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Zuni Pueblo women march 98th Gallup Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial in Gallup, N.M. Photo: Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The number of people who identify as Native American or Alaska Native alone grew by 27.1% to 3.7 million people over the last decade, according to the U.S. Census.

Why it matter: The spike in the number of people who solely identify as Native American or Alaska Native mirrors the steady rise of the population since 1890, when Indigenous people were nearly wiped out in the U.S.

  • The Native American population was reduced to fewer than 250,000 people before the 20th century, following decades of mass extermination, forced boarding schools and land theft.
  • But years of resistance and legal battles over tribal sovereignty and civil rights have allowed Indigenous populations to rebound to their largest size in modern U.S. history.

By the numbers: In 2020, the Native American and Alaska Native alone population accounted for 1.1% of all people living in the United States. That's a jump compared with 0.9% in 2010.

  • An additional 5.9 million people identified as Native American and Alaska Native and another race group in 2020, such as white or Black American.
  • Together, the Native American and Alaska Native alone or in-combination population comprised 9.7 million people in 2020. The combination population grew by 160% since 2010.

What they're saying: "The numbers really do reflect the diversity that we're seeing today in the real world and in Indian Country. So we're very pleased with it," said Yvette Roubideaux, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and vice president for research and director of the policy research center at the National Congress of American Indians.

  • "But again, we think it may also be an undercount, due to the privacy measures and other challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic."

Details: At 15.2% (111,575 people), Alaska had the largest percentage of its population identifying as solely Native American or Alaska Native.

  • New Mexico was second, with 10% of its population (212,241 people) identifying as solely Native American.
  • California has the largest population in total numbers, with 631,061 Indigenous people.

Yes, but: Tribal communities and Native Americans are spread out throughout congressional districts, making it difficult for Indigenous people to gain political power by electing Native Americans to Congress.

  • New voting restrictions in states like Arizona also could make it more difficult for Navajo Nation members to vote, diluting their power even more.
  • The Republican-dominated Kansas Legislature is poised to redraw a district currently held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and one of two Native American women in Congress, that would oust her from office.
  • The Democratic-led New Mexico redistricting body could also redraw the district held by Republican U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, that could also boot her from Congress.

Go deeper

Interior to remove anti-Indigenous slurs from names of federal lands

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks during a welcome ceremony for a totem pole carved by the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation on July 29, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

The Interior Department will review, remove and replace derogatory names, including "squaw," from U.S. geographic landmarks, Secretary Deb Haaland announced Friday.

The big picture: Haaland's order formally declares the term as derogatory and creates a task force to rename the federal lands that bear it. A separate committee will review proposed name changes related to other derogatory terms.

Exclusive: Biden administration raises minimum wage for federal employees to $15

A poster demanding a federal $15-per-hour minimum wage seen near the White House in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 26, 2021. Photo: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Federal agencies are being directed to raise the minimum wages for government employees to $15 an hour, according to new guidance from the Office of Personnel Management shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: The guidance will impact almost 70,000 federal employees, most of which work at the Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Veterans Affairs. OMP is directing agencies to implement the new wage by Jan. 30.

Kate Marino, author of Markets
48 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Federal Reserve is open to creating a digital dollar

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Federal Reserve finally released a much-delayed paper yesterday opining on the pros and cons of developing its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), but without coming to any firm conclusions.

Why it matters: Around the world, there are now 23 CBDCs either in pilot or formally launched. They have morphed from a theoretical concept into real-world digital cash, changing the way governments and millions of people use money — but not in the U.S.