Photo above: Prohibition Era Brewery. Courtesy National Archives. Right: Photo montage, images courtesy Library of Congress.
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June 2, 1924 - All Indians are designated citizens by legislation passed in the U.S. Congress and signed by President Calvin Coolidge. The Indian Citizenship Act granted this right to all Native Americans that had been born within the territory of the United States.
After World War I and the assimilation of Indian soldiers into military units where they performed with admirable service, members of the Federal Government and Congress began to consider the idea of making Native Americans citizens. In the military, Native American soldiers were not segregated into Indian only units, as African Americans were.
One important service by Native American troops in World War I were the nineteen members of the Choctaw Code Talkers (photo above of six members), who, because many of the dialects of the Choctaw language were obselete and unheard of by German translators, became coded messengers after radio transmissions of traditional codes had been broken.
There had also been citizenship granted to various groups of Native Americans through military service, treaties, or marriage to white men, which covered, by 1924, nearly 2/3 of all Native Americans. The 1924 act granted citizenship to all Native American born in the United States. The amount of citizens that this act actually covered is widely speculated; between 125,000 to 300,000. It did not, however, effectively control what rights that conferred in various states, even though federal law seemed to state otherwise, therefore some were still denied voting rights in various states until 1948. The reading of the act included only those born after 1924; the Nationality Act of 1940 corrected that, including all Native Americans born on U.S. soil.
Text of Indian Citizenship Act (Snyder Act)
"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. (Approved June 2, 1924)"
Timeline of Indian Citizenship
Prior to the Civil War - Citizenship granted only to those Native Americans with less than one half Indian blood.
Reconstruction - Citizenship granted to some friendly Indian tribes. Many tribes were granted these rights through the Treaty of February 23, 1867.
Act of February 8, 1887 stated that Indians allotted land under the act would also become citizens of the United States and the state of residence.
August 9, 1888 - Most women married to U.S. citizens granted citizenship.
November 6, 1919 - Native American veterans of World War I granted citizenship.
Source: Photos above. Choctaw Code Talkers courtesy Choctaw Nation and choctawcodetalkersassociation.com; Alaska Native Americans, National Archives and Records Association. Text Indian Citizenship Act - Nebraskastudies.org. Other information - Indian Affairs, Laws and Treaties, Vol. IV, Laws (Compiled to March 4, 1927), Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler. Washington : Government Printing Office, 1929; Choctawcodetalkersassociation.com.