Person

Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear

Role:

Co-founder, United States Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network (USIDSN)

Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear is an advocate for Native American interests. She is the co-founder of the United States Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network (USIDSN), a nonprofit which collects data on Native American populations for research and advocacy purposes, including increasing government benefits. Recently, the organization has been outspoken in its promotion of the 2020 Census to increase Native American representation.

Rodriguez-Lonebear is a member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation based on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana. [1]

Education

In 2007, Rodriguez-Lonebear attained a BA in comparative studies of race & gender from Stanford University. The following year, she gained a master’s degree in sociology from Stanford. As of April 2020, Rodriguez-Lonebear is currently a dual Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Arizona and in demography at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. [2]

Career

After finishing her undergraduate degree, Rodriguez-Lonebear worked as a tribal researcher. From 2008 to 2012, she researched the demographics and economic development of Maoris in New Zealand. She then served in a similar capacity for her tribe, the Northern Cheyenne Nation, for a year. [3]

In 2012, Rodriguez-Lonebear co-founded the United States Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network. [4] The organization’s purpose is to collect and centralize Native American demographic data to be shared and controlled by tribal governments. In doing so, tribal governments can supposedly better manage their affairs and diplomatic relationships with the American government. [5]

In 2013, Rodriguez-Lonebear became one of 32 members of the the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. [6] The committee attempts to work with minority demographic groups to improve data collection.

As head of the USIDSN, Rodriguez-Lonebear has made numerous recommendations to the US government regarding the 2020 census. Native American tribes receive $5.6 billion in subsidies from the American federal government each year. This funding and the electoral power of Native Americans is dependent upon their population count in each decade’s census. [7] However, according to advocates like Rodriguez-Lonebear, Native Americans are historically undercounted in the census. [8]

Rodriguez-Lonebear urged early consultations between the Census Bureau and tribal governments to maximize census taking. [9] She has recommended that the census contain questions specifically targeting Native Americans, but that all data on tribal populations be declared confidential and not disclosed to the public. [10]

Rodriguez-Lonebear also serves on the board of directors of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Database. [11] The organization collects data on Native American female murder victims and disappearances for law enforcement and research purposes.

References

  1. “Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear, M.A. (Northern Cheyenne).” University of Arizona. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://nni.arizona.edu/people/staff/desi-rodriguez-lonebear. ^
  2. “Biography.” Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.desirl.com/about. ^
  3. “Desi (Small) Rodriguez-Lonebear.” Linkedin. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/desirodriguezlonebear/. ^
  4. “Desi (Small) Rodriguez-Lonebear.” Linkedin. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/desirodriguezlonebear/. ^
  5. “About the US Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network.” United States Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://usindigenousdata.org/about-us. ^
  6. “About the US Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network.” United States Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://usindigenousdata.org/about-us. ^
  7. Nagle, Rebecca. “’We are still here’: Native Americans fight to be counted in US Census.” The Guardian. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/15/we-are-still-here-native-americans-fight-to-be-counted-in-us-census. ^
  8. “Media and Commentary.” Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.desirl.com/general-2. ^
  9. “Tribal and US Census.” United States Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://usindigenousdata.org/tribes-and-the-us-census. ^
  10. Rodriguez-Lonebear, Desi. “NCAI Urges Tribes to Tell the Census Bureau What Data Is Vital for Them from the 2020 Census.” United States Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d2633cb0ef5e4000134fa02/t/5d896574059ce74b5283c077/1569285494152/Tribes+and+the+Census+9-20-2019+Tribes+Need+to+Tell+Census+What+Data+Is+Vittal-FIN.pdf. ^
  11. “Biography.” Desi Rodriguez-Lonebear. Accessed April 20, 2020. https://www.desirl.com/about. ^
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