Native American Children

Are you caring for a Native American child?

There are hundreds of American Indian nations in the United States. Each nation has their own history, traditions, language, and government. When Native American children are placed with foster families or adopted by families who are not Native American, it can be difficult for children to maintain cultural connection. In order to preserve this connection, Native American children who are members or eligible to be members of a federally recognized tribe are protected under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). If you are caring for a Native American child, this information will help you understand your child’s rights, history and culture.

Wisconsin Tribal Statistics

  • Wisconsin is home to 11 federally recognized tribes.
  • 63,566 Native Americans live in Wisconsin.
  • Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, Milwaukee County is home to the largest population of Native Americans.

For more information, visit The Ways: Stories on Culture & Language from Native Communities Around the Central Great Lakes.

Did you know?

  • Historians believe there were anywhere from 10-12 million indigenous people in North America at the time European explorers arrived in the 1400’s. By 1900, the population had declined to fewer than 550,000 as the result of disease, war, and colonization.
  • In 2010, the population of American Indian and Alaska Natives in the U.S. was just over 5.2 million, 1.7% of the total U.S. population.
  • There are 1.2 million American Indian and Alaska Natives under age 25.
  • Today only 22% of Native Americans live on reservations. Most live in urban areas due in part to The Indian Relocation Act of 1956, a federal law intended to encourage Native Americans to leave reservations, acquire vocational skills, and assimilate into the general population.
  • The Snyder Act of 1924 granted full US citizenship to Native Americans. Federally recognized tribes still retain sovereignty. Members of tribes have tribal and national citizenship.

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