Tuesday, April 6, 2010

War Paint Gets Great Falls' Attention

By Kay Rossi/KRTV News

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Native American population has been drastically under-counted in past census counts, so this year the Bureau is making an extra effort to get every tribal member counted.

As part of a national tour, the Bureau brought a tribal road tour vehicle named "War Paint" to the city of Great Falls on Saturday.

The vehicle will travel to ten states, including Montana, Arizona and North Dakota.

Census staff will visit each city to answer questions and encourage Native Americans to be counted.

Johnel Barcus, the Census Tribal Partnership Specialist, said, "It's not far along the lines of the Indian vote in the state and how powerful that is. Along these lines we can realize our power through numbers too. We know there are a lot more Native Americans than what has been counted."

The tour already stopped in Missoula, Flathead and the Blackfeet Reservation.

On Monday staff will visit Rocky Boy and Fort Belknap Reservations.

Barcus says being counted means more money for tribes and can even help with situations like the Little Shell Tribe that is fighting for federal recognition.

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