The number of people claiming tribal heritage increased dramatically in the Northwest over the past decade.
The number of residents who identify as Native American is increasing much faster than the growth of the overall population. An analysis of 2010 Census figures shows much of the increase comes from people who say they're part-American Indian.
The Census numbers are based on self identification. Actual tribal membership is determined by criteria that each tribe sets individually. Most of those rolls are ballooning too.
John McCoy is a Tulalip tribal member and Washington state representative. He says, "It's being proud to be Native American, coming home from other states, and the economy has improved on the reservation because of what tribes are doing."
McCoy says on his reservation, there's also been a baby boom. One more factor to explain the swelling Native population could be that the federal government and tribes made an all-out effort last year to make sure every Native American was counted in the Census.
Thanks to KUOW reporter Phyllis Fletcher for data research on this story.
On the Web:
US Census Bureau - The American Indian Population 2010:
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