Edna Paisano (1948-2014)

Edna was born Jan. 1, 1948, in Lewiston (Idaho, US) in the Nez Percé. tribe. Paisano attended school in Lapwai, graduating from Lapwai High School in 1966. After graduation from high school she attended Boise State University, then Boise Junior College. Edna completed two years at Boise, then transferred to the University of Washington, where she received her bachelor’s degree in 1971. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Edna continued her education at the University of Washington, working toward a master’s of social work, which she received in 1973.

Native Americans rights

Following graduation, Edna left for Washington, D.C., where she began a long career working with the federal government. Edna’s first job was with Office of Head Start, working with Indian tribes throughout the United States. After two years in the job with Head Start, Edna went to work for the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census, Racial Statistics, Population Division as principal statistician, where she stayed for 20 years. During her time at the Census Bureau, Edna was the individual responsible for developing enumeration formulas that changed the way tribes were funded by federal programs. Edna always had the needs of Native people in her heart, and she used her talents and intellect to achieve her goals to assist all of her people.

During her career at the Census Bureau, Edna published many books through her work – “We the American-Asians” in 1993; “We the American-Pacific Islanders” in 1993; and “We the First Americans” in 1989, to name a few..


While attending her junior year at the University of Washington she was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis, which caused her to be hospitalized most of her junior year. But she did not let this deter her from completing her educational goals.. Edna lived her life courageously, never letting her physical disabilities hold her back.


Edna Paisano: estadística para ayudar a su pueblo