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Stiffarm, Lenora A., and Phil Lane Jr. “The Demography of Native North America: A Question of American Indian Survival.” The State of Native America - Genocide, Colonization and Resistance, July 1999, 23–53.


This article discusses the minimization and displacement of Native North American populations in the United States[JEA1] . Lenore A. Stiffarm and Phil Lane, Jr. contend that anthropologists and other academics have historically suppressed demographic information regarding Native North Americans from the time of colonization in the 1500s. They counter inaccurate representations of a small nomadic population of Native North Americans, as well as the strategic reductions of estimated populations, and explore implications of the inaccurate historical numbers, stating that academic establishments have ignored their revisionist history as a way to preserve legitimacy of moral and legal dominance over Indian lands. Stiffarm and Lane detail the tactics used to oppress Native North Americans, such as the spread of disease as biological warfare, violent invasions and massacres, and displacement that led to starvation and death, and provide accounts of policy makers and militia in the mid-19th century attempting to exterminate native people who rebelled against European authority, forcing assimilation, and violently conquering territory and resources. They explore the survival of Native-American populations after the end of the Indian war in 1890 and discuss contemporary racial genocide of Native-American communities in the form of dispersal and dilution of racial origin. Stiffarm and Lane state that government relocation, manipulation of residency, and use of eugenic codes and race-based categories to determine Indianness destroys unity and culture among native communities.  Despite these attempts at racial genocide, the number of Native-American people continues to grow and recover from colonization. Stiffarm and Lane argue that American Indian communities must unite to self-define their culture, and assert inclusiveness as a solution for land recovery and preservation of race and culture. They offer a positive outlook on the survival and future birth of Native Americans in the United States, emphasizing the relevance of reproductive justice to Native American women and their communities. This article is useful for academics and activists interested in American Indian history in the United States and reproductive issues among native communities.


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Race/ethnicity: Native American/Indigenous   History   Population control