The 2020 census is coming.
June 17, 2019 5:50 AM   Subscribe

Will Native Americans be counted?

Leonard Jones doesn’t remember a survey packet on the porch or a knock on his front door during the last census count.

But that doesn’t surprise him — not out here. Only family and close friends make the dusty 10-mile trek from the paved road, down dirt switchbacks lined by sandstone mesas, to his secluded home in northwestern New Mexico. There is no electricity, no running water, in the single-level sandstone structure.

“Few people know we’re out here,” Jones, who lives on the Navajo Nation reservation, said on a recent morning as his son Brett trimmed his hair. “We live in nature.”

“The thought of people coming out here and making us a part of any official count seems like a stretch, you know?”

posted by poffin boffin (3 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

In the 2010 count, nearly 1 in 7 Native Americans living on a reservation was missed, according to an audit by the U.S. Census Bureau.

One maddening thing about the US census is that the Census Bureau statisticians aren't allowed to correct the count for known errors. They have a pretty precise measure of how many people they fail to count. But thanks to a 1999 Supreme Court decision that was motivated by Republican fuckery, the census can't just say "well we counted 3 million but the actual number is 3.2 million; use 3.2M for your calculations". They have to actually count every individual.

I was glad to read that the Navajo Nation was going to invest a little time and money into helping support the census count. I mean they shouldn't have to, but it's in their best interest. I'm reminded of the response of Sioux to the racist North Dakota voter registration law last year. They went through heroic efforts to be sure they weren't stripped of their right to vote just because they didn't have a registered postal address at their house.
posted by Nelson at 6:49 AM on June 17 [23 favorites]

Navajos scored a huge win this past election in San Juan County, Utah. They were able to get courts to overturn gerrymandering at the county level, which created districts that were fair to the majority Navajo population for the first time. Then a Navajo candidate, Willie Grayeyes, who was running in one of the three districts was thrown off the ballot based on faked documents. He had to fight in court to get reinstated on the ballot. Finally, as a result, the county commission has a 2-1 Navajo majority. (The non-Navajos in the district are screaming and moaning about how this is unfair, un-democratic, etc, which is all deliciously ironic. They've also pursued fixes with a friendly state legislature but haven't gotten anywhere.)

Hopefully this is going to be motivation for them to make sure everyone's counted.
posted by azpenguin at 9:51 AM on June 17 [27 favorites]

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