Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

COVID-19 Adds a New Snag to the 2020 Census Count of Native Americans

The nation's indigenous population has long been undercounted, but the pandemic presents extra hurdles


A sign asks Navajo residents to stay safe and warns of a curfew near the Navajo Nation town of Casamero Lake in New Mexico on May 20, 2020. (Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 crisis hit the United States, Native American officials representing New Mexico's 23 tribes in Albuquerque met to discuss how they could avoid a repeat of 2010, when that year's census sorely undercounted the nation's indigenous population.

Because of the inaccurate calculation of their population-the 2010 census undercounted Native Americans on reservations by 4.9 percent-tribal communities lost thousands of dollars in federal funding and risked losing representation for their states in the House of Representatives. Attendees at the Albuquerque retreat made plans to educate their tribes about the importance of the census using field organizers and social media and also discussed what's worked and what didn't in the past for different nations.


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