State tribal relations
A member of the Montana Redistricting Commission, which re-draws district boundaires using the most recent census information, says he believes close to 9,000 American Indians may not have been counted in the past census.
Joe Lamson presented his information before the State Tribal Relations Committee Tuesday. Over the past ten years the Indian population on the reservations has only increased about five percent. Lamson projects it should be more like twenty percent, given the age demographics of the reservations. With treaty obligations, as well as federal and state programs for the generally poverty-stricken areas, he says it’s important to address the issue.
"If these numbers are all driven by census figures, if you're a lower number than you actually have, the need doesn't go away but the federal dollars do,” says Lamson.
The legislators were encouraged to speak with tribal councils and decide whether to petition the results of the census. Lamson says time is running short though. The redistricting commission will present a plan to the 2013 legislature in about a year and a half.
Story by Ryan Whalen, Beartooth NBC.
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