Civil Rights for Indigenous Groups: Native Americans, Alaskans, and Hawaiians

Native Americans have long suffered the effects of segregation and discrimination imposed by the U.S. government and the larger white society. Ironically, Native Americans were not granted the full rights and protections of U.S. citizenship until long after African Americans and women were, with many having to wait until the Nationality Act of 1940 to become citizens.Theodore Haas. 1957. “The Legal Aspects of Indian Affairs from 1887 to 1957,” American Academy of Political Science 311, 12–22. This was long after the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, which granted citizenship to African Americans but not, the Supreme Court decided in Elk v. Wilkins (1884), to Native Americans.Elk v. Wilkins, (1884)112 U.S. 94. White women had been citizens of the United States since its very beginning even though they were not granted the full rights of citizenship. Furthermore, Native Americans are the only group of Americans who were forcibly removed en masse from the lands on which they and their ancestors had lived so that others could claim this land and its resources. This issue remains relevant today as can be seen in the recent protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which have led to intense confrontations between those in charge of the pipeline and Native Americans.

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