Updated: Jul 8, 2020
By Joe Morey
Although the current U.S. Census response rate for Wisconsin is 67%, the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe is responding at a very disappointing rate of 24.2%.
LCO Chairman Louis Taylor is urging our Tribal Members to take the time to fill out the questionnaire and respond by mail to the address provided in the letter you received, or respond online at my2020census.gov, or to their toll free number at 1-844-330-2020. If you haven’t received anything yet, please visit the website listed www.my2020census.gov
“The Tribe receives its funding based on our total numbers through the Census so it’s very important that every one of our members is counted no matter where you are,” Taylor stated.
Marilyn Miller, United States Census Bureau liaison to the northern Wisconsin tribes, gave a presentation to Lac Courte Oreilles tribal members at the General Membership meeting on Nov. 2, 2019.
Miller explained how important it is that tribal members be counted. She said the 2000 Census under counted Natives by 12% and the Bureau stepped up their efforts to reach Native peoples. In 2010, the number was reduced to an under count of 4%.
“The count will last 10 years so we are trying to have zero under count,” Miller stated. “There is 675 billion dollars appropriated to the Tribes annually through states or direct to Tribes and where these funds go is tied in to the Census count.”
LCO Secretary-Treasurer Michelle Beaudin said LCO is only being funded at 40% because we are being under counted.
“When you fill out the forms, it does not go to Housing,” Beaudin said. “It won’t cause an eviction. Nothing will be reported to Housing.”
Miller explained that even LCO descendants who are not tribal members can still claim Lac Courte Oreilles. She also said parents who have kids in the service should make sure their kids are counted by informing the Census takers that they are LCO members.
LCO Vice-Chairwoman Lorraine Gouge added, “A 10-year period is a long time so we have to get everyone counted.”