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U.S. census to start on a dog sled in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska |
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - When the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 population count officially kicks off on Monday, the roughly 600 residents of a remote Inupiat Eskimo village in Alaska are due to be the first citizens to be tallied.
The start of the census will be the riverside settlement of Noorvik in northwestern Alaska. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves is set to fly into the area on Monday, and will be ferried from the local airport by dog sled, Noorvik Mayor Bobby Wells said.
The first citizen selected to be counted in the 2010 census -- an 89-year-old Noorvik resident and World War II veteran -- will be paid a home visit.
"What an honor to be the first," Wells said. "Our community really pulled in and supported this census event."
To welcome Groves, Alaska Lieutenant Governor Craig Campbell and other dignitaries, there will be a traditional native feast featuring caribou, moose and beaver meat as well as other fare such as turkey and ham, the mayor said.
The official census is mandated every 10 years by the U.S. Constitution. The results are used to determine congressional districts, each state's seats in the House of Representatives and the allocation of federal funds and services.
Traditionally, the count has been launched in rural Alaska, where villages vie for the honor. The 2000 census started in Unalakleet, an Inupiat village on the Bering Sea coast that is an important checkpoint in the Iditarod sled dog race.
(Editing by Bill Rigby and Will Dunham)
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