"Giving Our Heart Away: Native American Survival," the 2008 - 2009 mission study theme, is part of an ongoing process to share and hear the stories of the many Native Americans nations and peoples within what's now the United States. The study revisits much of the founding history of the United States from the perspective of Native Americans. Explore this site as a supplement to the study and to learn more about Native American life today.

Did you know?

  • 4.5 million -- Total population of American Indians and Native Alaskans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2006.
  • Cherokee -- Largest American Indian tribal group with a population of 331,000, followed by Navajo with 230,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • $33,132 -- Median annual income of American Indian and Native Alaskan households.
  • 185,000 -- Number of Native American veterans of U.S. military forces.
  • $26.4 billion ? Revenues of Native American-owned businesses in 2002.
  • 31 -- Median age of the Native American population in 2006. About 28 percent of the Native American population is younger than 18, compared with 25 percent of the total population.
  • 77 percent of Native Americans 25 and older have a high school diploma.
  • 14 percent of Native Americans have a bachelors degree or higher. (89 percent of non-Hispanic whites are high school graduates and 30 ??? percent have a bachelors degrees or higher.)
  • 24 percent of Native Americans live in poverty.
  • 29 percent of Native Americans have no health insurance.

Top 10 myths about Native Americans

  • Native Americans get special privileges, including a monthly check, from the U.S. government. False: According to the U.S. Department of Interior, there has long been a myth that Indians receive a monthly check from the U.S. Government because of their status as Indians. There is no basis for this belief other than misinformation and misconception of the status of American Indians. Some tribes,? tribal members and lineal descendants received payments from the Federal Government resulting from claims settlements. But there are very few judgment funds per capita payments that remain today. Some tribes distribute payments to enrolled members upon the sale of tribal assets such as timber, hydroelectric power or oil and gas. Many tribes do not have natural resources or other revenue sources.
  • Native Americans do not pay U.S. taxes. False: American Indians, even those who receive a per capita payment from proceeds of tribally owned casinos, pay U.S. income tax to the IRS.
  • Native Americans are rich from gambling revenues. False: Nearly 25 percent of Native Americans live below the U.S. poverty level. Tribes that owned casinos use proceeds to fund tribal schools, medical clinics, roads, elder care, child care, college scholarships, etc. and/or distribute proceeds among tribe members through per capita payments.
  • Native American tribes are not subject to U.S. law. False: Federally recognized Native American tribes are "domestic dependent nations" with certain inherent powers of self-government and entitlement to certain federal benefits, services and protections because of the special trust relationship.
  • Sporting teams honor Native Americans by using cultural symbols for names and mascots. False: The United Methodist Church joined numerous Native American organizations in protesting this practice when the 2000 General Conference adopted resolution No. 141 stating such ¡°caricature¡¦does demean and diminish Native Americans by denying them recognition as human beings in the [teams¡¯]¡¦ use and abuse for economic profits.¡±
  • All Native Americans live on reservations. False: Only 34 percent of Native Americans lived on reservations or designated statistical areas in 2000.
  • American Indians are a dying race. False: The Native American population is increasing and the many tribal cultures and languages are alive.
  • Native Americans all have the same culture. False: There are 561 federally recognized Native American tribes and nations, each with its own culture, language and stories.
  • Native Americans are not full citizens of the United States because they belong to their own sovereign nations. False: On June 2, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill granting Native Americans full citizenship.
  • The Native American population is decreasing. False: Native Americans are growing in number and their many cultures, languages and stories are alive.

Native American ministries within The United Methodist Church

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The organized unit of United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.

¨Ï 2008 United Methodist Women/Women's Division

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