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Bureau to Count Indians

Bureau to Count Indians
November 19
08:39 2015

How much Indian are you?

It’s a question that Native Americans bristle at.

But the U.S. Census Bureau wants to get a better count of the country’s native population for the 2020 census.

To do that, the bureau is testing new questions on tribal enrollment.

“The Census Bureau wants to avoid a repeat of the 2010 count which under counted Indians by five percent,” Director John Thompson said. “We are testing together whether we can ask a separate question on enrollment,” Thompson said.

Enrollment is important to federally recognized tribes because it plays a vital role in funding.

“In the past, census only provided a box to check if the respondent identified as native,” explained Dee Ann Alexander, a census tribal specialist. “The 2020 census could ask specifically about tribal enrollment,” she explained.

Right now the bureau is getting feedback from tribes, and a final decision has not been made regarding the census questions.

“It’s never been done before and it would be nice to have that information,” New Mexico lawmaker and a member of the Navajo Nation Sharon Clahchischilliage, said.

The 2010 census reported 2.9 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives. That number nearly doubled when it included natives who were also mixed with another race.

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