The impacts of past census counts are evident in almost every tribal community across the nation. Bustling clinics, lively Head Start schools, and much-needed housing developments show that the census does have a real impact on Native American tribes. Federal decision-makers use the data collected by the census to disburse millions of dollars to the state and to our tribal communities. A census count occurs every decade and it is not an exaggeration to say the 2020 census may be the most important yet, not only for us, but also for future generations as we work to address an ongoing pandemic.
As tribal members, it is in keeping with our values that we come together to help our families and our fellow community members in the face of monumental obstacles. This year has had its share of challenges for tribes all over the nation, but it has also reminded us that in the face of hardship it is together that we strengthen our communities. It is our collective duty as tribal members to fill out the 2020 census, either by hand, over the phone or online.
Today (Sept. 30) is the deadline for the 2020 census and we hope that every tribal household participates in the count. By completing the simple 10-question-long census, we are giving our communities power to help each individual tribal member receive the benefits and care we all deserve. It is important that we understand that for every tribal member that is not counted, $5,000 is lost in funding. Over the course of 10 years, that loss translates to $50,000 for each tribal member not counted. That is a loss none of our communities can afford.
Like many of the challenges we have faced, not only over the course of this year, but also throughout our history as Native Americans, we have proudly persevered and flourished. Tribes in New Mexico have not only built our own successful economies, but also have become essential to the state’s own economy and strong influences in local, state and national policy decision-making. As pueblo leaders, we are urging our tribal members to complete the 2020 census and help us emphasize to policymakers that we are still here and we count, now and well beyond the next decade.
The All Pueblo Council of Governors includes Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Nambe, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque. Sandia, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Taos, Tesuque, Ysleta del Sur, Zia and Zuni.