CAMARIPO-L ArchivesArchiver > CAMARIPO > 2000-10 > 0971294467
Subject: Indians in the Census (Was: [CAMARIPO] 1850 Census Lookup Request
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000 16:01:07 EDT
Hi, Carolyn and Sharon O'Branson !
I think the inclusion or non-inclusion of Indian residents in the U.S. Census
illustrates once again how ambiguous the status of California Indians was
during the time period from 1850 when CA became a state until 1924 when all
Indians were made citizens (whether they wanted to be or not -- some tribes
are struggling to regain recognition of their status as independent nations,
which was taken from them in violation of international law).
The treaties which U.S. Commissioners made with various California Indian
tribes around 1851 were *not ratified* by the U.S. Senate, and the
unratified treaties were hidden away for over 50 years. The Indians agreeing
to the treaties were never informed that they were not ratified and so gave
up their lands as the result of a massive fraud.
During the time period prior to1924, Indians living on reservations (in other
states) were not citizens because they were members of independent (though
ultimately subjugated), foreign nations and were dealt with by the federal
government as such, with the making of treaties and in accordance with
international law. (Anybody want to get into international law?) That is why
reservation Indians were not counted for purposes of determining
congressional representation. It would be analogous to counting the Japanese
in Occupied Japan following World War II.
At the same time, the U.S. Constitution states that anyone born in the United
States is a citizen, right? So after California became a state in 1850, it
would seem to me that any Indians born (off the reservation) in Mariposa
County (my granduncles, for example) would, ipso facto, be citizens and
should have been (probably were) included in the census.
It would be interesting to try to find the *instructions* given out to the
census takers for the various decades and see how they were told to treat
Indians in the census, whether to include them or not and/or which ones to
Joan in San Jose
FOOTNOTE: In a small book titled "The Right To Be Indian" (Indian Historian
Press, 1970), E. Schusky writes the following:
"Actually, census takers have in the past determined race by inspection and
may omit specific questions about race. Therefore, a number of enrolled
Indians living off the reservation or Indians of more than one-quarter blood
must be inaccurately reported.
"The Bureau of the Census figures for the Indian population are also
misleading because of occasional special censuses. In 1910 and 1930 unusual
efforts were made to enumerate Indians. As a result, persons were counted as
'Indian' in 1930 who were recorded otherwise in 1920. In short, the census
counts cannot be relied upon to give an accurate picture of what is happening
to the Indian population.
"The Bureau of Indian Affairs compiles its own population figures, but these
are primarily for legal purposes. Records must be kept of Indians eligible
for enrollment in the tribe. These records are suitable for the purposes of
the Bureau but, unfortunately, no standard definitions of 'Indian' have been
devised. As a result, Bureau figures are also unreliable for demographic
analysis of the Indian population. In recent years the Bureau has shown a
greater interest in the problem of accurate and standard reporting. Much more
complete records are being compiled, and the data are being made available
through the use of punch card tabulations [punch card? heh!!]. However, a
number of problems still plague the Bureau in population analysis." (pp. 8-9)
In a section on "How to Define 'Indian'," the author writes:
"The discrepancies in estimates of population may be accounted for largely on
the basis of differences in definition of who is an Indian. The differences
between the Census Bureau and Bureau of Indian Affairs have been noted.
Professor Tax and his associates developed a definition of 'societal' Indian
with a focus on individuals who lived in Indian communities and identified
themselves as Indians. It follows that such people must also have some kind
of Indian culture. And it is precisely cultural differences which make some
civil rights problems of Indians unique. The description and analysis of this
situation must come later, but the relevances of Tax's figures should be
noted here. It may also be noted that Tax is not alone in his definition.
Louisa Shotwell, after reviewing a number of definitions, concludes,
'Probably the most reasonable working definition for us is this: An Indian is
somebody of Indian descent who continues to think of himself as an Indian and
whom the community thinks of as Indian ...' " (p. 10)
In a message dated 10/11/00 6:37:43 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
> >Thank you for the information on the Nara files, Carolyn. In 1880,
> >Mariposa included the natives. Not only the ones who lived with white
> >but the entire tribe at Bull Creek. Are you saying that this was in error
> >or a fluke and I will never see this in any other year?
> Sharon, The quote below was found on the site with the NARA Indian films- I
> included the link and that particular quote for interest- Review of their
> site may clarify-
> >> Because Indians on reservations were not citizens until
> >>1924, 19th- and early 20th-century census takers did not count
> >>Indians for congressional representation. Instead, the government
> >>took special censuses in connection with Indian treaties. (The
> >>government made its last treaty with the Indians in 1871.) The
> >>result of many treaties was to extinguish Indian titles to land.
> >>Typically, the Indians agreed to reduce their landholdings or to
> >>move to an area less desired for white settlement. Some treaties
> >>provided for the dissolution of the tribes and the allotment of
> >>land to individual Indians. The censuses determined who was
> >>eligible for the allotments.