INDIAN AFFAIRS: LAWS AND TREATIES

Vol. I, Laws     (Compiled to December 1, 1902)

Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler. Washington : Government Printing Office, 1904.


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ACTS OF FIFTY-FOURTH CONGRESS—FIRST SESSION, 1896.
CHAP. 14 | CHAP. 141 | CHAP. 242 | CHAP. 398

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Chapter 398

Margin Notes
Chap. 398 Indian affairs. Superintendents of schools may act as agents.
    [29 Stat., 323.]
Chap. 398 to give bond.
Chap. 398 Payments to Indians, per capita.
    [29 Stat., 336.]
Chap. 398 Commission to Five Civilized Tribes.
    [29 Stat., 339.]
    1897, June 7, c. 3, post, p. 87.
    1898, June 28, c. 517, post, p. 90.
Note c Allotments to Cherokee, Creeks, Choctaw, and Seminole.
Note c Allottees to be deemed citizens.
Note c Survey of allotted lands.
Note c Rights of United States to cease.
Note c Negotiations with the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory.
Note c Commission to be appointed.
Note c Salaries, etc., of commissioners.
Note c Secretary, stenographer, and interpreter.
Note c Surveyor, etc.
Note c Regulations, etc.
Note c Duties of commission.
Note c As to allotment of lands in severalty to Indians.
Note c Cession of other lands to United States.
Note c Agreements for investment, etc.
Note c Power and objects of the commission.
Note c Reports.
Note c Available.
Note c Right of sovereignty of the United States not waived, etc.
Note c Commission to negotiate for lands of civilized Indians.
Note c Additional members.
Chap. 398 authority continued.
Chap. 398 Applications for citizenship.
Chap. 398 to be made in 3 months.
Chap. 398 to be decided in 90 days.
Chap. 398 rules of decision.
Chap. 398 Present tribal rolls confirmed.
    Post p. 88.
Chap. 398 Powers of commission.
Chap. 398 Appeal to U. S. court.
    1902, ch. 1362, post p. 777.
Chap. 398 limitation.
Chap. 398 judgment final.
Chap. 398 Roll of tribal citizenship.
    Post p. 88.
Chap. 398 to be filed in Indian Office.
Chap. 398 of freedmen.
Chap. 398 Reporton lease etc.
Chap. 398 Government to be established in Indian Territory.
Chap. 398 Leases by allottees permitted.
    [29 Stat., 340.]
Chap. 398 Homestead settlers’ payments extended one year.
    [29 Stat., 342.]
Chap. 398 Indian Territory. Survey of lands.
    [29 Stat., 343.]
Chap. 398 by Geological Survey.
Chap. 398 rectangular system, etc.
Chap. 398 Plats, field notes, etc.
Chap. 398 effect.
Chap. 398 Inconsistent laws.
Chap. 398 Boundary monuments.
Chap. 398 cost limited.
Chap. 398 Injuring survey posts, etc., forbidden.
Chap. 398 penalty.
Chap. 398 Fines; informer.

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Chapter 398
    June 10, 1896. | 29 Stat., 321.
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An act making appropriations for current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department and fulfilling treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and ninety-seven, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted, &c.,a * * * That the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, may devolve the duties of any Indian agency upon the superintendent of the Indian training school located at such agency, whenever in his judgment such superintendent can properly perform the duties of such agency.


aThe first three paragraphs of this act are identical with those of 1895, March 2, chapter 188, and with corresponding provisions of previous acts.

And the superintendent upon whom such duties devolve shall give bond as other Indian agents.

That any sums of money hereafter to be paid per capita to individual Indians shall be paid to said Indians by an officer of the Government designated by the Secretary of the Interior.b


bSee the similar but more elaborate provisions of 1895, March 2, chapter 188, section 11 (ante, p. 76).

For salaries and expenses of the Commissioners appointed under Acts of Congressc approved March third, eighteen hundred and ninety-three, and March second, eighteen hundred and ninety-five, to negotiate with the Five Civilized Tribes in the Indian Territory, the sum of forty thousand dollars, to be immediately available;


cThe acts here referred to, 1893, March 3, chapter 209, sections 15, 16 (27 Stat., 645), and 1895, March 2, chapter 189 (28 Stat., 939), conferred upon the Commission no powers beyond those of negotiation and report, and for that reason were excluded from the plan of this work as temporary and special. The act in the text for the first time confers upon the Commission powers of an executive character, besides declaring a policy in regard to the government of the Indian Territory. For its better understanding, those parts of the acts of 1893 originally constituting the Commission, and 1895 authorizing the continuance of its work, are here given as follows:

“SEC. 15. The consent of the United States is hereby given to the allotment of lands in severalty not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres to any one individual within the limits of the country occupied by the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles;

“and upon such allotments the individuals to whom the same may be allotted shall be deemed to be in all respects citizens of the United States.

“And the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated to pay for the survey of any such lands as may be allotted by any of said tribes of Indians to individual members of said tribes;

“and upon the allotment of the lands held by said tribes respectively the reversionary interest of the United States therein shall be relinquished and shall cease.

“SEC. 16. The President shall nominate and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint three commissioners to enter into negotiations with the Cherokee Nation, the Seminole Nation, the Chickasaw Nation, the Muscogee (or Creek) Nation; the Seminole Nation, for the purpose of the extinguishment of the national or tribal title to any lands within that Territory now held by any and all of such nations or tribes, either by cession of the same or some part thereof to the United States, or by the allotment and division of the same in severalty among the Indians of such nations or tribes, respectively, as may be entitled to the same, or by such other method as may be agreed upon between the several nations and tribes aforesaid, or each of them, with the United States, with a view to such and adjustment, upon the basis of justice and equity, as may, with the consent of such nations or tribes of Indians, so far as may be necessary, be requisite and suitable to enable the ultimate creation of a State or States of the Union which shall embrace the lands within said Indian Territory.

“The commissioners so appointed shall each receive a salary, to be paid during such time as they may be actually employed, under direction of the President, in the duties enjoined by this act, at the rate of five thousand dollars per annum, and shall also be paid their reasonable and proper expenses incurred in prosecution of the objects of this act, upon accounts therefor to be rendered to and allowed by the Secretary of the Interior from time to time.

“That such commissioners shall have power to employ a secretary, a stenographer, and such interpreter or interpreters as may be found necessary to the performance of their duties, and by order to fix their compensation, which shall be paid, upon the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, from time to time, with their reasonable and necessary expenses, upon accounts to be rendered as aforesaid;

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“and may also employ, in like manner and with the like approval, a surveyor or other assistant or agent, which they shall certify in writing to be necessary to the performance of any part of their duties.

“Such commissioners shall, under such regulations and directions as shall be prescribed by the President, through the Secretary of the Interior, enter upon negotiation with the several nations, of Indians as aforesaid in the Indian Territory,

“and shall endeavor to procure,

“first, such allotment of lands in severalty to the Indians belonging to each such nation, tribe, or band, respectively, as may be agreed upon as just and proper to provide for each such Indian a sufficient quantity of land for his or her needs, in such equal distribution and apportionment as may be found just and suited to the circumstances; for which purpose, after the terms of such an agreement shall have been arrived at, the said commissioners shall cause the lands of any such nation or tribe or band to be surveyed and the proper allotment to be designated; and,

“secondly, to procure the cession, for such price and upon such terms as shall be agreed upon, of any lands not found necessary to be so allotted or divided, to the United States;

“and to make proper agreements for the investment or holding by the United States of such moneys as may be paid or agreed to be paid to such nation or tribes or bands, or to any of the Indians thereof, for the extinguishment of their [title] therein.

“But said commissioners shall, however, have power to negotiate any and all such agreements as, in view of all the circumstances affecting the subject, shall be found requisite and suitable to such an arrangement of the rights and interests and affairs of such nations, tribes, bands, or Indians, or any of them, to enable the ultimate creation of a Territory of the United States with a view to the admission of the same as a State in the Union.

“The commissioners shall at any time, or from time to time, report to the Secretary of the Interior their transactions and the progress of their negotiations, and shall at any time, or from time to time, if separate agreements shall be made by them with any nation, tribe, or band, in pursuance of the authority hereby conferred, report the same to the Secretary of the Interior for submission to Congress for its consideration and ratification.

“For the purposes aforesaid there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury of the United States, the sum of fifty thousand dollars, to be immediately available.

“Neither the provisions of this section nor the negotiations or agreements which may be had or made thereunder shall be held in any way to waive or impair any right of sovereignty which the Government of the United States has over or respecting said Indian Territory or the people thereof, or any other right of the Government relating to said Territory, its lands, or the people thereof.” (1893, March 3, ch. 209, 27 Stat. L., 645.)

“For continuing the work of the Commission appointed under section sixteen of the Act entitled `An Act making appropriations for current and contingent expenses, and fulfilling treaty stipulations with Indian tribes for fiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and ninety-four,’ approved March third, eighteen hundred and ninety-three, including the unexpended balance of the present appropriation, thirty thousand dollars, to be immediately available;

“and the President is hereby authorized to appoint two additional members of said Commission, who shall receive the compensation and expenses provided in said Act for members of said Commission;

Provided, That so much of said Act as authorizes the employment of a stenographer and a surveyor, or other assistant or agent, is hereby repealed.” (1895, March 2, ch. 189, 28 Stat. L., 939.)* * *


and said commission is directed to continue the exercise of the authority already conferred upon them by law and ende avor to accomplish the objects heretofore prescribed to them and report from time to time to Congress.

That said commission is further authorized and directed to proceed at once to hear and determine the application of all persons who may apply to them for citizenship in any of said nations, and after such hearing they shall determine the right of such applicant to be so admitted and enrolled:

Provided, however, That such application shall be made to such Commissioners within three months after the passage of this Act.

The said commission shall decide all such applications within ninety days after the same shall be made.

That in determining all such applications said commission shall respect all laws of the several nations or tribes, not inconsistent with the laws of the United States, and all treaties with either of said nations or tribes, and shall give due force and effect to the rolls, usages, and customs of each of said nations or tribes:

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And provided, further, That the rolls of citizenship of the several tribes as now existing are hereby confirmed, and any person who shall claim to be entitled to be added to said rolls as a citizen of either of said tribes and whose right thereto has either been denied or not acted upon, or any citizen who may within three months from and after the passage of this Act desire such citizenship, may apply to the legally constituted court or committee designated by the several tribes for such citizenship, and such court or committee shall determine such application within thirty days from the date therof.

In the performance of such duties said commission shall have power and authority to administer oaths, to issue process for and compel the attendance of witnesses, and to send for persons and papers, and all depositions and affidavits and other evidence in any form whatsoever heretofore taken where the witnesses giving said testimony are dead or now residing beyond the limits of said Territory, and to use every fair and reasonable means within their reach for the purpose of determining the rights of persons claiming such citizenship, or to protect any of said nations from fraud or wrong, and the rolls so prepared by them shall be hereafter held and considered to be the true and correct rolls of persons entitled to the rights of citizenship in said several tribes:

Provided, That if the tribe, or any person, be aggrieved with the decision of the tribal authorities or the commission provided for in this Act, it or he may appeal from such decision to the United States district court:d


dThe court here referred to is the United States court in the Indian Territory, established by 1889, March 1, chapter 333 (ante, p. 39), and whose powers were enlarged by 1890, March 2, chapter 182, sections 29–43 (ante, p. 47). The holding of the court in separate districts was provided for, and the number of judges increased, by 1895, March 1, chapter 145 (ante, p. 70).

Provided, however, That the appeal shall be taken within sixty days, and the judgment of the court shall be final.

That the said commission, after the expiration of six months, shall cause a complete roll of citizenship of each of said nations to be made up from their records, and add thereto the names of citizens whose right may be conferred under this Act, and said rolls shall be, and are hereby, made rolls of citizenship of said nations or tribes, subject, however, to the determination of the United States courts, as provided herein.

The commission is hereby required to file the lists of members as they finally approve them with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to remain there for use as the final judgment of the duly constituted authorities.

And said commission shall also make a roll of freedmen entitled to citizenship in said tribes and shall include their names in the lists of members to be filed with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

And said commission is further authorized and directed to make a full report to Congress of leases, tribal and individual, with the area, amount and value of the property leased and the amount received therefor, and by whom and from whom said property is leased, and is further directed to make a full and detailed report as to the excessive holdings of members of said tribes and others.

It is hereby declared to be the duty of the United States to establish a government in the Indian Territory which will rectify the many inequalities and discriminations now existing in said Territory and afford needful protection to the lives and property of all citizens and residents thereof.e


eFor review of laws relative to the Indian Territory see 1889, March 1, chapter 333, notea (ante, p. 39).

That whenever it shall be made to appear to the Secretary of the Interior that by reason of age, disability, or inability, any allottee of

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Indian lands under this or former Acts of Congress can not personally and with benefit to himself occupy or improve his allotment or any part thereof the same may be leased in the discretion of the Secretary upon such terms, regulations, and conditions as shall be prescribed by him, for a term not exceeding five years for farming or grazing purposes, or ten years for mining or business purposes. * * *

That the homestead settlers on all ceded Indian reservations be, and they are hereby, granted an extension of one year in which to make payments as now provided by law. * * *

Surveying lands in the Indian Territory: For the completion of the survey of the lands in the Indian Territory, two hundred thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, to be immediately available:

Provided, That the surveys herein authorized, or any part of them, in the Indian Territory shall be made under the supervision of the Director of the Geological Survey by such persons as may be employed by or under him for that purpose.

And such surveys shall be executed under instructions to be issued by the Secretary of the Interior, and subdivisional surveys shall be executed under the rectangular system, as now provided by law:

Provided further, That when any surveys shall have been so made and plats and field notes thereof prepared, they shall be approved and certified to by the Director of the Geological Survey, and two copies thereof shall be returned, one for filing in the Indian Office and one in the General Land Office;

and such surveys, field notes, and plats shall have the same legal force and effect as heretofore given to the acts of surveyors-general:

Provided further, That all laws inconsistent with the provisions hereof are hereby declared to be inoperative as respects such surveys:

Provided further, That hereafter, in the public land surveys of the Indian Territory, iron or stone posts shall be erected at each township corner, upon which shall be recorded the usual marks required to be placed on township corners by the laws and regulations governing public land surveys; also, that similar monuments shall be established at the corners of the townships that have been already surveyed by the Geological Survey:

And provided further, That the entire cost and transportation of such monuments to the Indian Territory shall not exceed five thousand dollars, and the cost of the setting of the monuments in the areas already surveyed shall not exceed two thousand five hundred dollars:

Provided further, That hereafter it shall be unlawful for any person to destroy, deface, change, or remove to another place any section corner, quarter-section corner, or meander post, on any Government line of survey, or to cut down any witness tree or any tree blazed to mark the line of a Government survey, or to deface, change, or remove any monument or bench mark of any Government survey.

That any person who shall offend against any of the provisions of this paragraph shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof in any court shall be fined not exceeding two hundred and fifty dollars, or be imprisoned not more than one hundred days.

All the fines accruing under this paragraph shall be paid into the Treasury, and the informer in each case of conviction shall be paid the sum of twenty-five dollars. [June 10, 1896.]


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