Not all Native Americans viewed citizenship as something wonderful. Their experiences in dealing with Washington and the states did not give them much confidence in the government or desire to participate in it. Some tribes feared they would have to give up their own sovereignty and the federal government would deny its treaty obligations. In the words of one Native American:
"United States citizenship was just another way of absorbing us and destroying our customs and our government. How could these Europeans come over and tell us we were citizens in our country? We had our own citizenship. By its [the Citizenship Act of 1924] provisions all Indians were automatically made United States citizens whether they wanted to be so or not. This was a violation of our sovereignty. Our citizenship was in our nations."
On the other hand, there were Native Americans who saw voting as a right that had been denied to them too long. Maine was one of the last states to overturn state legal barriers to Indian voting. That rankled Henry Mitchell, an Indian canoe maker:
"The Indians aren't allowed to have a voice in state affairs because they aren't voters. All they [the politicians] have to do out there is to look out for the interests of the Indians. Just why the Indians shouldn't vote is something I can't understand. One of the Indians went over to Old Town once to see some official in the city hall about voting. I don't know just what position that official had over there, but he said to the Indian, 'We don't want you people over here. You have your own elections over on the island, and if you want to vote, go over there.'"
Did the 1924 Act really mean the end of the journey in the Native American's march to equality or was it merely a rest stop? By the time the 1924 Citizenship Act was passed, two-thirds of all Indians had already gained citizenship. And while all Native Americans were now citizens, not all states were prepared to allow them to vote. Western states, in particular, engaged in all sorts of legal ruses to deny Indians the ballot. It was not until almost the middle of the 20th century that the last three states, Maine, Arizona and New Mexico, finally granted the right to vote to Indians in their states. And the policies of the federal government towards American Indians continued to change and evolve.