August 11, 1997
To Whom it may concern,
The Karuk Tribe of California contracted with Tribal Data Resources to do a complete Census of our Tribal members in 1992. This Census was undertaken to serve two purposes. The first was to document the location, family structure, and socio economic data for the purposes of planning. By working with TDR in the design of the census questionaire, the Tribe was able to determine how well we were doing in meeting the needs of our membership as well as identifying the unmet needs and the priorities for services identified by our members. This information allowed us to apply for and receive several million dollars in new projects simply because we had the demographic and socio economic data available in a usable format to document the needs of our communities and membership.
The second and perhaps most important function that the Tribal census played was allowing us to document the actual number of Karuk Tribal members in a manner and methodology that was irrefutable when compared to the U.S. Census. This issue has been critical as much of the federal funding available through HHS, HUD, EDA, and BIA are allocated on population driven formulas. In the absence of accurate, documentable population data, Tribes are only eligible for funds based on the national census which is noted for its under count of Indian people, and that data is only collected in 10 year cycles. There is no recourse or ability to influence federal census data, but most agencies will accept thci TDR census data as accurate and will fund Tribes accordingly.
The Karuk Census cost several thousand dollars to complete and the Tribe is currently updating all of the information. These funds expended for the census have resulted in millions of dollars of funding that the Tribe would otherwise been unable to access.