Tribes in NM under intense pressure to complete census count by new deadline

With three weeks to go before the US Census is scheduled to end, 19 percent of Navajo people have responded to the U.S. Census, a much lower rate than for New Mexico and the U.S. overall, and lags behind all other tribes located within the state other than Jicarilla Apache.The once-a-decade head count of the U.S. population helps determine federal funding for healthcare, housing, roads, and a range of other important services and robust responses by tribal members ensure that their communities receive an equitable share of federal resources. 

This story was first published by New Mexico In Depth and is republished here with permission. But the census deadline looms ominously following the Trump administration’s decision in early August to abruptly move it from the end of October to September 30. Earlier this month the Navajo Nation and the Gila River Indian Community joined a lawsuit filed last month by several nonprofits, including the National Urban League and the League of Women Voters, as well as cities and counties in a number of states, to keep the census deadline at the end of October. 

There is no guarantee the court fight will end in an extended deadline, however. Over the past month, the Navajo Nation, which is one of the largest tribes in the U.S. and dwarfs other tribes in New Mexico by size, has nudged upward the number of people who have responded to the census, with responses rising from 10 percent in late July to 19 percent  this week. But that’s significantly lower than its 53.6 percent goal, presented on the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department website.

DOH: Clusters at two pueblos; total NM COVID-19 cases nears 800, deaths reach 13

The New Mexico Department of Health announced 109 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 794. 

The amount of new cases is the most in one day so far, and the last few days have seen significant increases in positive tests as testing capacity expanded and the state relaxed qualifications for who can receive a test. Update: (4/8/2020): DOH: Three more COVID-19 related deaths; 72 additional positive cases

The state also announced one additional person with COVID-19 died, a male in his 30s with underlying medical conditions. The death in Bernalillo County, which took place on Monday, was the 13th confirmed death in the state related to COVID-19. Clusters

The state also announced clusters of COVID-19 cases in San Felipe Pueblo and Zia Pueblo, both of which are in Sandoval County. The state has found 52 cases at San Felipe Pueblo and 31 at Zia Pueblo, the majority of the cases in Sandoval County so far.

Zia Pueblo sees COVID-19 outbreak

“As of today April 5th, the Pueblo of Zia has confirmed 11 Zia Tribal Members, potentially 20, infected by COVID-19(Coronavirus),” Acting Governor Floyd Toribio wrote Sunday in a memo to tribal members.