How many Amerindians live in the USA today? Or, what fraction of today’s USA population descends in whole or part from ancestors who lived in America before European settlement?
The number I learned in school was ~1%. The bureau of the census tells me that 1.53% of people living in the USA today descend in whole or part American Indians or Alaska Natives.*
Racial Amerindians are afforded special legal rights. Even people who descend from slaves don’t get the rights and privileges afforded to people who descend from pre-European Americans. The Bureau of Indian Affairs manages all this.
But hold on a second. Americans spanned from Alaska to Argentina when Europeans arrived here. Aztecs, or Meshíca, are one example. Mayans are another.
When Spaniards (peninsulares y criollos) mated (sorry) with Americans in Mexico (which incluía TX & CA), the resulting children were, and still are, called mestizos. Over 90% of Mexicans today are mestizo. That is why Mexicans often have brown skin — because they descend from native American Indians. The word “indio” is ≥ derogatory in American Spanish as “Indian” is in American English when used to refer to a person with strictly American heritage.
Now walk north with me. In the USA, Amerindians are afforded special rights by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. We are told that they comprise a very small percent of the population. And, we block Mexicans (mainly mestizos) from entering the USA via our southern border.
What’s up with that? We are actually blocking Native Americans from entering the United States of America.
* PS: The Census is actually very clear about which 10 “American Indian” tribes and which 4 “Alaska native” tribes its data refer to: Apache, Cherokee, Chippewa, Choctaw, Creek, Iroquois, Lumbee, Navajo, Pueblo, Sioux; Alaska Athabascan, Aleut, Eskimo, Tlingit-Haida.
TL;DR: Brown Mexicans are usually Amerindians. Why aren’t they covered under the Bureau of Indian Affairs?