Cover image for American Indians : the first of this land
American Indians : the first of this land
Snipp, C. Matthew.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Russell Sage Foundation, [1989]

Physical Description:
xxvii, 408 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
"For the National Committee for Research on the 1980 Census."

Maps on 2 folded p. tipped in.

Includes indexes.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E98.C3 S65 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Native Americans are too few in number to swing presidential elections, affect national statistics, or attract consistent media attention. But their history illuminates our collective past and their current disadvantaged status reflects our problematic present. In  American Indians: The First of This Land , C. Matthew Snipp provides an unrivaled chronicle of the position of American Indians and Alaskan Natives within the larger American society.

Taking advantage of recent Census Bureau efforts to collect high-quality data for these groups, Snipp details the composition and characteristics of native Indian and Alaskan populations. His analyses of housing, family structure, language use and education, socioeconomic status, migration, and mortality are based largely on unpublished material not available in any other single source. He catalogs the remarkable diversity 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. Also striking is the pervasive influence of the federal bureaucracy on the social profile of American Indians, a profile similar at times to that of Third World populations in terms of literacy, income, and living conditions.

Comparisons with black and white Americans throughout this study place its findings in perspective and confirm its stature as a benchmark volume. 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.

A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series

Author Notes

C. MATTHEW SNIPP is associate professor of rural sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Sociologist Snipp (University of Wisconsin) has contributed a fascinating monograph using data from the 1980 US census. His study is more, however, than an analysis of data from the last federal census. Snipp includes three introductory chapters that examine American Indian demography in historical perspective, Native American identity, and the growth of Indian population since 1890. There follow seven chapters and three appendixes that examine in detail such themes as housing, family structure, language use and education, socioeconomic status, migration, and mortality. Throughout, the author makes comparisons with white and black Americans thereby illustrating how Native Americans fare relative to other advantaged and disadvantaged populations. Although there is an absence of detailed tribal data, scholars will not be disappointed with the result: a significant overview of a minority group within the US and an indispensable research tool for the social sciences. College, university, and public libraries. -L. G. Moses, Oklahoma State University