Apsáalooke Youth Create Murals to Encourage Tribal Members to Take Census

JoRee LaFrance, Apsáalooke, 2020 Aspeninstitute SOAR Fellow, and 2018 Generation Indigenous Movement Builders Fellow, collaborated with Apsáalooke artists Ben Pease to create a mural which displays Apsáalooke colors and designs that would help bridge arts and civic engagement and get tribal members interested in completing the #2020Census. 


“Ben Pease is creating a mural at ammaaíisshiwuua in Crow Agency that will display Apsáalooke colors and designs and remind people that #WeCount yesterday, today, and tomorrow,” said LaFrance. ” I wanted to bridge arts and civic engagement by using our creativity to amplify our voices to speak about important tools that bring resources back to our communities.”

LaFrance and Pease collaborated with five youth artists and with the support of the Center for Native American Youth, each youth participant received all supplies necessary to create their own mural and concept to bring awareness to the 2020 Census.

Quotes from the youth participants:

Vann (22) – “My mural is taken from a photograph showing a few of the young daughters of my great grandparents, Max Big Man and Cordelia Spotted Tail Big Man. I wanted to depict something in my mural that was real and personal to me. Knowing that these young girls have many descendants today is a truth to our resiliency. We owe it to those before us, and those that will follow us, to stand up and be counted.”

Whitney (13)  – “We are here! We count!”

Journey (10) – “This painting means a lot to me because I’m thankful for what I have, thankful for my family, and that I am able to do this. I did the red hand print for my cousin KyMani and the sunflower represents him, too. The horses are moving to greener pastures, too. We’re still here. I’m still here. We count.”

Keenan (17) – “I wanted to show an old Chief watching over our tribe as they move camp to remind us that we must continue to watch over one another, protect our land, and that we are moving toward a good future. #WeAreStillHere #WeCount”

Hadley (14) – “In this painting, I have two Crow warriors returning to camp from hunting. I want people to know that we can go out and do what we need to do but we will always come back to our homelands. We have to take care of each other and our land. We have to make sure we are counted in our own home. #2020Census”

Below is a video of Ben Pease walking us through his process and explaining what he envisions the final product to be. Follow his Instagram page for more updates and to see the finished mural.


The 2020 Census will ask a few short questions about you and everyone who is or will be living with you as of April 1, 2020.

For the very first time, you have the option to choose to complete the census online, by phone, or by mail. You can visit https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.htmlfor answers to your questions or by visiting http://wecount.uihi.org

It only takes 10 minutes to define the next 10 years for Indian Country. Please, complete the census today. Do it for the future generations.