Nevada’s Cortez Masto says Census count must include American Indians |

Nevada’s Cortez Masto says Census count must include American Indians

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
Brad Coman/Nevada Appeal

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., says it’s critical the U.S. Census accurately count all American Indians in the country.

She said in the last Census, 2010, nearly 5 percent of that population didn’t get included in the count despite the fact the Constitution requires the Census to include every person living in the United States including children.

Masto said it’s critical because the count determines how many members of the House of Representatives each state gets for the following decade. States use the data to draw up voting districts for elections at all levels.

But she said the count is also used to divvy up federal funding for programs including healthcare (Medicaid), housing, nutrition assistance, public education, childcare and more.

“Studies suggest that every uncounted person could cost the state, local and tribal governments up to $3,000,” she said.

Nevada has a total of 26 tribal groups of Washoe, Paiute and Shoshone Indians.

“It’s vital that we accurately count Native Americans who were by far the most under-represented group in the last Census,” she said.

Masto said there are many reasons for the problem including language barriers and literacy issues. But many tribal communities are located in remote places with poor roads. Too often, addresses don’t have a house number or street name like urban and suburban residences.

She said in Nevada, “we need to go the extra mile to make sure every single person in the state gets counted.”

Gov. Steve Sisolak has committed $5 million to the Complete Count Committee that was formed to increase the Census count in Nevada.