CORRECT CENSUS INFORMATION GATHERING IS VITAL FOR OUR MEMBERS’ NEEDS

By Jariah Danks

4Bears Casino, New Town – To accommodate and adhere to social distancing guidelines, Census Bureau data collection authorities set up a car service at the 4Bears Casino parking lot to prompt members to drive up and give their Census reports to awaiting Census Takers. Stands and information tables were strategically set up’ ensemble style’ and tents displayed to cover from the hot sun and weather, at the 4Bears Casino and

Lodge parking lot on July 28th. Accompanied with the log sheets of information on tables were perched Census Takers who were also armed with cell phones and laptops, waiting to record each individual’s information.

The Census is an important tool to gather information for future governmental funding and resources. The MHA Nation has its own out – reach program which has been traveling to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation’s six segments this year, to collect well-needed information about each household. It only occurs every ten years, each decade, the household member numbers reported is important for the Tribe to ascertain the future funding needs of its members.

The future funds go toward programs such as; WIC (Women Infant and Children), 477, and many other social programs – it’s a predictor of commodities necessary to sustain our individual and family needs.

These federally funded government programs need an exact count of each person, so it knows how much funding to give to each program. This method protects us from the effects of poverty if we experience unfortunate events that render us unable to sustain ourselves or our family members. 

This event held by the MHA Outreach team is an attempt to encourage members to fill out a survey which can be accessed online at the following link: http://www.2020census.gov.

Each event the outreach team has held also offers a bite to eat if a census taker is on lunch break and a gift card to a local propriety shop. Hands-on help is also provided for those who need it.  As of Wednesday, 20 percent of the MHA Nations people had responded and successfully submitted their census information. The ultimate goal is to get to 30 percent or above, a number estimated as the limit so the reservation will not be in a future lack of  funding  crisis.

These numbers are important not just for federal funding,  but also for every member to be counted in the years to come. Given Native American numbers are still growing, the hope is to make it to the goal for our reservation needs.