By Ben Kesslen at NBC News:
Native Americans feel like they don’t count. And they might not be wrong — they are the most undercounted group on the U.S. census, which means they get significantly less of much needed funding from crucial federal programs, scant improvements on reservation infrastructure and health care, and even the loss of political representation.
But when the census officially kicks off in January in Alaska, it will start in an Alaska Native community three months before the rest of the nation.
It’s an moment touted by the Census Bureau that leads the charge, which tries to get ahead of the many residents who leave following the spring thaw to fish and hunt, and an important moment for the Native community in Alaska, which gets to decide who among their members will be the first counted.