Indian Citizenship Act of 1924

Thomas' Legion
Introduction & How to Use this Site
Cherokee Chief William Holland Thomas
American Civil War HOMEPAGE
American Civil War
American Civil War Blog
Causes of the Civil War : What Caused the Civil War
Organization of Union and Confederate Armies: Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery
Civil War Navy: Union Navy and Confederate Navy
American Civil War: The Soldier's Life
Civil War Turning Points
American Civil War: Casualties, Battles and Battlefields
Civil War Casualties, Fatalities & Statistics
Civil War Generals
American Civil War Desertion and Deserters: Union and Confederate
Civil War Prisoner of War: Union and Confederate Prison History
Civil War Reconstruction Era and Aftermath
American Civil War Genealogy and Research
Civil War
American Civil War Pictures - Photographs
African Americans and American Civil War History
American Civil War Store
American Civil War Polls
NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY
North Carolina Civil War History
North Carolina American Civil War Statistics, Battles, History
North Carolina Civil War History and Battles
North Carolina Civil War Regiments and Battles
North Carolina Coast: American Civil War
HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA
Western North Carolina and the American Civil War
Western North Carolina: Civil War Troops, Regiments, Units
North Carolina: American Civil War Photos
HISTORY OF THE CHEROKEE INDIANS
Cherokee Indian Heritage, History, Culture, Customs, Ceremonies, and Religion
Cherokee Indians: American Civil War
History of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Nation
Cherokee War Rituals, Culture, Festivals, Government, and Beliefs
Researching your Cherokee Heritage
Native American Indian History
Civil War Diary, Memoirs, Letters, and Newspapers
Civil War History
Recommended American Civil War History
Civil War Video Games
American Civil War Store: Books, DVDs, etc.

Date of Indian Citizenship

[The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, also known as the Snyder Act, was proposed by Representative Homer P. Snyder of New York and granted full U.S. citizenship to America's indigenous peoples, who were referred to as "Indians" in this Act. (The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees citizenship to persons born in the U.S., but only if "subject to the jurisdiction thereof"; this latter clause excludes certain indigence.) The act was signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge on June 2.]

INDIAN CITIZENSHIP

By the act of June 2, 1924 (43 Stat. 253, ante, 420), Congress conferred citizenship upon all noncitizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States. The text of the act follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all noncitizen 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.

Indians who are otherwise eligible to vote may not be denied that right because of their race. Their right in this respect is protected by the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which says:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

In order to exercise the right of suffrage, Indians must of course comply with the conditions equally required of other voters, and may be denied the privilege of voting if they fail to comply with the requirements of the law as to registration, payment of poll tax, or do not meet the educational or other qualifications for electors, etc., as provided by the State laws.

It will be observed that the act provides 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. Therefore, the restrictions upon the trust property—real or personal—of Indians are not removed by the passage of this act. Questions relative to the control or management of trust property are, therefore, not changed by the act but are to be handled on their own merits as heretofore.

Prior to the passage of the act of June 2, 1924, about two-thirds of the Indians of the United States were already citizens. There were a number of different provisions of law by which or under which Indians became citizens previous to June 2, 1924. Some of the most important ways of their attaining citizenship were as follows:

1. Treaty Provision.—In some of the treaties or agreements with certain tribes of Indians provision was made whereby Indians desiring to become citizens might become such by complying with certain prescribed formalities somewhat similar to those required of aliens. For example, see Articles 13, 17, and 28 of the Treaty of February 23, 1867, with various bands or tribes of Indians. (15 Stat. 513, vol. 2, 960.)

2. Allotment under the Act of February 8, 1887.—In the act of February 8, 1887 (24 Stat. 388, vol. 1, 33-38), Congress provided for the allotment of land to the Indians in severalty and in section 6 thereof declared that Indians so allotted should become citizens of the United States and of the State in which they reside. (See the language of the Act.)

3. Issuance of Patent in Fee Simple.—In the Act of May 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 182, vol. 3, 181), Congress amended the Act of February 8, 1887, so as to postpone citizenship of Indians thereafter allotted until after a patent in fee simple had been issued to said Indians. Provision was also made whereby patent in fee might be issued by the Secretary of the Interior to competent Indians before the expiration of the twenty-five-year trust period. Therefore Indians whose trust patents are dated subsequent to May 8, 1906, and who have also received their patents in fee simple have become citizens under said act of May 8, 1906.

4. Adopting Habits of Civilized Life.—Section 6 of the Act of February 8, 1887, both before and after its amendment of May 8, 1906, provided:

That every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States who has voluntarily taken up within said limits his residence, separate and apart from any tribe of Indians therein, and has adopted the habits of civilized life is hereby declared to be a citizen of the United States, and is entitled to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of such citizens, whether said Indian has been or not, by birth or otherwise, a member of any tribe of Indians within the territorial limits of the United States, without in any manner impairing or otherwise affecting the rights of any such Indian to tribal or other property.

5. Minor Children.—The Solicitor of the Interior Department has held that where Indian parents became citizens upon allotment, their minor children became citizens with them, and that children born subsequent thereto were born to citizenship.

6. Citizenship by Birth.—(a) An Indian child born in the United States of citizen Indian parents is born to citizenship. (b) Legitimate children born of an Indian woman and a white citizen father are born to citizenship.

7. Soldiers and Sailors.—Congress in the act of November 6, 1919, ante 232, provided that Indian soldiers and sailors who served in the recent World War and who have been honorably discharged might be granted citizenship by courts of competent jurisdiction. (Indian Office Circulars, Nos. 1587 and 1618.)

8. Marriage.—The act of August 9, 1888 (25 Stat. 392, vol. 1, 38), provided that Indian women who married citizens of the United States thereby became citizens of the United States. This provision is apparently inconsistent with the act of September 22, 1922 (42 Stat. 1020), and would probably be held to have been repealed by the latter act, though not specifically mentioned therein. Marriages corning within the act of August 9, 1888, and consummated before the passage of the act of September 22, 1922, would not of course be affected by the later act.

9. Special Act of Congress.—Sometimes Congress makes provision for a particular tribe of Indians or a particular group of Indians to become citizens. For instance:

(a) In the act of March 3, 1901 (31 Stat. 1447, vol. 1, 114), provision was made for the extension of citizenship to the Indians in the "Indian Territory" by amending section 6 of the act of February 8, 1887 (24 Stat. 388, vol. 1, 33). It should be observed, however, that in the act of May 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 182, vol. 3, 181), amending said section 6, the language, "and every Indian in the Indian Territory," was not included.

(b) In the act of March 3, 1921 (41 Stat. 1249-50, ante, 317), citizenship was extended to all members of the Osage tribe of Indians.

The above is not intended to be a complete list of the acts of Congress involving the citizenship of Indians, as there are a number of other laws including those affecting particular tribes, but it is believed the foregoing list or statement is sufficient to give a general idea of the main principles or rules that were involved in the determination of whether or not a particular Indian was a citizen prior to the act of June 2, 1924, supra.

Source: Washington : Government Printing Office, 1929.

Recommended Viewing: 500 Nations (372 minutes). Description: 500 Nations is an eight-part documentary (more than 6 hours and that's not including its interactive CD-ROM filled with extra features) that explores the history of the indigenous peoples of North and Central America, from pre-Colombian times through the period of European contact and colonization, to the end of the 19th century and the subjugation of the Plains Indians of North America. 500 Nations utilizes historical texts, eyewitness accounts, pictorial sources and computer graphic reconstructions to explore the magnificent civilizations which flourished prior to contact with Western civilization, and to tell the dramatic and tragic story of the Native American nations' desperate attempts to retain their way of life against overwhelming odds. Continued below...

Mention the word "Indian," and most will conjure up images inspired by myths and movies: teepees, headdresses, and war paint; Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Crazy Horse, and their battles (like Little Big Horn) with the U.S. Cavalry. Those stories of the so-called "horse nations" of the Great Plains are all here, but so is a great deal more. Using impressive computer imaging, photos, location film footage and breathtaking cinematography, interviews with present-day Indians, books and manuscripts, museum artifacts, and more, Leustig and his crew go back more than a millennium to present an fascinating account of Indians, including those (like the Maya and Aztecs in Mexico and the Anasazi in the Southwest) who were here long before white men ever reached these shores. It was the arrival of Europeans like Columbus, Cortez, and DeSoto that marked the beginning of the end for the Indians. Considering the participation of host Kevin Costner, whose film Dances with Wolves was highly sympathetic to the Indians, it's no bulletin that 500 Nations also takes a compassionate view of the multitude of calamities--from alcohol and disease to the corruption of their culture and the depletion of their vast natural resources--visited on them by the white man in his quest for land and money, eventually leading to such horrific events as the Trail of Tears "forced march," the massacre at Wounded Knee, and other consequences of the effort to "relocate" Indians to the reservations where many of them still live. Along the way, we learn about the Indians' participation in such events as the American Revolution and the War of 1812, as well as popular legends like the first Thanksgiving (it really happened) and the rescue of Captain John Smith by Pocahontas (it probably didn't).

Site search Web search

Recommended Reading: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Description: 1491 is not so much the story of a year, as of what that year stands for: the long-debated (and often-dismissed) question of what human civilization in the Americas was like before the Europeans crashed the party. The history books most Americans were (and still are) raised on describe the continents before Columbus as a vast, underused territory, sparsely populated by primitives whose cultures would inevitably bow before the advanced technologies of the Europeans. For decades, though, among the archaeologists, anthropologists, paleolinguists, and others whose discoveries Charles C. Mann brings together in 1491, different stories have been emerging. Among the revelations: the first Americans may not have come over the Bering land bridge around 12,000 B.C. but by boat along the Pacific coast 10 or even 20 thousand years earlier; the Americas were a far more urban, more populated, and more technologically advanced region than generally assumed; and the Indians, rather than living in static harmony with nature, radically engineered the landscape across the continents, to the point that even "timeless" natural features like the Amazon rainforest can be seen as products of human intervention. Continued below...

Mann is well aware that much of the history he relates is necessarily speculative, the product of pot-shard interpretation and precise scientific measurements that often end up being radically revised in later decades. But the most compelling of his eye-opening revisionist stories are among the best-founded: the stories of early American-European contact. To many of those who were there, the earliest encounters felt more like a meeting of equals than one of natural domination. And those who came later and found an emptied landscape that seemed ripe for the taking, Mann argues convincingly, encountered not the natural and unchanging state of the native American, but the evidence of a sudden calamity: the ravages of what was likely the greatest epidemic in human history, the smallpox and other diseases introduced inadvertently by Europeans to a population without immunity, which swept through the Americas faster than the explorers who brought it, and left behind for their discovery a land that held only a shadow of the thriving cultures that it had sustained for centuries before. Includes outstanding photos and maps.

 

Recommended Reading: Atlas of the North American Indian. Description: This unique resource covers the entire history, culture, tribal locations, languages, and lifeways of Native American groups across the United States, Canada, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Thoroughly updated, Atlas of the North American Indian combines clear and informative text with newly drawn maps to provide the most up-to-date political and cultural developments in Indian affairs, as well as the latest archaeological research findings on prehistoric peoples. The new edition features several revised and updated sections, such as "Self-Determination," "The Federal and Indian Trust Relationship and the Reservation System," "Urban Indians," "Indian Social Conditions," and "Indian Cultural Renewal." Continued below...

Other updated information includes: a revised section on Canada, including Nunavut, the first new Canadian territory created since 1949, with a population that is 85% Inuit; the latest statistics and new federal laws on tribal enterprises, including a new section on "Indian Gaming"; and current information on preferred names now in use by certain tribes and groups, such as the use of "Inuit" rather than "Eskimo."

 

Recommended Reading: Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. Description: One of the many ironies of U.S. government policy toward Indians in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values. As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing plantations. Such a leader was Ridge, who had fought with Andrew Jackson against the British. Continued below...

As he and other Cherokee leaders grappled with the issue of moving, the land-hungry Georgia legislators, with the aid of Jackson, succeeded in ousting the Cherokee from their land, forcing them to make the arduous journey West on the infamous "Trail of Tears." ...A treasured addition for the individual remotely interested in American Indian history as well as general American history.

Return to American Civil War Homepage

Return to top

Best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.

Site Meter