This chapter provides a brief historical overview of American Indians in the United States, an examination of patterns of identification among people with American Indian heritage, a description of this group’s socioeconomic profile, and a discussion of the factors that help explain this profile. Overall, American Indians continue to experience, on average, low levels of educational attainment and income and high levels of poverty. A legacy of past racism, contemporary discrimination, and continued spatial and economic social isolation especially on and around reservations likely explain the disadvantaged position of many American Indians today.
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