Awarded one of the first doctorates in the country for work in women’s studies (UC Santa Cruz) and a founder of one the first college-level women’s studies programs in the United States (CSU Sacramento), Dr. Wagner has taught women’s studies courses for 51 years. The Founder/Director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, she teaches in Syracuse University’s Honors Program. In March 2021, the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian featured the film, Without a Whisper which traces Dr. Wagner’s research demonstrating the Haudenosaunee influence on the suffrage movement through her friendship with Wakerakats:te, the Mohawk Bear Clan Mother.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Lucretia Mott – all pioneers of the women’s rights movement in the 19th century – drew inspiration for their vision of women as full participants in American society from the matrilineal culture of the Haudenosaunee.
While many debate the validity of the claim that the Constitution of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was a model for the United States of America’s Constitution, much evidence leads us to believe that the U.S. Constitution developed by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson was indeed influenced by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, (43 Stat. 253, enacted June 2, 1924) was an Act of the United States Congress that granted US citizenship to the indigenous peoples of the United States. While the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution defines a citizen as any persons born in the United States and subject to its laws and jurisdiction, the amendment had previously been interpreted by the courts not to apply to Native peoples.
The act was proposed by Representative Homer P. Snyder (R-NY), and signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge on June 2, 1924. It was enacted partially in recognition of the thousands of Native Americans who served in the armed forces during the First World War.
On June 2, 1924, Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act, which granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. The right to vote, however, was governed by state law; until 1957, some states barred Native Americans from voting.
The Onondaga Nation and the Haudenosaunee have never accepted the authority of the United States to make Six Nations citizens become citizens of the United States, as claimed in the Citizenship Act of 1924. We hold three treaties with the United States: the 1784 Treaty of Fort Stanwix, the 1789 Treaty of Fort Harmor and the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua. These treaties clearly recognize the Haudenosaunee as separate and sovereign Nations. Accepting United States citizenship would be treason to their own Nations, a violation of the treaties and a violation of international law, as recognized in the 2007 United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.