Blog Post

Insight: National American Indian Heritage Month

By Mallory Bateman

The Intermountain West has a long and rich heritage of indigenous people calling it home. From the pre-Columbian people who lived here roughly 700 to 2,000 years ago to the members of the eight tribal nations whose boundaries currently fall within the state border, these diverse cultures have impacted the statewide population. November is National American Indian Heritage Month, so we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight American Indian people living in Utah.

In Utah, 1.7 percent of the population identified as American Indian or Alaska Native in 2017. Data indicates that those who identify with the Navajo Nation were the largest share of the population, with those identifying with Ute being the next largest share. The populations identifying as Paiute and Goshute are smaller. This detailed information on tribal self-identification can be found in the 2011-2015 American Indian and Alaska Native Tables. These tables are updated every five years, rather than annually. Additionally, these tables are reliant on self-response and may differ from population records kept by tribal governments.

Although Utah is the youngest state in the nation, Utah’s American Indian population is younger than the state as a whole. While the statewide median age was 30.3 in the most recent data, the American Indian population was 28.3 years. This young population has seen some recent successes through their high school students, with