[Marxism] American Indians and the U.S. Census

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at hunterbear.org
Mon Dec 17 11:38:57 MST 2012

Note by Hunter Bear:  December 16 2012

The U.S. Census has always had difficulty dealing the people who are neither Black nor White.  

Until fairly recently in the historical sense, much of this country operated functionally on a two color view:  Black or Colored or Negro -- and White. This was true of Federal census takers who made their own very quick visual racial classifications -- quite frequently within that dichotomy.  Native Americans were often thought of as "gone" or at least rapidly "vanishing". Reservation Indians, if the census taker even bothered to spend much time searching them out, would usually be classed as "American Indian."  But off reservation Indians -- e.g., Indians in the cities -- frequently wound up being termed "White".  This was very often the tag for Chicanos as well.

 The 1960s and 1970s began to change the census toward more accurate racial classifications.

 "Information on race was obtained primarily by enumerator observation through 1950, by a combination of direct interview and self-identification in 1960 and 1970, and by self- identification in 1980 and 1990. (US Census Bureau on "Historical Census Statistics." )   

But there were still serious problems in counting everyone -- especially in the case of minorities and certainly Natives. The 2000 census, in addition to widely adopted self-identification in racial and some ethnic classifications, also began to hire minority people to do the census -- diligently -- in their communities. That's worked pretty well.

>From an article of mine:

"The U.S. census of 2000 indicates that 2.4 million people identified themselves as Native Americans: up 25% since 1990. This is a clear and unequivocal statement of basic Indian identity -- although almost all of these would be of some mixed [ Native and non-Native] ancestry, a very common situation throughout Indian country in this day and age. "  http://hunterbear.org/nativeamericans.htm

The 2010 Census had a wide variety of choices.  If a person labeled himself or herself as "American Indian or Alaskan Native," they also had to list their primary tribe.

Here's how that turned out.  The sharp and substantial increase in the Native population of the U.S. can  be attributed in part to large families and a decline in infant mortality.  But health care for Native people is still  limited on the reservations -- and also very much so in the urban settings.  Self-identification is a very key factor in that increase, along with diligent census takers -- often from within the respective Native community setting.

Indianz.Com. In Print.

Census releases 2010 American Indian and Alaska Native file
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Filed Under: National 
More on: census, race
The U.S. Census Bureau today released the 2010 American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File, the most detailed look at the data. 

The 2010 Census counted 2.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. When people of multiple races and are included, the Native American population grows to 5.2 million. 

The Summary File offers a more detailed look at the largest American Indian and Alaska Native groups. For the first time, it includes data on Central American, South American and Mexican American indigenous groups. 

Native Americans represent a small but growing segment of the U.S. population. By 2060, the Census Bureau projects an American Indian and Native population of 6.3 million, or 1.5 percent of the entire population. 

By 2060, racial and ethnic minorities will represent a 57 percent majority, according to the projections. 

Get the Story:
Press Release: Census Bureau Releases 2010 Census American Indian and Alaska Native Summary File (Census Bureau 12/13)
Press Release: U.S. Census Bureau Projections Show a Slower Growing, Older, More Diverse Nation a Half Century from Now (Census Bureau 12/12)
Now a majority among babies, racial and ethnic minorities in US to outnumber whites by 2043 (AP 12/12)
Census Officials, Citing Increasing Diversity, Say U.S. Will Be a 'Plurality Nation' (The New York Times 12/13) 

Copyright © Indianz.Com 

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk 
Member, National Writers Union AFL-CIO
(much social justice material)

I have always lived and worked in the Borderlands.

Key pieces from our big Jackson Mississippi Movement 
scrapbook.  Three consecutive and full pages beginning with
this Link:  http://hunterbear.org/a_piece_of__the_scrapbook.htm

The Stormy Adoption of an Indian Child [My Father]:
(Expanded in Fall 2012. Photos. Material on our Native
background.)  And see Personal Background Narrative: 
http://hunterbear.org/narrative.htm  (Updated into 2012) 

For the new (11/2011) and expanded/updated
edition of my "Organizer's Book," JACKSON MISSISSIPPI -- 
with a new and substantial introduction by me.

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