Year 2000 Census
and Native American Heritage
This very important information arrived in my email from my friend Zan. It is timely and necessary, so it is posted here for your benefit. Please feel free to copy and paste into email to forward to friends and other important people. Please also paste in Notepad or Word for your own future reference.
Subject: US Census 2000
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 22:08:36 -0500
From: Zan Benham firstname.lastname@example.org
The ground on which we stand
Is sacred ground.
It is the dust and blood
Of our ancestors.
Chief Plenty Coups
United States Census 2000
The Time for All Indigenous Peoples to Stand and Be Counted
by Barbara "Shining Woman" Warren
The United States Constitution mandates a census every 10 years to determine how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. The information regarding population is used to formulate future information to be utilized by governmental agencies, including tribal governments, communities and businesses.
About a week before Census Day - April 1, 2000 - most households will receive a questionnaire by mail. Census takers will deliver forms to the remaining households.
The Census 2000 questionnaire that most people will get will ask about seven subjects: name, sex, age, relationship, Hispanic origin, race and housing tenure.
Prior to the Census 2000, individuals were able to identify with only one racial group. This will be the first time individuals can check more than one of their racial origins.
Those individuals who have American Indian ancestry can self-identify with their principal tribal heritage as well as identifying with another racial group(s).
It will be up to the person to determine which tribe he or she claims to be affiliated with on this form. It is all self-reporting. The Census will not verify this information with the federally recognized tribes.
There will be the option of identifying with up to three tribes. The principal tribe is listed first; a second tribe can be listed under the "some other race" category. A third tribe can be listed under the "other Asian" category.
Stand Up and Be Counted! Self-identify!!
There are millions of people with indigenous ancestry in the United States today who are barred by the policies of the federal government and federally recognized tribes as being American Indian. We are also aware in past family histories with indigenous roots, our ancestors usually had no choice but to deny their Indian blood on the Census records.
Take this opportunity to tell everyone in the whole United States...we have always been here! Let the government know we choose to represent our honored ancestors and our future descendants by being counted...now!
A Word of Caution from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma:
"Self-Identification:If you are Native American and identify as Indian whether you are enrolled or not, check NA only on the race question and name your tribe. The Census Bureau does not require documentation of Indian blood.
The Race Question:If you identify as a Native American, even if you are of mixed race, we urge that you answer the race question only as Native American. The census form will allow you to check more than one race. However, if you check any other races, there is no guarantee that you will be counted as Native American. Please do not leave this space blank, or the Census Bureau may have to guess your race. If you live in a mixed household, the Native American/Alaska Native spouse should be listed as Person Number 1 - head of household - to qualify as a Native American household. Having a tribal enrollment number does not mean you are automatically counted by the census.
Name your tribe:Do not leave the tribe section blank, even if you are not enrolled in the tribe. Naming your tribe will help ensure that you are counted as Native American, and it will also help your tribe and local agencies that serve Native Americans for data and funding purposes. It is important to put your primary tribe first. Write in your tribe even if your tribe is not federally funded.
Hispanic origin:If you identify as Indian answer no to the Hispanic origin question, even if you have a Hispanic surname or Hispanic origin. In the past, Native Americans who answered yes to the Hispanic origin question were not counted as Indian, but as Hispanic. If you have a Hispanic surname, or live in a Hispanic neighborhood the Census Bureau shall assume the answer is yes.
Fill out the form and return it right away - due date April 1, 2000If you do not return your form by the due date, a census worker may come door to door to ask you questions, or obtain the information. If you do not wish to be bothered at your home, you should turn in the form on time. If you are not home or do not answer the door, the census worker may ask your neighbors to answer questions about you, including your race. This may result in incorrect data, and you may not be counted as Native American.
Do not leave any blanks:Do not leave any blank space, especially race and Hispanic origin. If you leave a blank space, information will be answered for you and you may not be counted as a Native American."
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