In the Introduction, the author relates how his own family’s experiences with Indigenous civil rights in Arizona inspired this study. Maurice Crandall, a citizen of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, became interested in Indian citizenship and voting after his own grandfather was unjustly incarcerated, without trial, as a juvenile in 1930s Arizona. By focusing on stories of Indigenous encounters with electoral politics, the author seeks to weave a narrative that challenges progressive stories of Indigenous civil rights and political participation, one that would have Indians finally and fully enfranchised thanks to the benevolence of the United States political system. Instead, this work shows how Indigenous peoples of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands were enfranchised in a variety of ways during the Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. territorial periods, always while seeking to retain community sovereignty.
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