Document Type



Considerable scholarly debate has focused on the nature of demographic change in the Americas before and after 1492. Recent research on human skeletal samples and related archeological materials suggests that morbidity and mortality were increasing throughout much of the Western Hemisphere before 1492 in response to increased population density, increased sedentism, and changing subsistence. The evidence suggests that after 1492 population reduction was caused not by continental pandemics but by localized or regional epidemics augmented by social and economic disruption. The twentieth century has witnessed remarkable Native American population recovery, fueled both by improvements in health care and changing definitions of “being Indian.”