NESPELEM – Over the next several months, the Colville Confederated Tribal es Election Office will hold community outreach meetings at the Lucy F. Covington Center in Nespelem and presentations at tribal district meetings to discuss the importance of the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census to the Colville Tribes with the tribal membership.

Election’s Office Coordinator Lachelle Ives shared her presentation with the Colville Business Council, Dec. 5, highlighting the importance of the upcoming

census that will be held April 1, 2020 to the Colville Tribes.

The federal website summarizes the census by stating, “Once a decade, America comes together to count every resident in the United States, creating national awareness of the importance of the census and its valuable statistics. The decennial census was first taken in 1790, as mandated by the Constitution. It counts our population and households, providing the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs — impacting housing, education, transportation, employment, health care and public policy.”

“What this means is the government refers to the data to determine how to utilize the funds based off the numbers and needs of the communities across Washington state,” said Ives, who further noted that data generated from the census is used in redistricting, enforcement of Civil Rights laws, education and infrastructure funding.

According to data provided by Ives, every Colville Tribal resident tallied in the census equals approximately $3,000 in state and federal funding that is available to the tribes, and Ives continued to note that a family of five results in approximately $100,000 over 10 years.

That money could be available to the Colville tribes to offset tribal funds through federal grants and contracts, said Ives.

Simply put, said Ives, “More American Indians equals more funding opportunities.”

But, said Ives, tribal members must voluntarily provide their information in the federal census.

Along with the importance of the census to tribes, Ives’ presentation touches on pit falls for tribal members within the current census process.

For example, tribal members living with a non-tribal member must list the tribal member as the head-of-household in the census in order to have the home counted as a tribal member home.

Ives will hold community meetings with additional information through January.

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