Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
December 25, 1999


Why is it important for Native Americans and Alaska Natives to answer the Census?

The census affects the entire Native American community, tribal governments, urban Indian communities, local and nationally, especially in terms of funding for programs serving Indian families and children.


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, 2000

If 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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