In exchange for stolen land, the government made promises of health, housing, education and more to our people. The Census is the pathway for telling the government who is here, so they know how to allocate these promised dollars, resources and congressional representation to our people. Some programs that rely on Census data for funding are childcare subsidy programs, workforce development/employment programs, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs, food stamps, Indian health services, housing, not to mention public schools, hospitals, and roads. By taking the Census, you ensure valuable dollars are brought to our communities for services we depend on every day. Whether a household is counted as an American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) household depends entirely on the race of “Person 1,” the first person listed on the Census form. If filling out the form online, make sure that when you select Head of Household as a American Indian/Alaska Native household that it does not switch the head of household when you respond to the question “Who is responsible for paying the rent/mortgage?” It is equally important for all other persons in the household who identify as AI/AN to be counted as such on the form. Remember, the Census is self-response which means no proof of tribal enrollment is required. Select your racial identity as you see yourself. You have the option to select multiple races. To honor your heritage, consider adding your specific tribal affiliation, for example: Ione Band of Miwoks. Please know, your information is safe and secure. The information you provide cannot be used against you in any fashion. We encourage community members who live off tribal lands to complete the questionnaire form online (my2020census.gov), by calling 844-330-2020, or mail. If you choose to complete the questionnaire online (my2020census.gov) or by phone, you can input or provide your ID when prompted. Enumerators have already begun knocking on doors to collect information for those who have not yet responded. It’s important for all our communities to be counted – especially Indian Country – to ensure we bring back resources and representation that is rightfully ours. Let’s not forget about our past as we help shape our future.
Kayla Hilario. Courtesy photo
Kayla Hilario is a Tribal Affairs Specialist for the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office. She is a citizen of the Ione Band of Miwok Indians.
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