By Jacob Simas
According to census records, the American Indian population increased faster than the total U.S. population between 1990 and 2000, with more than 4 million people identifying themselves as American Indian or Alaskan Native on the 2000 census questionnaire. Yet bureau officials believe the actual number to be much higher, and say a distrust of the government, general apathy toward the census, and an increase in migration from rural reservations to urban centers, has contributed to undercounts of native communities.
“We urgently need the help of American Indian media,” said James T. Christy, regional director for the U.S. Census in Los Angeles. “Through your trusted voices, hopefully our message will be heard and we can achieve an accurate count of your communities.”
With the 2010 census now officially underway, the Census Bureau is hoping to raise awareness of the census throughout California’s native communities, which are culturally diverse, physically fragmented, and due to a lack of dedicated media outlets, not easily reached by traditional media campaigns.
Comment: This is the Feb. 16 Census meeting I reported on. You can see me in the background (bald head, blue and red shirt) at the 1:19 mark. There's a closeup of me at the 2:58 mark. And you can hear me and see me speak at the 3:46 mark.
Alas, I'm really starting to look like an old man. Oh, well....
For more on the subject, see Census Info Not Reaching Natives.