Fall 2013

Making the Invisible Visible: Urban Indian Community Development


Fully 78 percent of all American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) live off-reservation, and the majority of these AIANs live in cities. Despite a significant lack of resources, many urban Indian organizations are developing innovative and viable models for solving the current challenges that AIAN peoples face in urban areas, including isolation, poverty, and lack of access to affordable housing. This article provides some background and context on these challenges, and presents four key areas for support and community development in urban Indian communities: education, housing, health and wellness, and economic development and employment. It also presents a best-practices example of an urban Indian community center in Portland, Oregon.

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