Despite the romantic image of American Indians that lingers in our collective imagination, little is known about the descendants of the people who dwelt in this land for centuries before Columbus. In American Indians: The First of This Land, C. Matthew Snipp provides an unrivaled chronicle of the recent history, contemporary lives, and demography of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Taking advantage of Census Bureau efforts to collect high quality data for these groups, Snipp details the composition and characteristics of the American Indian and Alaska Native populations, looking at housing, family structure, language use and education, socioeconomic status, migration, and mortality. Drawing comparisons with the black and white populations, Snipp provides important historical perspectives that are particularly necessary to any understanding of American Indian demography. A remarkable diversity emerges of a population—Eskimos, Aleuts, and numerous Indian tribes—once thought doomed to extinction but now making a dramatic comeback, exceeding 1 million for the first time in 300 years.
American Indians offers an unsurpassed overview of a minority group that is deeply embedded in American folklore, the first of this land historically but now among the last in its socioeconomic hierarchy. The book is an essential reference for anyone interested in a contemporary portrait of an enduring element of America's social mosaic.
C. Matthew Snipp is associate professor of rural sociology and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a former fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.