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Iowa Department of Human Rights

Office of Native Americans


The Office of Native American Affairs serves as the central permanent agency to advocate for Native Americans. The office works with state departments and agencies to serve the needs of Native Americans in participating fully in the economic, social and cultural life of the state. (Iowa Code Section 216A.166).


Iowa Natives 

The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that 51.1 percent or over one half of the growth in Iowa's Native American population from 2000 - 2017 occurred in nine counties: Black Hawk, Dallas, Johnson, Marshall, Plymouth, Polk, Pottawattamie, Tama and Woodbury.


The estimated number of Native Americans in Iowa in 2017 was 16,222.


The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar national proclamations have been issued every year since 1994. Iowa’s Governors have also issued proclamations to support Native Americans in Iowa.