I want a native Ubuntu installation, not an VM. Do I have options on my Mac (that don't involve destroying the 'Mac' portion of it) or should I just switch to a standard PC? If I do have options, it would be nice to know what they are :-p
You have options! There are help pages for installing on Macs that show the hardware support and installation alongside OSX.
Here is the page where you select which hardware you have:
Just click through, select the version of Ubuntu and you'll get some installation instructions. Be sure to check the hardware compatibility too because you might not want to install if certain things aren't going to work.
The instructions for non-destructive, dual boot Mac/Ubuntu setup can be found on Ubuntu Community pages. I've have followed that instruction and installed Ubuntu 11.04 on MacBook Pro side by side with OSX. Both systems work fine.
No, Bootcamp only supports ISO files for Windows 10 or later. This was tested on MacOS Catalina 10.15 Beta.
This link outlines a way to install Ubuntu as a dual-boot system on a Mac.