86 years after the Indian Citizenship Act, indigenous communities are challenging the notion of what it is to be a U.S. citizen. In June of 1924 the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act. Controversial for its time, the Act recognized the citizenship of U.S. indigenous people.
Prior to 1924, individuals in the indigenous community were only granted citizenship if they served in the military, denounced tribal affiliations, or assimilated into American society. Those opposed to the 1924 Act wanted indigenous citizenship policies to remain the same however, and in some places inequality persisted. Until 1947 Native Americans did not have the right to vote in Arizona and New Mexico.
Now indigenous communities organize alongside immigrant rights supporters in Arizona to oppose nativist laws.
In an April 24 letter to governor Jan Brewer, Robert Warrior, the Osage president of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association states,
“S.B. 1070 will have tremendous negative impacts on indigenous people on both sides of the border between the United States and Mexico, and it ought to go without saying that some of the people most impacted by this invidious law are descended from peoples who lived in the Sonoran Desert centuries before anyone even thought of the United States. Regardless of proximity or descent, though, the new law is morally wrong and panders to the worst currents in U.S. politics.”