Whether they live in downtown Salt Lake City or on a reservation, members of at least 35 American Indian tribes are represented in Utah, according to 2000 Census results released Wednesday, from the lone Houma to the 14,634 Navajos.
Harry James of Navajo Nation says he's not surprised to learnNavajos are the most prevalent tribe in the state.
"It should be the biggest group," he said.
James left his home in the south end of the Navajo reservation in the Four Corners area in 1953 to live with an LDS family and attend school. He has been living in Utah ever since.
James shies away from titles such as "spiritual leader" or "elder," instead describing himself as a "fun Indian." He works at the state Workforce Services office and is president of the West Valley City Pow Wow committee.
The number of American Indians and Alaska Natives grew from 24,283 in 1990 to 29,684 in 2000, but their chunk of the total state population went down slightly from 1.4 percent to 1.3 percent.
Behind Navajos are Utes, with 2,940 residents, followed by those American Indians who checked the "other" tribes category or did not specify to which tribe they belonged.
Some of those may have not known what tribe they belonged to or were only part American Indian, James said. He says it is common to find American
Indians who don't know their heritage.
"We see that all the time, even those who are full blood," he said. "I see people coming in saying, 'I think I'm this, I think I'm that.
Many of them were probably adopted or placed in foster homes and never told what tribe they came from, he said.