GOVERNMENT

Navajo Nation is encouraging residents to complete the 2020 census

Aug 31, 2020, 2:11 PM | Updated: 2:13 pm
Navajo Nation census...
The mesas of Monument Valley are seen beyond the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah on the Navajo Reservation April 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WINDOW ROCK, Arizona — Leaders of the Navajo Nation are proclaiming September 2020 as “Navajo Nation Census Month” to encourage residents to fill out the U.S. Census. 

In a press release Monday, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer said they’d signed a proclamation with the hope of ensuring a complete count of all citizens living on the nation. 

The U.S. Census Bureau has shortened this year’s count by a month because of the global pandemic. The deadline to finish a total count of the United States population is September 31, 2020. 

As of Monday, only 17.9% of Navajo Nation households have been counted. 

The Navajo Nation and the U.S. Census

President Nez stressed the importance of Navajo residents finishing the census. He said it would improve the lives of generations to come. 

“The Navajo people’s participation and response will shape how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed each year for tribal programs and grants for the next 10 years,” said Nez.  “The census also determines how congressional, state, county redistricting is determined.” 

Despite past challenges with redistricting, President Nez said the Nation’s goal is to “strengthen our representation at all levels of government to benefit our citizens and communities.” He says that begins with an accurate population count. 

The Navajo Nation leaders say it’s not just about politics to them. The proclamation declares the census as an opportunity to grow and build the future of the Nation. At the same time, they can hold true to cultural traditions taught from the beginning of their time. 

A call for change 

The proclamation was also a call for more Navajo representation in federal and local governments. 

“The census count is very critical for our political representation and our ability to advocate at every level of government,” said Vice President Lizer.

He called for more Navajo people to run for office at every level of government. However, the support of voting districts is key for Navajo people to win elections. 

“To create change and implement new policies that help our communities, we need the political capital to move in that direction and the 2020 Census is a key part of that,” Vice President Lizer said. 

To complete the 2020 Census, visit 2020census.gov. 

Related reading:

Live Mic: Navajo Nation takes on coronavirus onslaught

Remembering Joe Vandever: Navajo code talker, American hero

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