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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Immigration
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Immigration Native American
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United States Citizenship for the Native American

By 1900, the Native American population in the United States had dwindled to approximately 250,000. The perceived diminishing of a “Native American threat” to white prosperity sometimes relegated Native Americans to little more than a novelty act. For example, Thomas Edison’s turn-of-the-century films such as Buffalo Dance, Sioux Ghost Dance, and the Sham Battle at the Pan-American Exposition documented traditional performances created for the interest and amusement of people attending an ethnic village in a World’s Fair. Meanwhile, materials such as the 1898 film, Indian Day School, and the 1923 map of Indian Reservations West of the Mississippi River documented the harsh new realities of Native American culture.

On June 2, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill granting Native Americans full citizenship. Coolidge posed with four Osage Indians in front of the White House to commemorate the event.

Three years later, the president’s photo opportunities included wearing a suit and feathered headdress when he was made a Sioux Chief as well as standing in front of the White House with some veterans of the Indian Wars.



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