Indian Country 52 #22 – Indian Citizenship
“On this day in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed into law the Indian Citizenship Act, which granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States, thousands of whom had served in the armed forces during World War I.
While the 14th Amendment had defined citizens as any person born in the United States, it only covered persons “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” That clause had been interpreted as excluding indigenous peoples.
By the late 1930s, however, seven states were still refusing to grant Indians voting rights. Their reasons, they said, were that Indians were exempt from paying real estate taxes and lived on lands controlled by the federal government. By 1947, all states with large Indian populations, save Arizona and New Mexico, had extended voting rights to Native Americans who had qualified under the 1924 Act. Finally, in 1948, the last two holdouts were obliged to withdraw their bans on Indian voting in light of federal court rulings.
The paternalistic Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 also continued to shape U.S. policy toward Native Americans. Under this act, the federal government redistributed tribal lands to heads of families in 160-acre allotments. The proceeds from these sales were used to establish Indian schools. By 1932, the sale of both unclaimed land and allotted acreage resulted in the loss of two-thirds of the 138 million acres that Native Americans had held prior to enactment of the Dawes Act.”
– Politico, President Calvin Coolidge signs Indian Citizenship Act, June 2, 1924.
Download the 18″x24″ poster (.pdf), Indian Country 52 #22 – Indian Citizenship.
Indian Country 52
Indian Country 52 is a weekly project by David Bernie that uses the medium of graphic design by creating posters that promote issues and stories in Indian Country.
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This work by David Bernie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You may download, share, and post the images under the condition that the works are attributed to the artist.