100 Years of Progress: Celebrating the Centennial of the Indian Citizenship Act and the Ongoing Journey for Native American Rights and Sovereignty

By Trish Svoboda

June 2 marked the centennial of the Indian Citizenship Act, which recognized Native Americans as U.S. citizens. This initiated a journey towards Native American freedom and self-determination that continues today. Despite challenges, Native Americans have strived to secure their rights and responsibilities as U.S. citizens while preserving tribal sovereignty.

Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, is one of the first two Native women sworn into the United States Congress. In a column for ICT News, Davids stated that although the act was a significant step forward for tribal sovereignty, it didn’t stop states from enacting laws that excluded Native communities.

Despite the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, which aimed to eliminate racial discrimination in voting, Native voters still encounter numerous obstacles on election day. To address this, Davids introduced the Native American Voting Rights Act in Congress to ensure Native voices are fairly represented at the ballot box.

“As the Indian Citizenship Act acknowledged, the Native American story is the American story. If we continue to push forward together — celebrating the enduring Native culture, art, and traditions that have shaped our country — the next century of our shared history will be even greater than the last,” said Davids.

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