PBS: Census eyes a better count on California reservations
"DWANE BROWN (KPBS Reporter): A casino is about as far as most of us have gone on an Indian reservation. Many of these popular resorts are in remote areas of the county, where just getting there can be a crapshoot. Before gambling, agriculture was the main source of revenue for the Pala Indian Reservation, the largest in San Diego County. With a casino in the background, this reservation covers 12,000 acres. That's 10 times the size of Balboa Park. There are some street names, but no addresses for hundreds of homes, making an accurate count more difficult. Robert Smith grew up here. He's the tribal chairman. How would you describe the Census count so far?

ROBERT SMITH (Tribal Chairman of Pala Indian Reservation): I think it's going to be inaccurate because they don't cross every 't' or dot every 'i' on the reservations. We're scattered, we're remote. I think if they would communicate more with the tribe they would have a better count.

BROWN: An accurate count is important, because it helps determine how $400 billion in federal grant money is doled out to communities over the next decade. State and city budgets hit by the recession get a financial boost based on the number of people counted. The money helps pay for health care clinics, education and transportation.

SMITH: If it isn't done correctly, we're going to fall back on the Census that was 10 years ago, which was really bad for everybody involved because the numbers were really low and that's what determines funding for people."

Get the Story:
Census Has Difficulty Tracking Native Americans (KPBS 5/28)

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