4th Largest Tribe in US? Mexicans Who Call Themselves American Indian
Indian Country Today
A January 2012 report from the U.S. Census Bureau—“The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2010”—says that 175,494 Mexicans (Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano) self-identified as American Indian, making them the fourth largest tribal group in the country, says Think Mexican.
The group also pointed out on its tumblr page that the 2010 United States Census form was “deliberately disorienting” and that some Census workers were encouraging Mexicans to identify as white.
They refer specifically to question No. 9 on the form, which asks to which race residents of a home belong. The choices included: White, Black, American Indian, Alaska Native, various Asian descents, Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders, and “some other race.”
“It was confusing. I came to that question, and I just stopped. I didn’t know what to put,” Jessica Valenzuela, a schoolteacher from Avondale, told The Arizona Republic in 2010. “Obviously, I’m not White. I would consider myself Hispanic or Mexican-American, but definitely not White. The form doesn’t really leave you with another option, though.”
Think Mexican says that while 175,494 out of 31 million Mexicans in 2010 may not seem like that much, but despite of the confusing form and centuries of Catholic indoctrination, it’s a “powerful statement.”
“It says that indigenous identity amongst many Mexicans is strong, and although this group is numerically relatively small, it represents a much larger group with a similar heritage,” the group says.
They also say Mexicans making up the fourth largest tribal group directly challenges Manifest Destiny by saying: “This land is still Native.”