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Letter from Chief Matt Semple to Mr. President of the House, July 14, 1919

In this letter to the Speaker of the House, Chief Matt Semple writes that a resolution to grant citizenship to American Indians who served in World War I would be greatly appreciated. Many American Indians, however, were unconvinced that citizenship would benefit them and did not apply for citizenship under the terms of the 1919 act.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

Letter from Chief Matt Semple to Mr. President of the House, July 14, 1919

Serving the Nation: American Indians

Though they were not granted the rights of U.S. citizenship, approximately 10,000 American Indian men volunteered to serve in World War I. In recognition of their wartime service, Congress passed the Citizenship Act of 1919, conferring citizenship upon American Indian World War I veterans. In 1924 Congress approved legislation to grant citizenship to all American Indians. More than 40,000 American Indians served in World War II.

Be it enacted, . . . That every American Indian, who served in the Military or Naval Establishments of the United States during the war . . . shall . . . be granted full citizenship with all the privileges pertaining thereto.

H.R. 5007, An Act Granting Citizenship to Certain Indians, September 27, 1919