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News Release

Urban Indian Health Institute

Center for Native American Youth (CNAY), Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI), and National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC) have partnered to raise awareness around the 2020 Census and its importance to urban American Indian and Alaska Native communities nationwide.

In the past, American Indian and Alaska Native communities have had some of the lowest response rates to the census and are considered a “hard to count” population by the United States Census Bureau. A lack of resources, technological restrictions, and a distrust of government have been major factors in Native communities’ hesitancy toward completing the census.

“Our three organizations have the ability to raise awareness through our numerous partnerships and networks that span the entire country,” said Janeen Comenote, Executive Director of National Urban Indian Family Coalition. “We need our community to understand the importance of completing the census to ensure that urban Indians do not continue to be seen as an invisible population.”

The National Urban Indian Family Coalition consists of 42 organizations nationwide who advocate for American Indian families living in urban areas. The Urban Indian Health Institute is a Public Health Authority and one of 12 Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TEC). The Urban Indian Health Institute is the only Tribal Epidemiology Center that serves Urban Indian Health Programs nationwide by fulfilling data requests, providing technical assistance and trainings, and creating resources regarding health-related topics. The Center for Native American Youth is a national leadership development and advocacy platform for Native American youth ages 24 and under.

The organizations will provide census informational materials, technical assistance, and tools that their partners can use to help spread the word in their communities.

“We are working with our national network of Native youth leaders to equip them with tools to engage their community members about why the census matters and how to take part,” said Erik Stegman, Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth. “By leveraging our national network of youth leaders in urban and rural reservation communities, along with our tribal organizational partners, we have a chance to make a real difference.”

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The organizations have partnered with renowned Native artists to bring a unique style to their campaigns and further awareness.

According to the United States Census Bureau, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census by April 1, 2020. The 2020 Census will be the first time participants will be able to complete the census online. Participants will also be able to complete the census by mail or over the phone.

Census data helps determine how billions of federal dollars are allocated for states and communities.

According to the 2010 Census, 71% of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in urban areas.

“The majority of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in urban areas, but our programs still continue to be underfunded.” said Abigail Echo-Hawk, Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute. “It is important that Native people complete the census and we get an accurate count of our population so that we can provide the programs that strengthen our people.”

For information about the Urban Indian Health Institute’s census initiative, click here.

For information about the National Urban Indian Family Coalition’s census initiative, click here.

For information about the Center for Native American Youth, click here.

Urban Indian Health Institute and Center for Native American Youth logos