NESPELEM - The Colville Confederated Tribes Election’s Office, which has lead the tribes’ effort in the 2020 U.S. Census, has reported the tribes have completed the decennial count with a 85 percent return - 18 percentage points higher than the national average.

“At the onset of the 2020 census count, the Colville Tribe was selected as a test site,” said Colville Business Council Chair Rodney Cawston. “The test allowed people to respond using paper questionnaires, by phone, online using computers, tablets or smartphones.  Our election staff did an amazing job and the Colville tribes census count finished at 85 percent.  Census data is used to distribute federal and state funding and this includes funding for schools and education programs that serve native children, dollars for Indian health services and nutrition and infrastructure funds for housing, water and sewage projects, roads  and economic development.”

According to Cawston, most tribes were undercounted by approximately 5 percent in the 2010 Census.

“With the 2020 Census, we knew it was going to be challenging,” said Cawston. “Because of the pandemic, door-to-door visitations weren’t preferred due to the potential spread of COVID-19; many of our rural households lacked traditional street addresses or PO boxes; and up to 80 percent of our communities lack broadband access and reliable cellular coverage.  There are also long distances between reservation communities, which increase the amount of travel time.”

The 2020 Census count ended Oct. 15.

“Our staff worked closely with the U.S. Census Bureau to identify which tribal members didn’t complete their census forms and they did everything they could to locate, contact and register them for the census,” said Cawston. “Electionface’s Program Manager Lachelle Ives also applied and received several grants which she used to purchase gifts and offer prizes as incentives for our members who completed the census forms.  Congratulations to Election’s Lachelle Ives, Diane Stensgar and Sam Ankney. Your hard work will benefit our tribe for the next ten years!”

According to the website, the national self-response rate was 67 percent and the Washington state self-response rate was 72.4 percent.

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

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