Indigenous People and Latinos to be Counted Separately

Kevin A. Thompson
September 27, 2023

(Photo: Juan, Guajiro inhabitant of Sonora del Sur, Mexico)

When Indigenous people do not exist in data, it is a violation of our human rights, so declares Ms. Odilia Romero, executive director of Comunidades Indigenas en Liderazgo (CIELO).

Ms. Romero was responding to recent California Senate Bill 435, that will count Indigenous residents separately from Latino categories. 

Latino/as make up 40%, or almost half, of California’s population and are a  dominant part of the state’s economy. An unofficial number of these Latino/as are actually Indigenous people from Mexico and Central America.

Senate Bill 435 passed both houses of the legislature and Governor Newsom is expected to sign it into law by October 1, 2023. The bill will fund collecting data on Indigenous people, in order to address health disparities and provide services to people who speak Indigenous languages, and not Spanish or English. 

Seventy percent of California farmworkers are Mexican and a large number of them are Indigenous. 

Health disparities can not be addressed if Indigenous people are not being counted. 

Source: “Bill Heads to CA Gov Newsom’s Desk to Disaggregate Data for Latinos and Indigenous Residents,” by Sunita Sohrabi, Ethnic Media, 09/22/2023.