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Battered by the virus, tribes race to boost census count

A Census 2020 form is seen Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in Toksook Bay, Alaska. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

By MATTHEW BROWN, IRIS SAMUELS and LINDSAY WHITEHURST Associated Press
LODGE GRASS, Mont. (AP) — Millions of federal dollars for impoverished Native American communities are on the line in the U.S. census, and tribes are racing to avoid being undercounted again. Almost all of the nation’s more than 300 reservations trail significantly behind the rest of the country in the count. There have long been challenges counting people on far-flung Native lands amid language barriers and distrust of the federal government. But the pandemic has dealt a devastating new setback, with lockdowns keeping census takers away as Indian Country has struggled with disproportionate numbers of infections. Reaching a full count on most reservations now looks nearly impossible.

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