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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Native organizations commemorate 100th anniversary of Citizenship Act

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Friday, May 31, 2024   

Sunday marks 100 years since the United States granted citizenship to all Native Americans. North Dakota voices are observing the milestone, and highlighting the challenges that still exist.

In 1924, what's now known as the Snyder Act was signed into law. Historians say a key element of the act was establishing voting rights for Indigenous people.

Jody DeLong, a social science instructor at Turtle Mountain Community College, said it came after a number of Natives signed up for military service and fought in World War I. Despite efforts to afford them more rights, he said Natives were still shut out of the democratic process for a long time.

"Even though the act was passed, in the Constitution it states that the states have the right to determine who's an eligible voter within their state," he said, "and it wasn't until some 40 years later that every state made it allowable for Native Americans to vote."

Today, he points to restrictive rules that still make voting difficult, including North Dakota's Voter ID law. Some regional tribes have gone to court over redistricting matters.

Advocacy organizations across the nation encourage Native people to educate themselves about the Snyder Act, hopefully inspiring them to become civically engaged.

DeLong, a board member for North Dakota Native Vote, said the act also paved the way for Indigenous populations to gain representation in state legislatures and Congress. He said many tribal areas still struggle with poverty and other issues, but he alludes to the collective energy being seen to put more Natives in positions of power.

"We get to vote for leaders that are going to represent our values, protect our culture and promote our people," he said.

DeLong acknowledged that being recognized as U.S. citizens has helped Natives overcome stereotypes, with many living and working in non-tribal communities. He said that visibility has opened the door for non-Natives to have a more empathetic view of those with tribal ancestry and realize their contributions.

Disclosure: North Dakota Native Vote contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Housing/Homelessness, Livable Wages/Working Families, Native American Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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