Invisible Indians: Native Americans in Pennsylvania by ProQuest


Native Americans are an invisible population in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is one of a few states that neither contains a reservation nor recognizes any native group within its borders. State officials steadfastly assert that there are no Native Americans in the state. Yet, according to the U.S. Census, approximately 18,000 Native Americans live in Pennsylvania, and a minimum of 11 different organizations represent them. The authors have surveyed nearly 300 Native Americans within the state and conducted extended ethnographic interviews with 70 others. A chief concern is obtaining state recognition, but bills to grant recognition have failed in the state legislature for nearly 20 years. A significant barrier to recognition is Native Americans' inability to work together. Given the history of Pennsylvania, claims to Native American heritage are difficult to verify, which leads to disagreements over authenticity of identity. This article reviews the efforts to win state recognition, while comparing the circumstances of Pennsylvania's native peoples to similar groups on the East Coast, such as the Abenaki, the Pequots, and the Wampanoags. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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