Senators Call for Full Count of the Native Population

Friday, August 10, 2018

In a recent letter to the Secretary of Commerce, a bipartisan group of United States Senators called on the Census Bureau to insure a full count of the American Indian and Alaska Native population. The Census Bureau is part of the Commerce Department.

Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota expressed their "deep concern" over the Bureau's preparations for the count of tribal communities across the nation in 2020. The letter pointed out that "tribal communities present unique and challenging characteristics that require additional effort, foresight and planning to overcome."

The letter called on the Secretary to provide "an actionable plan that ensures an accurate and cost effective process to count all American Indians and Alaska Natives."

In a statement accompanying the letter, Senator Murkowski said: "Census data is incredibly significant to American Indians and Alaska Natives as it is used by Tribes and Tribal Organizations to make informed decisions about the future of their people. This information helps ensure fair allocations of funding for federal programs that are vital to Native communities, including housing, health care and education. Unfortunately, due to their remote nature, language barriers, lack of access to telephones and internet, and often non-traditional mailing addresses, getting accurate Census data in rural Alaska and throughout Indian Country is no simple task."

- Norm DeWeaver