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To mark the 100th anniversary of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced a new print and digital awareness campaign to commemorate the centennial. 

The ads will launch today and run through the end of the month, and will reach Native communities in Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, and Wisconsin through a digital campaign and through print ads in local and national Native-owned publications. 

While the ads commemorate this important centennial, they also highlight the barriers to the ballot box that continue to persist for Native Americans. They highlight the critical work of Native communities, in partnership with Democrats, to support tribal communities in fully exercising their right to vote ahead of the critical 2024l election cycle. 

As part of the awareness campaign, the DNC will release and distribute civic engagement and voter protection guides in seven different Native languages; Apache, Ho-Chunk, Hopi, Navajo, Paiute, Shoshone, and Zuni. The guides highlight resources for registering to vote, casting a ballot, and addressing obstacles to voting. 

“On the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the Indian Citizenship Act, we celebrate this historic milestone that granted citizenship to all members of federally recognized Tribal Nations,” DNC Chair Jaime Harrison said. “As we mark this centennial anniversary, we also recognize that even with the passage of the Citizenship Act, Native Americans were still barred from exercising their voting rights for at least another 40 years. One hundred years later, many Native Americans still face barriers to the ballot box – it’s unacceptable. That is why we are releasing voter education guides to equip tribal communities, in the languages they speak, with the ability to get to the polls this November and make their voices heard in an election that will determine whether we re-elect Joe Biden – who is fighting for equal rights, opportunity, and investments in Native communities – or if we risk another four years of Trump and his attacks on Native communities’ rights.” 

“As the first and original peoples of this land we have had only a century of recognized citizenship and we continue to face systematic barriers when exercising the fundamental and hard-fought-for right to vote,” DNC Native Caucus Chair Clara Pratte said. “We need to bring awareness. We must support and invest in culturally relevant resources, such as the translated voting guides which can help ease the gap in participation, but we also need everyone to encourage their relatives and friends to check their voter registration status or register to vote. Indigenous voters are a crucial part of our democracy." 

In 2021, President Biden signed an executive order directing the federal government to provide nonpartisan election-related information and opportunities for engagement to Native communities, and establishing the Interagency Steering Group on Native American Voting Rights. The following year, the Biden-Harris administration released a report by the Interagency Steering Group that found there is still much work to be done and presented best practices and recommendations to mitigate and eliminate the barriers Native voters encounter. 

At the direction of President Biden, the Interior Department’s two post-secondary schools, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute and Haskell Indian Nations University, and two of the Health and Human Services Department’s Indian Health Service sites, located in Phoenix, Arizona and Santa Fe, New Mexico, became federally designated voter registration sites under the 30-year-old National Voter Registration Act.

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Join us in celebrating 100 years of Native citizenship. On June 2, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act, granting Native Americans US citizenship, a pivotal moment in their quest for equality. This year marks its centennial, inspiring our special project, "Heritage Unbound: Native American Citizenship at 100," celebrating their journey with stories of resilience, struggle, and triumph. Your donations fuel initiatives like these, ensuring our coverage and projects honoring Native American heritage thrive. Your donations fuel initiatives like these, ensuring our coverage and projects honoring Native American heritage thrive.

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