1924: Sovereignty, Leadership, and the Indian Citizenship Act

February 17, 2024-February 2, 2025

On June 2, 1924, Congress enacted the American Citizenship Act, granting citizenship to all American Indians born in the United States. Shortly after this act, Spokane announced it would host the first American Indian Congresses in 1925. These were some of the first events where tribal leaders, government officials, and community members from around the United States gathered to formally participate in talks on rights and advocacy. 

This exhibition commemorates this 100-year anniversary, centering on early local tribal leadership as they and their people navigated the sometimes-conflicting nature of being both U.S. citizens and citizens of their own sovereign nations.


The camp for delegates to the 1925 Indian Congress. Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture L97-13.52

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Header image: L-R: Chief William Yallup, Mrs. William Yallup, Tom Yallup - Son of Chief, 1925. Frank Guilbert, Photographer. Photograph from the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture Frank Guilbert Collection (L97-2.3)