TCU Leaders Urge Census Participation

Jul 15th, 2010 | By | Category: 21-4: Native American Studies, Summer 2010, Tribal College News
COUNTING ON YOU

COUNTING ON YOU. Bernice Morning Gun (Crow) steps forward as the first of a trio of United Tribes Technical College nursing students to engage with an interactive display about the census. Next in line are Tracey Brewer (Oglala Sioux Tribe) and Amber Davis (Turtle Mountain). United Tribes News photo by Dennis J. Neumann

A traveling exhibit about the census is visiting communities across the West, including Indian reservations. The 2010 Census Road Tour captured the imagination of students and staff at United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, Bismarck, ND) in February. The tech-centered traveling exhibit features LCD screens, information kiosks, and a computer that takes photos and records messages from those who want to participate in the exhibit’s “Portrait of America.”

United Tribes vice president of intertribal programs Harriett Skye praises the census for having American Indians in their own ethnic category rather than being lumped into the category of “other” as they once were. Others mention the “under-count” of American Indians in previous censuses and the need for tribes to promote a thorough and accurate count in 2010.

Dr. Jim Davis, president of Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC, Belcourt, ND), emphasizes the benefits of an accurate American Indian/Alaska Native count for any institution that applies for grants and contracts from the federal and state governments and private donors. “We depend on the number of Native people we serve, and if those numbers are not accurate, then we stand to lose federal funds for education.”

“We have to make tribal people aware of the confidentiality of the census and the potential benefits for our health care systems, our post-secondary education, our roads – everything that we are so dependent on,” says Jeff Baker, who is the U.S. Census Bureau’s tribal partnership specialist at the Denver regional office.

For information about the road tour and the census, visit the website www.census. gov/regions/denver/.

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