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The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924

On June 2, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed into law a very brief act stating “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.”


Gary C. Stein 

On June 2, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed into law a very brief act stating “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.”[1]

There already existed many ways by which most American Indians had become citizens by 1924: through allotments under the Dawes Act of 1887, and later the Burke Act of 1906; through marriage to a white citizen; and through treaties or any of a number of special acts of Congress covering either specific tribes or individual Indians. Since there were only about 125,000 non-citizen Indians living in the United States, there was little excitement over the passage of the act of June 2, despite the fact that Homer P. Snyder of New York, the Congressman who had introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the House Committee on Indian Affairs, called it “perhaps one of the leading bills enacted into law during this session .... A most constructive measure.”[2]

It is not clear, however, why the bill that gave one‑third of the American Indian population the right of citizenship received so little attention at the time. The early 1920’s saw great agitation for reform of Indian policy. The Bursum Pueblo Land Bill, proposed in 1922, had thrown the Indian problem once more before the nation. Out of the controversy that ensued, the American Indian Defense Association was formed in 1923 the older Indian Rights Association was reorganized in the same year; and, in “an orgy of muckraking,” the plight of the Indian was brought to the attention of the American people in countless articles appearing in national magazines between 1922 and 1924. It would be logical to assume that the Indian Citizenship Act was a result of this public agitation, and perhaps the Indian reform movement did in some manner influence Congress to pass such legislation. Yet so few of the Indian reformers actually endorsed the act‑-or mentioned it at all, for that matter-‑that their activity alone does not account for its passage.

The question of whether Indian reform associations actually promoted the Indian Citizenship Act will be discussed more fully later. It is but one of the mysteries surrounding a bill which no one really seemed to understand at the time of its enactment, and which, as time passed, became shrouded in confusion, misunderstanding, and outright neglect on the part of writers on United States Indian policy. This study is an attempt to state the problems of interpreting the Indian Citizenship Act, and, perhaps, to find a thread that will tie together the people and processes involved in its enactment.

Since there was little debate on the passage of the Indian Citizenship Act, it is best, for background, to follow its progress through the first session of the Sixty‑eighth Congress. On December 17, 1923, two bills were introduced in the House of Representatives by Gale H. Stalker of New York (H. R. 3936), and Edgar Howard of Nebraska (H. R.). The two bills had identical titles‑"a bill for making all Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States citizens.” Both were referred to the House Committee on Indian Affairs and never heard of again.[4]

Then, on January 29, 1924, the bill (H. R. 6355) that was to become the Indian Citizenship Act was introduced in the House by Homer P. Snyder of New York and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. The proposed bill stated:

That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized, in his discretion, under regulations to be prescribed by him, to issue a certificate of citizenship to any noncitizen Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States who may make application therefor, and upon the issuance of such certificate to any Indian, he or she shall become a full citizen of the United States: Provided, that the issuance of a certificate of citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property.[5]

The bill was returned to the House in February, accompanied by House Report 222, which contained a letter from Hubert Work, Secretary of the Interior, who approved the proposed legislation and recommended that it receive “the early and favorable consideration of. . . the Congress.” Secretary Work also added a summary of the methods by which Indians could become citizens under existing laws.[6] The bill was passed by the House on March 18 with slight amendment, sent to the Senate the following day, and referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.[7]

The Senate Committee’s amendments to the bill, set forth in Senate Report 441 of April 21, 1924, drastically altered its form. The Committee eliminated the whole clause relating to the issuance of certificates of citizenship at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, and substituted the wording: “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.” The Committee argued that “as a large number of other Indians had become citizens under various acts of Congress, it was only just and fair that all Indians be declared citizens.”[8] With the Senate amendments it was, in effect, a new bill. It was passed by the Senate on May 15 and submitted for House agreement to the Senate amendments.

In the House, on May 23, the only question on the Indian Citizenship Act arose when Finis J. Garrett of Tennessee asked if the legislation would affect state voting regulations. Snyder assured Garrett that it was “not the intention of the law to have any effect upon the suffrage qualifications in any State.” It simply made the Indian “an American citizen, subject to all restrictions to which any other American citizen is subject, in any State.”[9] Thereupon, the Senate amendments were accepted, and the bill, still noted in the Congressional Record as “an act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to issue certificates of citizenship to Indians,” but automatically conferring blanket citizenship, was presented to the President of the United States on May 26 and signed into law on June 2.[10]

At first glance, the legislation of the Indian Citizenship Act seems to have been extremely simple, but simplicity can mean confusion. The early 1920’s saw renewed public interest in, and pressure for, Indian reform.[11] The question is whether Indian reform associations influenced Congressional enactment of Indian citizenship. The available evidence does not provide a completely affirmative answer.

There were only two items actually presented to Congress that have any bearing on Indian citizenship, and these were not explicitly presented by Indian reformers. In the summer of 1923 the Secretary of the Interior had appointed a Committee of One Hundred to study the Indian problem, and on January 7, 1924, Congressman Snyder presented the Committee’s report for House approval of its printing as a public document. The Committee of One Hundred had included “scholars, scientists, Indian uplifters, and heads of the various Indian societies,” and its report contained a consideration of Indian citizenship.[12] The Committee was aware of “organizations, clubs, mass meetings, and the like... where much oratory was loosed and resolutions were adopted demanding 'citizenship for Indians."' The Committee of One Hundred, however, did not endorse such legislation, although it realized that “it is quite probable an Indian citizenship bill will be passed by Congress in the near future.”[13] Twenty‑two days later, Homer P. Snyder introduced House Resolution 6355.

The Committee of One Hundred had little to do with the citizenship act passed by Congress. At the conference the Committee had held in Washington in December 1923, “debate on citizenship tended . . . to a deadlock between those who asked universal emancipation and those who advocated swaddling clothes.”[14] It is quite possible, however, that Congressman Snyder heeded the Committee’s advice that any Indian citizenship legislation should “contain a provision which will continue Federal protection of tribal relations, Indian property, and Indian legal and treaty rights.”[15] The providing clause of the final citizenship act, the only part of the bill introduced by Snyder left intact by the Senate, was meant to protect these very rights.


The second documented presentation to Congress concerning Indian citizenship came on May 31, 1924, when Senator Frank B. Willis of Ohio offered for consideration “a petition of citizens of Columbus, Ohio, praying the enactment of legislation granting citizenship to Indians.”[16] Who these citizens of Columbus were, or what their petition entailed, is not clear. The petition was referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, but it was already a dead issue. The Indian Citizenship Act, approved by both the House and Senate, had been sent to the President five days earlier.

Articles appearing in national magazines at the time add little information about the role played by Indian reformers in the enactment of Indian citizenship. After 1922, during the years when the Indian reform movement reached its height, a rash of articles appeared depicting, and proposing various remedies for, the plight of the American Indian. One magazine, Sunset, “from November, 1922 until June, 1924, had only six issues without at least one leading article denouncing the Indian Bureau.”[17] Most of the writers in these magazines concerned themselves, to some extent at least, with Indian citizenship, although not all of them were knowledgeable on the subject. Louise B. LaBella, for instance, asked in 1923, “is the Indian a citizen? Our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our laws, and the decisions of our courts, all say he is a citizen.”[18]

John Collier, Executive Secretary of the American Indian Defense Association and later Commissioner of Indian Affairs, was more informed about the legal status of the Indians and seemed to ask for a citizenship act in August 1923, when he argued that

the elementary rights guaranteed to other Americans by the Constitution or by long‑established tradition should be insured to the Indians through statute. They include the . . . right to speak freely, to practice one’s own religion, to form associations, to communicate with one’s friends and to move freely about the country.[19]

Elizabeth S. Sergeant, in an article appearing on January 16, 1924, denounced the Committee of One Hundred for its failure to endorse Indian citizenship legislation by using the same arguments employed “against the emancipation of women and Negroes.” She felt, as Collier did, that the Indians required “some sort of restricted citizenship or guardianship, which, while protecting the Indian’s property, would nevertheless give him personal dignity, enable him to use his spiritual and material estate to advantage, and make his own choices.”[20]

In February 1924, while the Indian Citizenship Act was being considered by the House Committee on Indian Affairs, Herbert J. Spinden of the Peabody Museum at Harvard, a member of the American Indian Defense Association, argued against Indian citizenship on the grounds that the Indian “has not developed politically sufficiently to justify his being... turned loose as an American citizen .... The bulk of the Indians... would form a dangerous mass of alien stock in our political system if they were given the privileges of citizenship.” Rather than give them vague rights which would only achieve “greater profits for someone else,” it would be better that the Indians remain protected wards of the Federal Government.[21]

One more magazine should be mentioned. The Indian Rights Association, originally formed in 1881 and reorganized in 1923 to join in the general agitation for Indian reform, began publishing Indian Truth in February 1924. The Association, through contacts in Washington, received information on the progress of the Indian Citizenship Bill in Congress. Yet between February and June it simply reported the bill, and said little more about reform agitation than: “forty years ago the Indian Rights Association began to advocate citizenship for Indians, and continued to do so until it was an accomplished fact.”[22]

From the foregoing, some tentative conclusions can be reached about the reformers’ role in the enactment of Indian citizenship in 1924. It is apparent that all Indian reformers, in the event that citizenship legislation should come before Congress, urged a provision that would protect Indian tribal and property rights. Those who opposed Indian citizenship did so in a desire, not to prevent Indians from attaining further rights, but to protect them from those elements in white society that would take advantage of the Indians' release from Federal wardship. It was no accident, therefore, that the citizenship bill introduced in the House, and the act as it was finally passed, contained a provision that citizenship would not impair already existing Indian property rights. Moreover, the Supreme Court had, in 1916, decided that citizenship was not incompatible with wardship.

Although this aspect of reformers' proposals evidently influenced the writing of the bill that Congressman Snyder introduced, reform influence in the actual granting of citizenship is not so discernible. The proposal to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to issue certificates of citizenship at his discretion may have resulted from a desire on the part of the House to enact the “restricted citizenship” advocated by Elizabeth Sergeant and others. This does not in any manner explain why the bill was passed at all in 1924, or why the Senate made such substantial changes in its wording and intent.

Two explanations have generally been given as to why Indians received citizenship in 1924. An article by Francis A. Blanchard in 1923 may have been the forerunner of the first of these: the commonly held belief that Indians received citizenship for their service in World War I. Blanchard told the story of a Sioux Indian who had had trouble registering for the draft in 1918 because he was neither an alien nor a citizen of the United States. He was finally registered and fought overseas, but “upon his return he went back to the reservation to the same civil status he held before. Such is the story of many of our Indian veterans of the World War.”[23] The theory that Indians received citizenship as a reward for military service has been popularized by many writers on Indian policy, and it received official endorsement in a report submitted to Congress in 1925 which stated that

in 1917 the Indians were called upon to fight for the Nation. Responding with a spirit unequalled by the white or black citizens, and without regard to citizenship, they furnished 77,000 soldiers . . . . As a reward, they were enfranchised in 1924.[24]

A few more examples will suffice to show how this supposition has persisted to the present day. In an introduction to a symposium arranged by the American Association on Indian Affairs, John Collier, then Commissioner of Indian Affairs, wrote: “In 1924, expressly in recognition of their World War services, full citizenship was voted to all Indians by Congress.”[25] William T. Hagan made the same point: “As a reward for their services Congress made all Indians citizens.”[26] And Vine Deloria, Jr., an Indian himself, has recently written that

the response of the young Indians to service in World War I was so overwhelming that it even shamed Congress. After the end of the First World War there was considerable pressure to pass a general citizenship statute for Indians. Finally, in 1924 a simple one-paragraph law was passed giving blanket citizenship.[27]

This theory can be disposed of very quickly. The above writers, in their eagerness to provide a logical explanation for the Indian Citizenship Act, seem to have overlooked the fact that Congress had, through an act of November 6, 1919, already enabled Indians who served in the army or navy during World War I, and who had been honorably discharged, to become citizens. True, the process of becoming citizens under this act was inadequate and optional Indians concerned were to be granted citizenship by “courts of competent jurisdiction”[28] and few cared to take advantage of it. Yet the law had existed since the end of the war, and it hardly seems likely that Congress would take further action five years later. Then, too, there is no mention in either the Congressional Record or the House and Senate Committees' reports of the Indians’ service during the war.

The second reason usually given for the passage of the Indian Citizenship Act is that it was done for purely political purposes. Jennings C. Wise, an attorney for various Indian tribes, wrote that after Calvin Coolidge succeeded to the presidency:

though . . . Congress was not disposed to deal with the Indian problem in a serious way, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the Hon. Chas. H. Burke, . . . was aware that there were sufficient Indians in Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, and New Mexico to determine the political complexion of those states in the next election. At any rate it was deemed wise to extend the franchise to all the Indians. Accordingly, on June 2, 1924, Congress passed the . . . law.[29]

This statement is full of fallacies. The act of June 2 was a citizenship act and not, as Wise would have it, an act to enfranchise all the Indians. The discussion in the House on May 23 made it unmistakably clear that state suffrage qualifications were not to be affected by the new law. Wise also mentions six states whose Indian populations could determine the consequences of the election in 1924 once they received the franchise. But in three of these states‑-Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona‑-the Indian Citizenship Act had no real effect on suffrage. Indians in Oklahoma had been granted citizenship by an act of Congress in 1901 [30] and already possessed voting rights. Indians in Arizona and New Mexico, who had become citizens under the act of June 2, 1924, were not given voting rights until 1948.[31] It is true that politicians sponsored “rallies and barbecues, Democratic, Republican, and Progressive on the reservations” where the new citizens were able to vote,[32] but this seems to have been a logical result of the citizenship act rather than the reason for the legislation.

If Indian citizenship was enacted neither as a reward for past military service nor to insure future votes,[33] why, then, was the Indian Citizenship Act passed? This once again brings up the question of who was responsible for the act as it finally emerged. Indian reformers did not force the bill through Congress. A Santa Fe newspaper (and because of the Bursum Bill New Mexico had been one of the centers of reform agitation) maintained that the citizenship act “appeared out of clear sky in Congress.”[34]

The key to the measure lies in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, where inveterate Progressives forged an act to strike a blow at big bureaucracy in the way earlier Progressive legislation had struck at big business. All the later controversy over the actwhether it affected wardship, what voting rights it granted, how it was to better the Indians' situation, etc. has obscured the fact that it was basically a piece of Progressive legislation to curb the authority of the Interior Department and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Progressivism had not died after the defeat of Wilsonian idealism in 1920. The country had been promised normalcy under Harding and Coolidge, but this did not mean that Progressive reforms would not emerge from Congress. In fact, one historian has noted that

various progressive coalitions controlled Congress for the greater part of the 1920’s and were always a serious threat to the conservative administrations that controlled the executive branch. Because this was true, most of the legislation adopted by Congress during this period, including many measures that historians have inaccurately called reactionary, was progressive in character.[35]

Such a coalition is especially evident in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, where seven out of the eleven members were most definitely Progressives, including the Progressive Party’s candidate in the 1924 presidential election‑Robert M. LaFollette. LaFollette had served on both the House and Senate Committees on Indian Affairs, where he had fought the intrusion of railroad, timber, and coal interests onto Indian lands, and he always felt an acute interest in the welfare of Indians.[36] LaFollette’s running‑mate in the 1924 election, Burton K. Wheeler, once an attorney for the Flathead Indians in Montana (a tribe affected by the Indian Citizenship Act), was also on the Senate Committee, as were Lynn J. Frazier of North Dakota, Charles L. McNary of Oregon, Henry F. Ashurst of Arizona, C. C. Dill of Washington, and Robert L. Owen of Oklahoma, all of whom attended the Progressive conference called at Washington by LaFollette in December 1922.[37]

It was this Progressive‑dominated Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that changed House Resolution 6355 into a blanket Indian Citizenship Act in 1924. When, in December 1923, Congressmen Stalker and Howard introduced their bills to make “all Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States citizens”—wording very similar to the citizenship act finally passed in 1924 [38]—they were considered too reactionary, and were never reported out of the House Committee on Indian Affairs. Congress seems to have been waiting for the report of the Secretary of the Interior’s special Committee of One Hundred, which also met in Washington in December 1923. The report of this Committee, submitted to the House in January 1924, maintained that Indian citizenship legislation, while desirable, would be imprudent unless existing rights the Indians enjoyed under Federal wardship were protected. In conjunction with this report were the articles by Indian reformers, arguing for government protection of Indians under a type of “restricted citizenship.”

These adverse reports killed the Stalker and Howard resolutions, but Snyder’s introduction of House Resolution 6355 at the end of January seemed to triumph over all the arguments against Indian citizenship. By authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to grant certificates of citizenship to such Indians as might apply for them, the act would allow the Department of the Interior to regulate citizenship in such a way that the rights of individual Indians would be protected. In cases where these rights might be jeopardized, the Secretary of the Interior could, “in his discretion,” deny citizenship.

In the Senate Committee the Indian Citizenship Act was amended to change it to legislation which, under its own force, conferred blanket citizenship on all Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States. This was not meant, however, as a piece of social legislation; instead, it was regulatory in nature. It was certainly true that something had to be done about Indian citizenship. Too much public agitation over Indian Affairs could hurt all parties in Congress. An Indian citizenship act would be passed eventually‑even the Committee of One Hundred was aware of that‑and the bill sent to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs provided Progressives with the additional opportunity of placing one more effective restraint on government bureaucracy.

The Progressives on the Senate Committee were afraid of extending to the Interior Department the amount of power implied by the citizenship act as it came out of the House. The Secretary of the Interior, Hubert Work, had assumed office in March 1923. Although he seemed capable and desirous of improving the condition of the American Indians, the Bureau of Indian Affairs had been under constant attack for its complicated bureaucracy and seemingly inept administration.[39] And few Progressives could forget Work’s predecessor in the Interior Department. Albert Fall and Teapot Dome were memories too recent to be ignored.[40] No Secretary of the Interior would be allowed to wield unchecked power in any matter, and the section of the act passed by the House that allowed the Secretary to issue certificates of citizenship “under regulations to be prescribed by him” must have seemed particularly odious

So Progressives curbed the power of the Interior Department by an unusual piece of regulatory legislation. Granting automatic citizenship to all Indians would prevent anyone in the Interior Department or the Bureau of Indian Affairs from profiting as a result of unjust citizenship regulations, would hopefully reduce bureaucratic inefficiency, and might possibly even cause some embarrassment to the administration should the House refuse to accept the Senate amendments.

If a Republican‑dominated House‑-and this dominance was reflected in the House Committee on Indian Affairs‑-was in any way averse to agreement on the bill as returned by the Senate, political reality must have soon shown the Congressmen that they had little choice: either the Indian Citizenship Act, as amended, would be passed before Congress ended its session in time for the Republican National Convention in early June, or the Republicans would have to face an inevitable storm of protest from Indian reformers. Although reformers had not openly advocated the act‑-indeed, few seemed to know of it at all‑-if the news were spread that the House would not agree to complete Indian citizenship when such legislation was actually before Congress, political consequences could prove damaging.[41] Accordingly, the first subject brought up in the House on May 23, 1924, was the Indian Citizenship Act, and, with slight discussion of its possible effect on state suffrage qualifications, the Senate amendments were accepted.

With the signing of the Indian Citizenship Act by President Coolidge on June 2, it seemed as if the Progressives had won another victory; yet, at the very time it was passed, the act was immediately forgotten or terribly vilified.[42] Certainly, citizenship did little to improve the condition of the American Indians. Life on the reservations continued much as before. Even the Progressives' hope that the act would curb the power of the Bureau of Indian Affairs seemed thwarted. The Board of Indian Commissioners, in its annual report for 1924, called the Indian Citizenship Act “a challenge to the Government to intensify its Indian Service activities.”[43] That later Congresses accepted this challenge can be seen from the recent argument that “the granting of citizenship ... expanded, rather than limited, the BIA’s control. New resources were put at the Bureau’s disposal, and new programs guaranteed further extension of the Bureau’s reach into every aspect of the Indians' individual and communal lives.”[44]

And yet, all the controversy, valid or invalid, that has surrounded the Indian Citizenship Act since it was passed in 1924, has only obscured the motive behind the bill. From the available evidence, the Indian Citizenship Act seems to have been formed in the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs as regulatory legislation by Progressives who thought that through such an act Indians would enjoy the rights and privileges of American citizens, while being protected in their new rights from the rapacity of unscrupulous politicians. Even if the Progressives failed to realize their objective, the act was the culmination of the process by which American Indians became American citizens. For this act of justice, the Progressive influence was unknown at the time, unheralded by Indian reformers, and unrewarded in historical literature.


1. 43 Stat. L., 253.

2. U.S., Congress, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, Congressional Record., LXV, p. 10778.

3. Randolph C. Downes, “A Crusade for Indian Reform, 1922‑1934,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review, vol. 32 (1945), p. 337. See, for instance, the debate between Mary Austin and Flora W. Seymour, “Our Indian Problem,” Forum, vol. 63 (1924), pp. 273‑88, for the range of feeling on the part of some writers of these articles.

4. U.S., Congress, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, Congressional Record, LXV, p. 347­.

5. Ibid., pp. 1665, 4446.

6. U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Indian Affairs, Certificates of Citizenship to Indians, H. Rept. 222 To Accompany H. R. 6355, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, pp. 2‑3­.

7. U.S., Congress, 68th Cong., st sess., 1924, Congressional Record, LXV, Pp. 4446,  Senate, Journal, March 19, 1924, p. 217­.

8. U.S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Indian Affairs, To Authorize the Secretary of the Interior to Issue Certificates of Citizenship to Indians, S. Rept. 441 To Accompany H. R. 6355, 68th Cong., 1St sess., 1924, pp. I, 3­.

9. U.S., Congress, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, Congressional Record, LXV, P. 9303.

10. Ibid., pp. 9304, 9576, 10341. The failure to change the title of the act was “the result of a clerical error which has been the source of considerable misunderstanding.” Felix S. Cohen, Handbook of Federal Indian Law (Albuquerque, 1971), p. 82.

11. Some of the causes of this renewed interest in Indian reform can be found in Hazel W. Hertzberg, The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan‑American Movements (Syracuse, 1971), pp. 200‑02.

12. U.S., Congress, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, Congressional Record, LXV, P. 638. For the full membership of the Committee of One Hundred (officially, the Advisory Council on Indian Affairs), see Hubert Work, Indian Policies: Comments on the Resolutions of the Advisory Council on Indian Affairs (Washington, D.C., 1924), p. v. The list includes prominent public figures, such as Bernard Baruch, William Jennings Bryan, General John J. Pershing; journalists, such as William Allen White; anthropologists, such as Alfred L. Kroeber and Clark Wissler; members of the Board of Indian Commissioners; leaders of Indian reform associations, such as John Collier of the American Indian Defense Association and Matthew K. Sniffen of the Indian Rights Association; Indian leaders, such as Arthur C. Parker, Charles Eastman, and Thomas L. Sloan; religious leaders of all faiths; and, as one writer put it, “all sorts of other elements.” Elizabeth S. Sergeant, “The Red Man’s Burden,” New Republic, vol. 37 (Jan. 16, 1924), p. 199. See also Hertzberg, pp. 202‑04, The Committee’s membership was impressive, and there were hopes that it would accomplish much in the way of constructive suggestions for future Indian policies, but there was such divergence of background, interest, and outlook, that the compromise resolutions were tame compared to the expectations of the reformers.

13. U.S., Congress, House, The Indian Problem: Resolution of the Committee of One Hundred Appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, and a Review of the Indian Problem. H. Doc. 149, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, p. 40­.

14. Sergeant, p. 200. Secretary Work listed Congressional legislation relating to Indians in an attempt to indicate the effectiveness of the Committee of One Hundred’s resolutions, the Indian Citizenship Act being included in the list. Work, pp. 14‑16. Yet Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian who had been president of the Society of American Indians (a once powerful Indian reform group already declining in the 1920’s), and chairman of the Committee of One Hundred, wrote in an open letter to the New York Times: “The committee did not approve of a resolution to extend immediate citizenship to all Indians and the bestowal of all the privileges of citizenship. This was not from a desire to withhold liberty from the red men or deny them a God‑given freedom that every American should have, but to protect them from the rapacity of certain elements that prey upon those unable to protect themselves.” New York Times, Jan. 20, 1924, sec. 8, p. 8.

15. H. Doc. 149, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, p. 40­.

16. U.S., Congress, Senate, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, Journal, May 31,1924, p. 406.

17. Downes, P. 337. There is no evidence that the articles in Sunset fell off because the Indian Citizenship Act was passed. Downes does not mention the act at all in his article.

18. Louise B. LaBella, “The American Indian, his Progress and his Needs,” Education, vol. 43 (1923), p. 418.

19. John Collier, “America’s Treatment of her Indians,” Current History, vol. 18 (1923), P. 780.

20. Sergeant, P. 200. See also the letter of Arthur C. Parker, arguing for “protected citizenship.” New York Times, Jan. 20, 1924, sec. 8, P. 8.

21. Herbert J. Spinden, “What About the Indian?” World’s Work, vol. 47 (1924), P. 384­.

22. Indian Truth, vol. i (1924), P. 5­.

23. Francis A. Blanchard, “The Deplorable State of Our Indians,” Current History, vol. 18 (1923), p.6.

24. U.S., Congress, Senate, presentation of “A Plea for the Indian Citizens of the United States,” by Jennings C. Wise, for insertion into the Congressional Record, 69th Cong., 1st sess., Dec. 15, 1925, Congressional Record, LXVII, P. 820.

25. Oliver LaFarge, ed., The Changing Indian (Norman, 1942), p. 5­.

26. William T. Hagan, American Indians (Chicago, 1961), p. 148.

27. Vine Deloria, Jr., ed., Of Utmost Good Faith (San Francisco, 1971), p. 94­.

28. H. Rept. 222, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, p. 2.

29. Jennings C. Wise, The Red Man in the New World Drama (Washington, D.C., 1931), p. 553. Wise, incidentally, was the author of the report presented in Congress on December 15, 1925, which explained the Indian Citizenship Act as a reward for the Indians' service in World War I.

30. 31 Stat. L., 1447; H. Rept. 22.2, 68th Cong., 1st sess., 1924, p. 3­.

31. Deloria, p.94.

32. Chauncey S. Goodrich, “The Legal Status of the California Indian,” California Law Review, vol 14 (1926), p. 83. There was also a bit of newspaper publicity concerning the prospective voters. See Editorial, New York Times, June 7, 1924, p. iz; “Indians to Vote Next Election Day,” ibid., Sept. 7, 1924, sec. 9 p. 6; “Western Montana likes LaFollette,” ibid., Oct. , 1924, p. 2; and “Flatheads and Crows to Vote for Coolidge,” ibid., Oct. 24, 1924, p. 3.

33. Other explanations for the Indian Citizenship Act have been attempted. For instance, the argument that the act was part of a policy for “unloading responsibility for the Indian on the states,” appears in Goodrich, pp. I 8o‑8,. The explanations that the act was either a reward for military service or a design for political advancement are the more generally accepted motives behind the legislation.

34. Editorial, Santa Fe New Mexican, June 5, 1924, p. 4.

35. Arthur S. Link, “What Happened to the Progressive Movement in the 1920’s?” American Historical Review, vol. 64  p. 850­.

36. LaFollette worked against railroad and timber interests during his first and second terms in the House. The fight against coal companies moving into Indian Territory took place during his first term in the Senate (1906). See Robert M. LaFollette, LaFollette’s Autobiography: A Personal Narrative of Political Experiences (Madison, Wis., 'i3), pp. 377, 379‑80; Belle C. LaFollette and Fola LaFollette, Robert M. LaFollette (New York, 1953), v01. “Pp. 64, 8 1‑82, 209‑11.

37. “Western Montana likes LaFollette,” New York Times, Oct. 4, 1924, p. 2. For the Washington Progressive Conference, see LaFollette and LaFollette, vol. z, p. 1067. See also Margaret Garretson Szasz, “Indian Reform in a Decade of Prosperity,” Montana, the Magazine of Western History, vol. 10 (1970), pp. 16‑27, for a discussion of the Progressives' role in Indian reform in the 192.0’s. This article overlooks the Progressives' influence on the Indian Citizenship Act.

38. It was noted later that the act as passed by the Senate had been amended “to conform to a previous measure, declaring all Indians to be citizens of the United States.” Indian Truth, vol. z (1924), p. 2.

39. The attack on the Bureau of Indian Affairs which increased almost to the crisis point in the 1920’s is evident in national magazine articles of the decade. Mary Austin, for instance, in her answer to Flora Warren Seymour’s defense of the Indian Bureau in Forum, March 1924, denounced “the dreary and discreditable muddle of them [Indian Affairs] in the hands of the Bureau which has undertaken to manage them.” Miss Austin was most critical of the maladministration of Indian education and public health policies. Austin and Seymour, pp. 285, 288. Letters to the editors of Forum, in response to the Seymour‑Austin debate, generally agreed with the latter. Alfred M. Tozzer, Curator of Middle American Archaeology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum, noted “that inefficiency has marked the record of our Indian Bureau.” “Our Duty to the Indians: A Symposium,” Forum, vol. 71 (1924), p. 552. See also Hertzberg, pp. 200‑02; and Szasz, p. zo. Some sort of citizenship‑restricted or total‑was seen by some as the panacea for misdirection of Bureau policies.

40. Two members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Robert M. LaFollette and John B. Kendrick, were members of the Public Lands Committee that had investigated naval oil reserve leases in 1922‑1923, following the Teapot Dome scandal. LaFollette and LaFollette, vol. z, p. 1051. Albert Fall was also involved in the controversy over the Bursuin Bill. See Hertzberg, p. 200.

41. The Indian Rights Association and the American Indian Defense Association were not the only Indian reform groups in the country. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs had a Division of Indian Welfare, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Anthropological Association, among others, had committees eagerly working for Indian reform. The lobbying power, not to mention the number of votes probably controlled by these groups, was undoubtedly great. There was also much public sentiment for the Indians at the time, as is evident from Forum’s “Our Duty to the Indians,” pp. 551‑57.

42. John R. Brown asked, “Is it anything more than a piece of constitutional legalism which will only complicate a situation now so intricate as to divide students and men of practical affairs into different camps of understanding and policy?” “Citizens‑and Wards too,” Survey, vol. 54 (April 15, 1925), p. 95. Jennings C. Wise, p. 554, wrote that the act “perpetuated an ill‑defined politico‑legal status for which in the law of human relations there is no precedent."

43. U.S., Department of Interior, Annual Report of the Board of Indian Commissioners to the Secretary of the Interior, for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1924 (Washington, D.C., 192.4), p. 2­.

44. Edgar S. Cahn, ed., Our Brother’s Keeper: The Indian in White America (New York, 1969), p.6.