There are 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States. The term “Native Americans” (as specified by the United States Census) refers to Indigenous tribes indigenous to the continental United States and Alaska, as well as Alaska Natives.
During the nineteenth century, the population of California Indians decreased by 90% —from more than 200,000 in the early nineteenth century to about 15,000 by the end of the century, primarily due to epidemics, such as the 1833 malaria epidemic. Numerous indigenous peoples were also killed during the California Gold Rush, both by new settlers and militia groups supported and organized by the California government.
Today, the United States has over five million Native Americans, 78 percent of whom live outside reservations: California, Arizona, and Oklahoma have the largest Native American populations. The overwhelming majority of Native Americans live in small towns or rural areas.
Below is a set of incredible photographs by Rick Soloway showing Native American portraits from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.