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Native Voices for the 2020 Census: Pauline Ghost

The Census is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to ensure our community’s most vulnerable populations are counted and vital government services are fully funded. By filling out the questionnaire, everyone who lives in our community shapes the funding we receive for things like affordable housing, parks and roads, healthcare, food programs, emergency response personnel, schools and daycare centers, and so much more. More than just funding, the Census allows each of us to declare we count and matter. To celebrate the Census and the impact it has in our lives, we are sharing the stories of our Native Census Ambassadors and how Census-funded-programs have shaped their lives. To fill out your 2020 Census go to


Pauline Ghost with her daughter

My name is Pauline Ghost. I am Miwok from El Dorado, California and Oglala Sioux from South Dakota. I was born and raised in Sacramento, California in a Native American foster home. I have a 20-month-old daughter and we participate in many government funded programs including WIC, Calfresh, TANF, EOPS/CARE and Medi-cal. The funding for these programs relies on data collected during the census.

I am currently 29 years old and this is the first year I’ve filled out my Census. If I haven’t been filling out the census, the data is inaccurate. I am just one person. Imagine how many other people are not filling it out! I never knew about the Census, how important it is, or any of the many reasons it’s vital to fill it out.

The outcome of the Census determines how much funding Native Americans get for certain programs. These are programs that myself and my family utilize to better our lives and provide opportunities for our children. Another important thing that the census can provide is assistance with your genealogy. That means if you needed to do some research on your family history, you could look back on the Census and see who is related and how. This is especially important if you’re trying to sign up with your tribe and have no family history.

Lastly, I know people nowadays are very overprotective of their privacy. It’s a scary world and we want to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. However, this information isn’t used for anything else other than getting the correct data for our funding needs as well as keeping an accurate count of Native American people. It asks for no personal or intrusive information and I think everyone should fill it out not only for funding but to be counted as well. The Native population is one of the highest undercounted populations. However, we ARE important, and we ARE strong in numbers. Let’s make sure the government sees us that way. #NativePeopleCount

Amanda Aguilar



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