The highly anticipated Native People Count California Virtual Youth Gathering kicked off today to a resounding success. The event was initially planned to be an in-person conference, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers made the call to have this a virtual event. The purpose of the event is to engage California Native Youth about the importance of the 2020 Census. Native youth are working with renowned Native artists in all mediums to produce original works of art.
Offering an inspiring keynote today on behalf of the Center for Native American Youth was Mykel Johnson, Nez Perce, a direct descendant of Old Chief Joseph of the Wallowa Band and a graduate of Washington State University. As an activist, she works to build awareness about the Dakota Access Pipeline, cultural appropriation, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“The Census as an act of sovereignty. Tribal sovereignty refers to the right of American Indians and Alaskan Natives, to govern themselves. That’s something to reflect on when you think about the Census. Programs impacted by the Census Johnson said include child care, education, employment, and Head Start. Suppose we don’t have accurate data. That is why you must think of the Census as an act of sovereignty. The 2020 Census is about our collective future, and resources that we need to thrive as Indigenous people. So this is my call to action to you all. The Census means telling our story in the most authentic way,” Johnson said.
Following Johnson’s keynote address, Native youth participants broke out into nine smaller groups with an artist of their choice whom they will work with over the next three days.
The plenary session will be live-streamed on the Native People Count California Facebook each day. Please join us again tomorrow starting at 1 p.m., Pacific Time, and back on Sunday at 1 p.m., Pacific Time.
These interviews and articles are written on behalf of the Native People Count California campaign. For press inquiries or questions, please contact us via email at [email protected].
Native People Count California is the official California complete count – Census 2020 tribal media outreach campaign. Launched in January 2020 – the Native People Count CA campaign is a collaboration between the Governor’s Office of the Tribal Advisor, the California Complete Count – Census 2020 office, and Tribal Media Outreach Partners NUNA Consulting Group, LLC, California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc. (CIMC), and the California Native Vote Project (CANVP). Native People Count CA was created with the belief that the 2020 Census is an integral piece to upholding the fiduciary responsibility by the United States federal government to Tribes and its delegated authority to state and local governments.