The Cherokee Nation is kicking off its #CherokeeNationCounts 2020 Census campaign, urging tribal citizens to complete the Census completely and accurately to help ensure the tribe receives key funding for programs including Indian Health Service and housing allocations through Housing and Urban Development.
During the 2010 Census, tribal communities such as those in Sequoyah and Adair counties had a lower Census participation rate. Nationally, there was also an under-reporting of children under age 5.
“We’re launching a #CherokeeNationCounts campaign to tell our tribal citizens to fill out the 2020 US Census, because if we aren’t all counted, we leave money on the table,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “The Cherokee Nation estimates for every one Cherokee Nation citizen who doesn’t get counted, it’s a loss of about $50,000 in federal funding over the course of a decade that helps our tribal programs and services.”
By April 1, each home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census either online or by mail or phone. Aside from its impact on funding, an accurate count in the Census helps the Cherokee Nation better understand the demographics and needs of tribal communities not only in Oklahoma, but across the United States.
The Cherokee Nation has established a Complete Count Committee comprised of representatives from tribal departments who will help educate tribal communities about the 2020 Census and how to accurately complete it.
“To ensure Cherokee Nation citizens are properly counted, we are encouraging them to mark that they are American Indian when filling out the Census, and they must also write ‘Cherokee Nation’ in full as their affiliate so they are counted as our citizen,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. “This is so important for the Cherokee Nation. Ten years ago when some of our communities were under-represented, we lost out on several grant opportunities and community enhancement initiatives. This year, let’s commit to being counted for the benefit of all of our families.”
Information submitted as part of the 2020 Census is confidential and protected by federal law, and will not impact tribal citizens’ housing, income or custody arrangements.
For more information on the 2020 Census, contact Gene Perry, the Cherokee Nation Complete Count Committee chair, at (918) 430-3488 or visit census.cherokee.org beginning in February. More information is also available at 2020census.gov.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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