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Phoenix Indian Center urges Indian American community members to complete the Census to ensure that federal funds can be rightly allocated.
The Census deadline has been moved up 30 days by the Trump administration, to September 30. The center reports that many rural tribal communities continue to face broadband challenges that have only been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the center, an undercount of the American Indian population could have dire consequences for their communities.
“The latest update I’ve received from the National Urban Indian Families Coalition is that of the 1,028,377 American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations, only 373,067 have completed the 2020 US Census,” said Patricia Hibbeler, Phoenix Indian Center’s CEO. “With more than 63 percent undercounted right now, we must reach these individuals as soon as possible to provide the necessary resources for them to complete their Census information.”
The center also wants people to know that responses to the US Census are confidential and protected by law. Not responding will ultimately lead to a gross undercount and inevitably a shortage in funding towards education, infrastructure, housing, transportation, and other essential services.
“It is important that anyone who self-identifies as American Indian or Alaska Native indicate that on the form, and then print the name of their tribe in the write-in area. We encourage everyone to check with their family and friends, especially those living on our reservations, to ask if they have completed the Census, and if they require assistance to do so,” said Hibbeler.