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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Tribal leaders are encouraging all citizens to participate in the upcoming 2020 Census.

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Kendra Horn announced that tribal leaders have endorsed the bipartisan legislation that she introduced last week.

House Resolution 872 encourages federal, state, local governments and tribal nations to work together as partners to encourage participation in the 2020 Census among American Indians and Alaska Natives.

“We commend Congresswoman Horn for bringing attention to this important issue,” said Cherokee National Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin. “At Cherokee Nation, we’ve launched the #CherokeeNationCounts campaign to urge our citizens to participate in the 2020 census, because if we aren’t all counted, we leave money on the table. For every one Cherokee Nation citizen who doesn’t get counted, it’s a loss of about $50,000 in federal funding for tribal services over the course of a decade. An accurate count also helps Cherokee Nation better understand the demographics and needs of tribal communities, not only in Oklahoma but across the United States.”

The Cherokee Nation, the Chickasaw Nation, the Choctaw Nation, the Muscogee Creek Nation, and the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board all support the legislation.

“We at the Chickasaw Nation are encouraging our citizens to participate fully in the U.S. Census.  Other tribes are doing the same,” said Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby. “We appreciate U.S. Representative Horn introducing a resolution supporting an accurate count of the Native American population. An accurate count of the Native American population in the U.S. Census is a benefit to tribes, the State of Oklahoma and the Nation.”

“For the past ten years, due to a large undercount of our regional population in the 2010 Census, we’ve been living with decreased amounts of money available for schools, highways, public safety, health care and other important issues,” said Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton. “The undercount occurred because many of the residents of our respective jurisdictions did not respond to the U.S. Census. Our artificially low population count, in turn, has led to smaller federal and state grants being made available to us to accomplish important things in our jurisdictions.  We are partnering actively with all levels of government to ensure a successful count for our region during the 2020 Census.  We are all in this together.”

“The 2020 Census is the most important opportunity for Tribal Citizens to ensure they are counted no matter where they live. Muscogee (Creek) Nation and other Tribal Nations are working collaboratively to make sure Tribal Citizens are equally represented during the upcoming count,” said Principal Chief David Hill of the Muscogee Creek Nation. “ I applaud Representative Horn’s leadership on this critical issue and look forward to working with her to raise awareness in our communities.”

“Indian Country needs to ensure that all tribal citizens are counted in the 2020 Census,” said Nicolas Barton, Executive Director of the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. “Native Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, tribal citizens – your voice is important to let the federal government know we are still here and we are not going anywhere.  Federal funding often uses information from the Census and if Indian Country is not counted then we miss out on much-needed resources, including funding for Indian health care, infrastructure, education, roads, and others.  This is our Census and I encourage everyone, Native and non-native, to take part and fill it out.  I appreciate the co-sponsors of bi-partisan House Resolution 872 that recognizes the importance and federal trust responsibility of the federal government to American Indians and Alaska Natives.”