Washington : Government Printing Office
|Public Law 90-256||Navajo-Ute Boundary Dispute Act.|
|Sec. 3||62 Stat. 968.|
|Sec. 4||Intent of Congress.|
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the "Navajo-Ute Boundary Dispute Act".
The consent of the United States is hereby given to either or both the Navajo Tribe of Indians and the Ute Mountain Tribe of the Ute Mountain Reservation to bring suit against each other, and against any other tribe of Indians, persons, or entities, to quiet the beneficial title in and to such lands in the State of New Mexico as are common to the description contained in article II of the treaty concluded June 1, 1868, between the United States and the Navajo Nation or Tribe of Indians and proclaimed August 12, 1868 (15 Stat. 667), setting apart certain lands for the use and occupation of the Navajo Tribe of Indians, and to the description contained in section 3 of the Act approved February 20, 1895 (28 Stat. 677), setting apart certain lands for the sale and exclusive use and occupancy of the Southern Ute Indians described therein. The United States asserts no beneficial claim to or interest in such land, acknowledges that it holds the legal title to the land in trust, recognizes that the beneficial title cannot be litigated without the consent of the United States, and consents to litigation between the two Indian tribes only in order that their conflicting claims of beneficial title may be conclusively determined. The United States shall not be joined as a party defendant in the litigation, and nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize a claim against the United States. The Secretary of the Interior shall administer the land in accordance with the judicial determination of beneficial title.
Any action commenced pursuant to section 2 of this Act shall be heard and determined by a .district court of three judges in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, in accordance with the provisions of title 28, United States Code, section 2284, and, subject to the provisions of section 4 of this Act, any party may appeal as of right directly to the Supreme Court of the United States from the final determination by such three judge district court.
It is hereby declared to be the intent and the objective of the Congress that the relative rights and interests of all parties making claims against each other in and to the surface and the subsurface of the lands identified in section 2 of this Act be judicially determined in accordance with such principles as may be just and fair in law and equity, including a consistent award or awards or release or releases to either or both the Navajo Tribe and the Ute Mountain Tribe of the Ute Mountain Reservation of such bonus sums, rentals, and royalties, or other moneys paid or received on account of the leasing of any portion of such lands and now held in a joint account in the Treasury of the United States pursuant to the agreement dated May 9, 1957, between the two tribes, approved by the Area Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In furtherance of the accomplishment of this intent and the attainment of this objective, the parties are hereby authorized to enter into a settlement agreement, in which provision may be made for a recognition in perpetuity of their relative rights to use and to enjoy the surface and the subsurface of the lands identified in section 2 of this Act, including the division of any and all such bonus sums, rentals, and royalties, or other moneys paid or received on account of the leasing of any portion of said lands for any purpose or purposes. Such settlement agreement may be embodied in and be made a part of any decree of the court, which thereupon shall be final and conclusive with respect to the rights and interests of all parties.
Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to be a congressional determination of the merits of the conflicting tribal, individual Indian, or other claims with respect to the lands that are the subject of this Act.
Approved, February 14, 1968.