4th Largest Tribe in US? Mexicans Who Call Themselves American Indian


Indian Country Today

4th Largest Tribe in US? Mexicans Who Call Themselves American Indian.

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.”

Comments (3)
No. 1-3

I identify as Xicana. I am not Hispanic. I am not Latin. My father's people were Tarasco and my mother's Tepehuan. My DNA contains 20% Southern European, but I do not know whether that came from love, lust or rape. My skin is sun-kissed brown and I refuse to identify as white on the census.


Well done sister.

Juan De Santiago
Juan De Santiago

Now that the 2020 U.S. Census are taking place or have taken place, I wonder if the number will increase as younger generations of Mexicans are identifying with their Native ancestry? My eldest sister who did our census form in 2010 listed us as White. Now that we all no longer live in the same home, I know we all identified as Native (except for that sister) rather than White for the 2020 U.S. Census.