Recent News

Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico congresswoman, has been confirmed as Secretary of the Interior. She is the first Native American in history to hold a cabinet position.

  • Today there 574 federally recognized tribes.
  • The 1900 census enumerated 237,000 North American Indians. This number represents a population collapse of 90%.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has killed more Native Americans than any other group. Deaths among Native Americans are one in every 475 compared to one in every 645 African Americans and one in 121 white Americans (ARM Research Lab).
  • Despite more general acceptance of the vaccines and willingness to be vaccinated ,distribution in tribal communities has been less than the demand.
  • President Joe Biden has created a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force in response to the inequities in healthcare among minority population groups across the United States. 

Covid Vaccinations in Native American Communities

  • Cherokee in Northeast Oklahoma have 141,000 on the reservation, but vaccine supply is greater than the demand.
  • The Osage Nation in Northeast Oklahoma are vaccinating 200/day with capability to vaccinate 500/day.
  • The Navaho Nation is 70% vaccinated.
  • The virus has killed American Indians at twice the rate of white people.
  • Vaccine rollout in Native communities has been a surprising source of strength compared to Black and Hispanic communities.

Native American Needs:

  • access to water and electricity

In the Navaho Nation, 30 to 40 percent have no running water; 30 to 40 percent are without electricity.

  • improvements to roads and bridges
  • adequate health care

The Indian Health Service includes 26 hospitals, 56 health centers, and 32 health stations serving 2.2 million tribal members

  • shutdown the Dakota Access Pipeline that crosses north of Standing Rock Sioux reservation
  • end the rollback protection of Bear Ears National Monument that President Trump started to boost oil production
  • support Indian schools

Navaho Nation Reaches Zero Cases and Deaths

The Navaho Nation with the worst Covid-19 case rates in the United States has reached a level of zero cases and deaths in a twenty-four hour period. How? They followed strict health guidelines for masks and a lockdown. Also important has been the collaboration of Indian Health Service with Deb Haaland, the new Secretary of the Interior, and the Relief Bill in providing vaccination resources.

Indian Towns Added

Indian Town (recreated)

This new page includes a description of the hundreds of Indian towns located in the Chesapeake Bay region when the first invaders arrived. Most of them are Algonquian-speaking towns. Typically located on the rivers which often bear the name of the tribe and the river. Captain John Smith took two trips up the rivers of the area and created the famous Map of Virginia. This page describes the types of towns, their subsistence economies, and everyday life in them. They ranged in size from 40 warriors (the way Smith described them) up to thousands. Household size was 3-4 members, i.e., a town of 40 warriors would have 120 to 160 Indian residents.

The Algonquian Exchange

The Other Jamestown
Indian Towns


In 1608, John Smith left Jamestown with a crew of men and a barge and made two exploratory voyages up the rivers surrounding Chesapeake Bay. In the course of his journeys, he mapped Virginia and identified several hundred Indian towns. Part of Smith’s legacy is his famous Map of Virginia. Most of the Indian groups or tribes spoke the Algonquian language; a few were of Sioux or Iroquois origin.

I have created “The Algonquian Exchange ” to focus attention on all Indian tribes in the Jamestown area. This is the “Other Jamestown” that deserves more attention. I use this term in contradistinction to the well-known “Columbian Exchange,” named after Christopher Columbus to highlight the widespread transfer of plants, animals, culture, human populations, technology, diseases, and ideas between Indians and Native populations. Widely studied by historian Alfred Crosby, the Columbian Exchange served as an heuristic device for learning and discovery. Similarly, the Algonquian Exchange is meant to explore these exchanges but from the Native peoples perspectives. For an expansive treatment of this concept and how it fits into the historiography of Indians in Colonial America, see my essay on Virtual Jamestown.