their tribes). These forced movements were carried out under the US government's Relocation Acts from the 1950's & 1960's; and justified through legislation created to terminate the governments legal obligations to Indian tribes. The relocation efforts, were implemented by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and brought about a series of underlying issues in addition to those created by the genocide-- and challenges that we are still dealing with. 


2000 US Census Results and other Demographics Documents 
2010 Census Results and other Demographic Documents 
Preliminary Studies for the Urban Indian Health Needs Assessment- UIHPs history
2014 Understanding Urban Indians’ Interactions with ACF Programs and Services
Urban Indian History-related documents in the Clearinghouse


Native Drummers at an Urban Indian Event, 2011

Help us reconstruct the Urban Indian communities history!

The National Council of Urban Indian health has decided to embark itself on a quest to collect historical data utilizing different approaches and methods. We hereby call upon our siblings across the country to share information on-- or leading to the gathering of-- knowledge about our immediate past history. Please fill out the form below to  contribute to this nation-wide effort!