U.S. Census Bureau News

Event photos and interviews available,     contact on site:   Jennifer.L.Giles@Census.gov (818) 510-5577




Media Advisory For Immediate Release – Same-day event 

Friday October 30, 2009

Los Angeles – California


WHAT:         Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles City Council, the City Attorney and City Controller together with the United States Census Bureau celebrate National Native American Heritage month with ceremony, music, dancing, and food.


WHEN/WHERE:    TODAY -- FRIDAY OCTOBER 30 - City Hall                        Reception - 9am-10am. City Hall Council Chambers

                                Free Parking: SP-RSVP@lacity.org, 323-922-9762        Ceremony - 10am- 11am.   City Hall Forecourt

                                RSVP 323.394.4453                                                            Celebration/Food - thereafter


WHY:            Heritage month is especially important to Indians this year in Los Angeles because of the upcoming Census. Most people don’t know it, but Census data is used to determine allocation of over $400 billion dollars every year—and it’s results last for ten years.  Hard-to-count populations like Urban Indians often miss out on their share of the federal funding and public grant money because the bulk of their population goes uncounted.  “Census participation will have a big affect on the resources available to this community,” says Tim Harjo, who coordinates outreach to the American Indian community in California. American Indians had some of the lowest response rates in the 2000 Census.  2010 Census data will effect funding and grants for things like education, clinics and job training for Urban Indians--and for all people in the area--until the year 2020. 

                      The U.S. Constitution requires a confidential and accurate count of the nation's population every ten years, also known as the decennial census. Reaching every ethnic or racial population group is a massive undertaking to accomplish in just five months to Census Day, April 1, 2010. People of all ages, races, and ethnic groups, both citizens and non-citizens alike, may safely participate in the Census. Census employees never ask for identification documentation or immigration status. The Census Bureau never shares personal information with any other local or federal government agencies.  Instead, aggregate information is released for purposes of funding and political representation.


The largest Urban Indian population in the nation is in Los Angeles. 1 in 11 American Indians in the nation reside in southern California, nearly a quarter of a million.  95% of these Indians live off reservation land.  Most “urban Indians” live in Los Angeles and Riverside.

California Tribal? …or Urban Indian?  There are 108 federally recognized tribes in California, but 95 % of the Native American population in the State are Urban Indians, who live off reservation.   By 2008 Census Bureau estimates, 53,000 Los Angeles county residents are Urban Indians – 115,000 consider themselves urban Indians of mixed race.  Because Urban Indians do not live on tribal land and are often not affiliated with local tribes, it is challenging to obtain services available to other American Indians in the country.


Latino, Hispanic …or Native American? Many of the Urban Indians in Los Angeles trace their indigenous heritage to tribes in Mexico or Central/South America.  Though often referred to as “Hispanic” Chicano Studies experts point out this term may not fit.  In the 60’s the term “Hispanic” gave ethnic solidarity and political power to racially and geographically unrelated people.   A Hispanic person’s race might be white, black, Asian or American Indian. Opinions differ, but the majority believes the term applies to any person whose ancestors come from a traditionally Spanish speaking country.

The term Hispanic doesn’t necessarily reflect the true heritage of every Latino in Los Angeles, whose ancestors from Mexico or Latin America may not have spoken a Spanish language, but instead a Mayan, Incan or another indigenous language. Someone from an indigenous tribe in Mexico could be “Native American“  and “Latino or Mexicano,” but not “Hispanic.”

For the Census, Hispanic is an ethnic designation rather than a racial one – the 2010 Census will ask whether or not someone considers himself or herself  of “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin,” and lets the person specify between Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican or any other geographic origin.  A person can indicate they are Native American or American Indian in a separate question about race, and there is space to write in the name of the tribe. A Latino Native American might check “Latino” and “Mexican” under ethnicity and “American Indian” and write in his or her tribe name under race.

Native American… or American Indian?  The term “Native American” has fallen out of use in recent years in favor of “American Indian,” “Urban Indian” or “Tribal.”  Though the identity is not unclear, finding the most accurate name to refer to people whose indigenous origins are within 1000 miles of Los Angeles is worthy of consideration and recognition.  Today we recognize the heritage of all Native Americans.

See Census.gov:  (Federal)  Facts for Features -- American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month: November 2009 | PDF Version - 84K

Among the likely event participants, speakers and performers available for interview:    

o   Tim Harjo, Urban American Indian and California Tribal Outreach Coordinator, U.S. Census Bureau

o   Eric Sanchez, Urban American Indian and California Tribal Outreach, U.S. Census Bureau

o   Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa,

o   Los Angeles City Council Members

o   Los Angeles City Attorney and City Controller

o   Music LA – Musicians and Dancers


CENSUS STATISTICS - http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=ACS_2008_3YR_G00_&-CONTEXT=dt&-mt_name=ACS_2008_3YR_G2000_B02005&-mt_name=ACS_2008_3YR_G2000_C02005&-mt_name=ACS_2008_3YR_G2000_B02010&-tree_id=3308&-geo_id=04000US06&-geo_id=05000US06037&-geo_id=16000US0644000&-search_results=16000US0644000&-format=&-_lang=en

Available for interviews.   818-510-5577 Jennifer.L.Giles@census.gov



Timothy Harjo (pronounced HAR-joh) oversees the Urban American Indian and Tribal Partnership Program in Southern and Central California.  Harjo earned a Bachelor of Science in Management from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. He went on to earn both a Juris Doctorate from the Arizona State University College of Law and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.  He has been active in the area of tribal governance and media policy for over 10 years.  Harjo's law practice provides legal services for low income American Indians and tribally operated non-profits. His experience includes work in the administrations of several tribal communities across the United States. His current personal research involves the study of intergenerational trauma and its effects on social and economic development within American Indian Communities.  Harjo and his outreach team work with 45 Tribal governments in the region, as well as the large population of Urban Indians in Southern California. Harjo is himself descended from the Chiricahua Apache, Comanche and Seminole peoples, and is a member of the Chiricahua Apache Tribe, based in Southwestern Oklahoma.



Eric Sanchez (pronounced SAN-chez) is a Partnership Specialist with the United States Census Bureau, he serves the Tribal and Urban Indian communities in the Central California Region, which includes: The Big Pine Paiute Tribe; The Bishop Pauite Tribe; The Fort Independence Indian Reservation The Lone Pine Tribe; The Timbi-sha Shoshone Tribe and The Tule River Tribe; among others. Sanchez is both Navajo and Mexican and hails from Long Beach, California. He earned two degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA): a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, and a Juris Doctorate in Law, respectively. He will complete a Masters in American Indian Studies at UCLA in the near future. Sanchez served on the board of the National Native American Law Students Association for two years, in the UCLA Native American Law Student

Association for four years, and as a mentor to American Indian youth in Los Angeles for more than six years. He has worked for the Tribal Learning Community and Educational Exchange based at UCLA, volunteered with the Learning Rights Law Center’s Rez Ed Program in downtown Los Angeles, contributed to the American Indian Children’s Council of Los Angeles, and served as a Court Clerk with the Hopi Tribe’s Appellate Court. He was awarded the Yellow thunder and Coca-Cola Scholarships while at UCLA, and served as an Indigenous Delegate to the United Nation’s Convention of the Parties

on Biological Diversity that was held in Curitiba, Brazil in March 2006. He looks forward to a long and productive career working for and with the American Indian community.



Kyle Crandell (pronounced KRON-dehll) is an experienced voice of American Indian perspective in politics. He recently joined the United States Census Bureau’s outreach program as Tribal Partnership Specialist for San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.  Crandell is himself a member of the Robinson Rancheria Tribe of Pomo Indians, located in Lake County California. Crandell was working in his community from an early age: while still a high school student in West Anchorage, Alaska, he worked for both the Internal Revenue Service and the Anchorage City Counsel. He went on to earn a degree from Condie

College in Campbell, California in 1985. After a 24-year career in the travel industry as trainer and consultant, Crandell turned his attention to politics, the American Indian people, and the Democratic Party. He first served on the Board of the San Jose Indian Center. In 1988, Crandell was the only American Indian elected as a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Convention. He was elected in 1993 to the California Democratic State Central Committee where he served 13 years. In 1997 he was elected with over 13,000 votes to the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. He served as Vice Chair for the 18th Assembly District committee for 5 years. Crandell was elected to the California Native American Caucus of the California State Democratic Party in 2000, where he serves on the Board as the Southern California Representative. As a delegate for the state party and a board member of the largest Native American Caucus in the United States, Crandell has continued to work closely with many different California Tribes and urban Indians regarding the complex issues that they face. He lives in Fontana California with his wife and 5 year old son.