American Indians and the 2010 Census

We are statistically significant

Contributed by Ross Davis, with edits

Although we may not like to think of it this way, the reality is that federal monies available for programs and people are based upon the population of the people they are intended to serve. That’s why it’s more important than ever before that Indigenous people correctly identify themselves in the 2010 census. Get the message out – pass this along to your family members and other Indian friends. The more who are counted, the more federal monies available for programs and assistance.

It is absolutely critical that all enrolled and non-enrolled Native Americans identify themselves as “Native American in Combination with One or More Races” when completing their 2010 Census questionnaires. If you are pure blood, then you count as “One Race” and if you are mixed in any way, such as two or more tribes, or Native and Irish for example, you qualify as “One or More Races,” so this applies to all Indigenous people.

Questions 6 & 9 on the 2010 Census questionnaire

On the Census questionnaire, as far as the question addressing race and American Indian/Alaska Native, it's Question 9 for the section on Person 1, and Question 6 on the section for other members of the household (Person 2, Person 3, 4, 5, etc.). Question 6 on the 2010 Census questionnaire will ask what race the respondent is, as well as the race of any other persons, if any, residing within the same household.

A mixed-blood person (or mixed-race person whose race includes American Indian/Alaska Native can check more than one box on Question 6.

The term "Metis" is French for a person of mixed-blood, such as part Western European and American Indian. Despite some persons declaring themselves to be a member of a Metis Tribe or Nation, there currently is no state or federally recognized Metis Tribe or Nation of any kind in the United States (There are groups of Metis in Canada).

If checking "American Indian or Alaska Native" box on Question 6, it is important to also state the person's enrolled or principal tribe; however, if a person is reasonably sure that his or her race includes American Indian/Alaska Native, yet they do not formally qualify as an enrolled member of a state or federally recognized tribe, they should still identify what tribe they believe they belong to, or have ancestral ties to.

If a person responds to Question 5 on the questionnaire (re: Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin), this does not prevent such person from answering Question 6: A person can respond to both Question 5 and Question 6.

American Indians and Alaska Natives have, to a large degree, been under-counted in previous Censuses. Since the level of funding for many federal grants (formula-based grants) is based on the latest available Census population data, it is important for American Indian and Alaska Native residents of Indiana (and elsewhere) to participate to the fullest extent possible in Census 2010.

Race on Question 6 is treated by the U.S. Census Bureau as being self-reported.

How this benefits Mixed Blood Indians in the U.S.

The Census is the single most important event in America that drives all Federal “Formula” and “Need-

Based” funding decisions for the next 10-year period. Mixed bloods must not miss this opportunity to document the need! Various American Indian organizations will use these Census 2010 figures over the next 10 years to apply for charitable services and grant programs to meet the needs of non-enrolled Mixed blood Indians. While most federal dollars are earmarked only for use by ‘federally recognized’ tribes – there remains millions of dollars that are “set-aside” to serve Native American Indians that live off reservations. These funding opportunities are made available to “organizations that serve Native Americans” in these ways, and more:

¨ Housing, housing assistance, and homeless programs.

¨ Education and education assistance projects.

¨ Economic assistance and employment assistance programs.

¨ Health and wellness, substance abuse, and social justice funding.

¨ Financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and business financing loans.

Although the 2000 Census reported there were approximately 40,000 Native Americans living in Indiana, it is suggested that the more accurate number is approximately 60,000. By self-identifying on the 2010 Census, an additional 20,000-plus people could be accounted for, thereby increasing the funding available to improve the quality of life for America’s first people.