HomePeopleWhy the Census Matters to Native American Indians.

 

American Indians were the native occupants of the ‘Americas’ before European colonisation occurred in the 15th Century.  As can be imagined, this had major effects on the country and the American Indian inhabitants which resulted in political, ethnic and social disruption, including acts of extreme violence and large scale decline of indigenous populations.

Aside from war and mass genocide, diseases that European colonists brought with them, to which the Native Indians had no immunity, millions of natives.  With some tribes losing majorities in one way or another a number of alliances were agreed and upheld between the remaining tribes.

Things have come a long way since then and as the first article details, it came as a shock to millions when there was no box relating to Native Americans/Indians on the 1990 census.  This would have infuriated an entire section of the population.  It is not just on principle that the Indians would be upset as after the entire census is dissected and used by senior policy makers to decide where and what to allocate funds to.  Therefore it is important to all cultures to be recognised and considered in policy making.

Thankfully this was amended in the census a decade later and a number of categories were added allowing American Indians to show which community/tribe they associated with.  This made large and small differences to the communities around them.  One small difference that my daughter loves is the Indian themed playground close to where we live in California.  There are a number of climbing frames shaped like tipis (the Navajo Indians in California call them hogans) and painted horses inlaid into the wet pour surfacing.