Fix the census? Would Congress do that?

Indian Country Today

ICT editor Mark Trahant is on the show today. He's taking a look back at the stories and topics that shaped and continue to define our coverage of Indian Country.

When 2020 started, we had two main stories we were following at Indian Country Today, the US census and the election. This year ended up giving us so much more news. From the pandemic, to social unrest, and even so much needed entertainment, our team worked hard to investigate and inform.

Today our editor Mark Trahant joins the newscast to take a look back at the stories and topics that shaped Indian Country Today's 2020 coverage. 

Plus 4 young Native content creators spoke to BBC My World about what Native American Heritage month means to them, and how they have been using their platforms to celebrate their culture and raise awareness about issues impacting their communities.

Some quotes from today's show

Mark Trahant:

"Well everybody did poorly, and Indian Country did poorly, is the answer. This was not one of the better censuses on record and there's a lot of work to do to make it right. I actually think it may not be 10 years because I think there's a good chance that particularly if it's a Democratic Congress, they may say, let's go back in and look at these numbers sooner rather than later. And yes, it will affect."

"The only thing that's required in the constitution is apportionment. So it will affect how representatives are determined. But other than that, the Congress has a lot of leeway on what kind of numbers it can use, say for government funding and other programs like that. So there's a chance that some of this could still be fixed."

"There's so much going on right now, but when you particularly look at funding the federal government to have this count, that's just going to be problematic across the board. They'll be looking for ways to do it. Already every five years the census was doing a broader survey. And that's something that could be used as a deeper mechanism to look deeper into the numbers. Where you can't get into it is both for state legislatures and for congressional appropriation, because that is actually a constitutional function."

"And that is only once every 10 years. Right now the Supreme court is determining a Trump administration request that non-citizens not be counted, which is something that the constitution doesn't address. That would change which states get delegates. And of course Indian Country would benefit because a lot of the states that would be on the plus side of that might be states with a high Native population."

Nathan Apodaca, Northern Arapaho, of Idaho, as of Oct. 11, 2020, had garnered more than 35 million views of his Tik-Tok video of him long-boarding to the tune of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 hit "Dreams," while sipping Cran-raspberry juice. (Screenshot)
"That it brought a smile to folks' faces." -Editor Mark Trahant, Indian Country Today
Nathan Apodaca, Northern Arapaho, of Idaho, as of Oct. 11, 2020, had garnered more than 35 million views of his Tik-Tok video of him long-boarding to the tune of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 hit "Dreams," while sipping Cran-raspberry juice. (Screenshot)

"I think a lot of people think of that as the day when 2021 began. That we turn the corner and start thinking of better days again. That it brought a smile to folks' faces. And even now, as we think about 2021, the first few months are still going to be bleak. We're really looking at the summer before life picks up again."

"There's been a lot of talk in Indian Country about the dangers of vaccines and the idea that the government passed out smallpox and things like that through our history, certainly something to worry about. But at the same time, you look at the diseases in 1919, and some of them were actually diseases that went away because of vaccines. Measles, for example, is virtually gone."

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Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. She is also the anchor of the weekday newscast. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider. 

Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix. 

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