Indian Citizen Act of 1924

By | Jun 2, 2012

On June 2, 1924 President Calvin Coolidge signed into law the Indian Citizen Act of 1924. The act granted citizenship to all native American Indians who had been born in the United States or their Territories.

Prior to this Indians held a strange status. While some had acquired citizenship by marriage, or through military service many still were not American citizens. Nor under Federal Law at the time could they go through the naturalization process.

During this period in US history there was a movement to absorb the native population into the American mainstream. The leadership of the county hoped to assimilate them.

The act was simple and read: “BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and house of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all non citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided That the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property.”

Even with the passage of the act, many states still did not allow Native Americans to vote, especially those in the west. The last three states that granted this right were Maine, Arizona and New Mexico. And this was not until after the end of World War II.

While the act gave the Native American citizenship, it was not thought as something wonderful by the Native Americans. Through over 150 years of seeing how they were treated, and lied to by the government they had little confidence in them.


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