Photo: Taino community member Naniki Reyes Ocasio discusses the 2010 Census form with Census Bureau representative Jose Rios in
UCTP Taino News - April 1st, 2010 is National Census Day, a part of the 2010 Census campaign. On this day community groups, national organizations, and Tribal representatives throughout the U.S mainland, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico continue to encourage census participation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the current national participation percentage of census forms mailed back by households is 52%. Puerto Rico’s census response participation rate is currently 39%.
Members of the Taino community in Boriken (Puerto Rico) and throughout the U.S. have voiced support for participation in the 2010 campaign. The United Confederation of Taino People's Office of International Relations and Regional Coordination for example is participating officially as a 2010 Census partner. On the 2010 census questionnaire the Confederation is urging Taino people to mark American Indian for ‘Race’ at question 9 and write in Taino as their ‘principle tribe’. Individuals can also choose their country of origin (Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban etc.) for ‘Ethnicity’ at question 8.
“Over 13,000 individuals identified themselves as American Indian in Boriken during the 2000 Census” stated Roberto Borrero, a Confederation representative. “The problem for our community however was accessing this data. The Census Bureau categorized Taino people as part of the Canadian and Latin American Indian data base with no way to extract Taino specific information.”
The U.S. Census Bureau defines American Indian as individuals of indigenous origin from throughout the Americas. Census officials have informed the Confederation that Taino data will now be registered separately for the 2010 campaign.
“Being able to access this data is important especially for those advocating for the recognition of human rights in our diverse communities." noted Borrero.
Participation response rates will assist planning for the door-to-door follow-up to the census questionnaire mailing. In May 2010 census representatives will begin to visit households that have not returned a census form by mail.