©2020 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
We will begin today’s essay with a question, and end with a couple more for further consideration….
Question: Can the United States have a Treaty with its own citizens?
On June 2, 1924, the United States granted full American citizenship to individual Indians through the American Indian Citizenship Act (43 Stat. 253). The action was in recognition of the many Native Americans who had served in the armed forces during World War I, some giving the ultimate sacrifice. It was also known as the Indian Freedom Citizenship Suffrage Act of 1924 and 1925, and the Snyder Act.
Think about the individual Tribal inheritance under the concept of American Indian citizenship as discussed by a Tribal member here.
The fundamentals of being a citizen of this great country offer all of us the same rights, privileges, constitutional protections, and self-determination promised by our Creator, our Founders, and the Constitution.
American citizenship could also be seen as the logical outcome of the Treaties, when viewed as documents that were intended to eventually incorporate the native people into America, offering them the self-determination and life, liberty, and happiness as other citizens.
The treaties offered individuals Indians, and assembled as a Tribal organization, a purposeful sovereignty–to protect their cultures and manage their own affairs; not a territorial sovereignty–to exercise jurisdiction over a geographical area or institutions not related to their own affairs. At its core, ‘sovereignty’ is self-determination. Remember the three sovereigns in the Constitution are the United States, the States, and the People–American citizens.
We argue that the same pathway that was envisioned for Americans by our Founders was envisioned for individual Indians. Do we, as individual citizens have treaties with the United States? No, but we have a Constitution and system of government through which to protect those rights guaranteed by our Creator and through our Constitution.
Do individual American citizens get to act like governments in themselves telling everyone else what to do, or are they bound to their county, state, and national governments?
So we end this very brief foray into Treaties with these two questions, in light of the 1924 American Indian Citizenship Act,
- Have the Treaties already been implemented by the United States and the real and alleged violations of the Treaties been accounted and paid for by the United States Indian Claims Commission and Court of Claims?
- How was the promise and benefits of individual Indian citizenship derailed or hijacked so that Tribal governments are now able to routinely deny individual Indians their constitutional protections, civil rights, and inheritance?
Is this consistent with self-governance and self-determination?
And who will enforce this unlawful assumption of Tribal authority? Thanks Lake County! This is not cooperation, this is capitulation.
Maybe we need South Dakota Governor Christi Noem?