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2020 Census and Tribes

Apr 2, 2020

The 2020 United States census is underway. This count, which happens every 10 years, helps determine federal funding, representation, and services throughout the country. It is especially important to Indian Country, as an accurate count provides the data to plan for programs and services in our communities. All of CRITFC’s member tribes are official partners with the Census Bureau to help ensure we are all counted and that the federal government fulfills its trust responsibilities. The tribes do not provide enrollment numbers to the Census Bureau. It’s up to us personally to respond and let our voices be heard and our numbers be counted.

We hope all tribal members will participate in the 2020 Census. We especially encourage those who are currently living at one of the In-lieu or Treaty Fishing Access Sites along the Columbia River to participate. Many federal agencies are unaware of the number of tribal members who live full-time along the Columbia River, and an accurate count will help show the size of this off-reservation population in determining the amount of funding required to address the housing, healthcare, and other resource needs of this group. All information and data gathered is strictly confidential by law.

The most current and in-depth information is available directly from the Census website.

Below are a couple items that might help tribal residents who live along the Columbia River respond to their census questionnaire:

How do I participate in the census?

Most households received their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12 – 20. These official Census Bureau mailings will include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the Census online. The 2020 Census will ask a few simple questions about you and everyone who was living with you on April 1, 2020.

In addition to an invitation to respond, some households will receive a paper questionnaire (sometimes known as the census form). You do not need to wait for your paper questionnaire to respond to the Census.

There are a number of ways to participate in the census:

  1. The easiest is to fill out the questionnaire online if you have access to an internet-connected computer or smartphone. Click here to go to the Census website:
  2. Completing the questionnaire by phone. To begin, call 844-330-2020
  3. Fill in and return the census form that you receive in the mail
  4. If you don’t respond using any of the above methods, a census worker will visit your home or location and gather the information directly.

I live at an In-lieu site and don’t get mail. Can I still participate?

Yes. You don’t need a Census Bureau mailing to participate in the census. On the first page of the online census questionnaire, click the link that says “If you don’t have a Census ID, click here.

You can also complete a telephone questionnaire without a Census ID.

I live at an In-lieu site. How to I provide my address?

The Census requires a physical address and cannot accept PO Box numbers. Since the individual dwellings and camp sites at the fishing access sites don’t have physical addresses to enter, the system will first ask if you are experiencing homelessness. Then, it will invite you to enter a city, state, ZIP Code, and description of the physical place where you live. It would also be helpful to include your tribe when entering your address. For example, if you are a Yakama tribal member who lives at the Lone Pine In-lieu Site, you would enter: The Dalles, Oregon, 97058, Lone Pine Indian Fishing Site, Yakama.

If you do not know the ZIP code of the nearest community to your fishing access site location, please contact Jeremy FiveCrows at CRITFC.

I was living at an In-lieu Site on Census Day (April 1). Should I enter that as my residence?

The Census Bureau counts people where they live and sleep most of the year as of April 1 (Census Day). Since we are in an active fishery, there are both permanent and temporary residents at the fishing access sites. See the examples below to help determine what address you should use when filling out your census questionnaire:

  • I live year-round at the site (in a house, trailer, tent, or vehicle): Enter the access site as your address in the questionnaire.
  • I live elsewhere most of the year, but am living at the access site for a couple months to fish: Enter your permanent address in the questionnaire.
  • I am living at the site (in a trailer, tent, or vehicle) right now, but move to different places and don’t have a permanent residence elsewhere: Enter the access site where you were living on April 1 as your address in the questionnaire.

If you are responding for your home, be sure to count everyone who lives and sleeps there most of the time as of April 1, 2020. This includes young children, foster children, roommates, and any family members or friends who are living with you, even temporarily. If someone is staying with you on April 1 who doesn’t have a usual home elsewhere, please include them in your response.

If you have specific questions about this, please contact Jeremy FiveCrows at CRITFC.

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