Act of April 26, 1906

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Native American Records

Public Number 129

AN ACT To provide for the final disposition of the affairs of the Five Civilized Tribes in the Indian Territory, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That after the approval of this Act no per son shall be enrolled as a citizen or freedman of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, or Seminole tribes of Indians in the Indian Territory, except as herein otherwise provided, unless application for enrollment was made prior to December first, nineteen hundred and five, and the records in charge of the Com missioner to the Five Civilized Tribes shall be conclusive evidence as to the fact of such application; and no motion to reopen or reconsider any citizenship case, in any of said tribes, shall be entertained unless filed with the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes within sixty days after the date of the order or decision sought to be reconsidered except as to Decisions made prior to the passage of this Act, in which cases such motion shall be made within sixty days after the passage of this Act: Provided, That the Secretary of the Interior may enroll persons whose names appear upon any of the tribal rolls and for whom the records in charge of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes show application was made prior to December first, nineteen hundred and five, and which was not allowed solely because not made within the time prescribed by law.

SEC. 2. That for ninety days after approval hereof applications shall be received for enrollment of children who were minors living March fourth, nine teen hundred and six, whose parents have been enrolled as members of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, or Creek tribes, or have applications for enrollment pending at the approval hereof, and for the purpose of enrollment under this section illegitimate children shall take the status of the mother, and allotments may be made to children so enrolled. If any citizen of the Cherokee tribe shall fail to receive the full quantity of land to which he is entitled as an allotment, he shall be paid out of any of the funds of such tribe a sum equal to twice the appraised value of the amount of land thus deficient. The provisions of section nine of the Creek agreement ratified by Act approved March first, nineteen hundred and one, authorizing the use of funds of the Creek tribe for equalizing allotments, are hereby restored and reenacted, and after the expiration of nine months from the date of the original selection of an allotment of land in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, or Seminole tribes, and after the expiration of six months from the passage of this Act as to allotments heretofore made, no contest shall be instituted against such allotment:

Provided, That the rolls of the tribes affected by this Act shall be fully completed on or before the fourth day of March, nineteen hundred and seven, and the Secretary of the Interior shall have no jurisdiction to approve the enrollment of any person after said date:

Provided further, That nothing herein shall be construed so as to hereafter permit any person to file an application for enrollment in any tribe where the date for filing application has been fixed by agreement between said tribe and the United States:

Provided, That nothing herein shall apply to the intermarried whites in the Cherokee Nation, whose cases are now pending in the Supreme Court of the United States.

SEC. 3. That the approved roll of Creek freedmen shall include only those persons whose names appear on the roll prepared by J. W. Dunn, under authority of the United States prior to March fourteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and their descendants born since said roll was made, and those lawfully admitted to citizenship in the Creek Nation subsequent to the date of the preparation of said roll, and their descendants born since such admission, except such, if any, as have heretofore been enrolled and their enrollment approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

The roll of Cherokee freedmen shall include only such persons of African descent, either free colored or the slaves of Cherokee citizens and their descendants, who were actual personal Bona fide residents of the Cherokee Nation August eleventh, eighteen hundred and sixty-six, or who actually returned and established such residence in the Cherokee Nation on or before February eleventh, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven ; but this provision shall not prevent the enrollment of any person who has heretofore made application to the Com mission to the Five Civilized Tribes or its successor and has been adjudged entitled to enrollment by the Secretary of the Interior.

Lands allotted to freedmen of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes shall be considered ” homesteads,” and shall be subject to all the provisions of this or any other Act of Congress applicable to homesteads of citizens of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes.

SEC. 4. That no name shall be transferred from the approved freedmen, or any other approved rolls of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, or Seminole tribes, respectively, to the roll of citizens by blood, unless the records in charge of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes show that application for enrollment as a citizen by blood was made within the time prescribed by law by or for the party seeking the transfer, and said records shall be conclusive evidence as to the fact of such application, unless it be shown by documentary evidence that the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes actually received such application within the time prescribed by law.

SEC. 5. That all patents or deeds to allottees in any of the Five Civilized Tribes to be hereafter issued shall issue in the name of the allottee, and if any such allottee shall die before such patent or deed becomes effective, the title to the lands described therein shall inure to and vest in his heirs, and in case any allottee shall die after restrictions have been removed, his property shall descend to his heirs or his lawful assigns, as if the patent or deed had issued to the allottee during his life, and all patents heretofore issued, where the allottee died before the same became effective, shall be given like effect; and all patents or deeds to allottees and other conveyances affecting lands of any of said tribes shall be recorded in the office of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes, and when so recorded shall convey legal title, and shall be delivered under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior to the party entitled to receive the same:

Provided, The provisions of this section shall not affect any rights involved in contests pending before the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes or the Department of the Interior at the date of the approval of this Act.

SEC. 6. That if the principal chief of the Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, or Seminole tribe, or the governor of the Chickasaw tribe shall refuse or neglect to perform the duties devolving upon him, he may be removed from office by the President of the United States, or if any such executive become permanently disabled, the office may be declared vacant by the President of the United States, who may fill any vacancy arising from removal, disability or death of the incumbent, by appointment of a citizen by blood of the tribe.

If any such executive shall fail, refuse or neglect, for thirty days after notice that any instrument is ready for his signature, to appear at a place to be designated by the Secretary of the Interior and execute the same, such instrument may be approved by the Secretary of the Interior without such execution, and when so approved and recorded shall convey legal title, and such approval shall be conclusive evidence that such executive or chief refused or neglected after notice to execute such instrument.

Provided, That the principal chief of the Seminole Nation is hereby authorized to execute the deeds to allottees in the Seminole Nation prior to the time when the Seminole government shall cease to exist.

SEC. 7. That the Secretary of the Interior shall, by written order, within ninety days from the passage of this Act, segregate and reserve from allotment sections one, two, three, four, five, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, the east half of section sixteen, and the northeast quarter of section six, in township nine south, range twenty-six east, and sections five, six, seven, eight, seventeen, eighteen, and the west half of section sixteen, in township nine south, range twenty-seven east, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, except such portions of said lands upon which substantial, permanent, and valuable improvements were erected and placed prior to the passage of this Act and not for speculation, but by members and freedmen of the tribes actually themselves and for them selves for allotment purposes, and where such identical members or freedmen of said tribes now desire to select same as portions of their allotments, and the action of the Secretary of the Interior in making such segregation shall be conclusive. The Secretary of the Interior shall also cause to be estimated and appraised the standing pine timber on all of said land, and the land segregated shall not be allotted, except as here in before provided, to any member or freedman of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes. Said segregated land and the pine timber thereon shall be sold and disposed of at public auction, or by sealed bids for cash, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior.

SEC. 8. That the records of each of the land offices in the Indian Territory, should such office be hereafter discontinued, shall be transferred to and kept in the office of the clerk of the United States court in whose district said records are now located. The officer having custody of any of the records pertaining to the enrollment of the members of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, or Seminole tribes, and the disposition of the land and other property of said tribes, upon proper application and payment of such fees as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe, may make certified copies of such records, which shall be evidence equally with the originals thereof ; but fees shall not be demanded for such authenticated copies as may be required by officers of any branch of the Government nor for such unverified copies as such officer, in his discretion, may deem proper to furnish. Such fees shall be paid to bonded officers or employees of the Government, designated by the Secretary of the Interior, and the same or so much thereof as may be necessary may be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior for the purposes of this section, and any unexpended balance shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States, as are other public moneys.

SEC. 9. The disbursements, in the sum of one hundred and eighty-six thousand dollars, to and on account of the loyal Seminole Indians, by James E. Jenkins, special agent appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, and by A. J. Brown as administrator de bonis non, under an Act of Congress approved May thirty-first, nineteen hundred, appropriating said sum, be, and the same are hereby, ratified and confirmed : Provided, That this shall not prevent any individual from bringing suit in his own behalf to recover any sum really due him.

That the Court of Claims is hereby authorized and directed to hear, consider, and adjudicate the claims against the Mississippi Choctaws of the estate of Charles P. Winton, deceased, his associates and assigns, for services rendered and expenses incurred in the matter of the claims of the Mississippi Choctaws to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation, and to render judgment thereon on the principle of quantummeruit, in such amount or amounts as may appear equitable or justly due there for, which judgment, if any, shall be paid from any funds now or hereafter due such Choctaws by the United States. Notice of such suit shall be served on the governor of the Choctaw Nation, and the Attorney-General shall appear and defend the said suit on behalf of said Choctaws.

SEC. 10. That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and directed to assume control and direction of the schools in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes, with the lands and all school property pertaining thereto, March fifth, nineteen hundred and six, and to conduct such schools under rules and regulations to be prescribed by him, retaining tribal educational officers, subject to dismissal by the Secretary of the Interior, and the present system so far as practicable, until such time as a public school system shall have been established under Territorial or State government, and proper provision made there under for the education of the Indian children of said tribes, and he is hereby authorized and directed to set aside a sufficient amount of any funds, invested or otherwise, in the Treasury of the United States, belonging to said tribes, including the royalties on coal and asphalt in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, to defray all the necessary expenses of said schools, using, however, only such portion of said funds of each tribe as may be requisite for the schools of that tribe, not exceeding in any one year for the respective tribes the amount expended for the scholastic year ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred and five ; and he is further authorized and directed to use the remainder, if any, of the funds appropriated by the Act of Congress approved March third, nineteen hundred and five, ” for the maintenance, strengthening, and enlarging of the tribal schools of the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations,” unexpended March fourth, nine teen hundred and six, including such fees as have accrued or may hereafter accrue under the Act of Congress approved February nineteenth, nineteen hundred and three, Statutes at Large, volume thirty-two, page eight hundred and forty-one, which fees are hereby appropriated, in continuing such schools as may have been established, and in establishing such new schools as he may direct, and any of the tribal funds so set aside remaining unexpended when a public school system under a future State or Territorial government has been established, shall be distributed per capita among the citizens of the nations, in the same manner as other funds.

SEC. 11. That all revenues of whatever character accruing to the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes, whether before or after dissolution of the tribal governments, shall, after the approval hereof, be collected by an officer appointed by the Secretary of the Interior under rules and regulations to be prescribed by him ; and he shall cause to be paid all lawful claims against said tribes which may have been contracted after July first, nineteen hundred and two, or for which warrants have been regularly issued, such payments to be made from any funds in the United States Treasury belonging to said tribes. All such claims arising before dissolution of the tribal governments shall be presented to the Secretary of the Interior within six months after such dissolution, and he shall make all rules and regulations necessary to carry this provision into effect and shall pay all expenses incident to the investigation of the validity of such claims or indebtedness out of the tribal funds:

Provided, That all taxes accruing under tribal laws or regulations of the Secretary of the Interior shall be abolished from and after December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and five, but this provision shall not prevent the collection after that date nor after dissolution of the tribal government of all such taxes due up to and including December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and five, and all such taxes levied and collected after the thirty-first day of December, nineteen hundred and five, shall be refunded.

Upon dissolution of the tribal governments, every officer, member, or representative of said tribes, respectively, having in his possession, custody, or control any money or other property of any tribe shall make full and true account and report thereof to the Secretary of the Interior, and shall pay all money of the tribe in his possession, custody, or control, and shall deliver all other tribal property so held by him, to the Secretary of the Interior, and if any person shall willfully and fraudulently fail to account for all such money and property so held by him, or to pay and deliver the same as herein provided for sixty days from dissolution of the tribal government, he shall be deemed guilty of embezzlement and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not exceeding five thousand dollars or by imprisonment not exceeding five years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, according to the laws of the United States relating to such offense, and shall be liable in civil proceedings to be prosecuted in behalf of and in the name of the tribe for the amount or value of the money or property so withheld.

SEC. 12. That the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to sell, upon such terms and under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, all lots in towns in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations reserved from appraisement and sale for use in connection with the operation of coal and asphalt mining leases or for the occupancy of miners actually engaged in working for lessees operating coal and asphalt mines, the proceeds arising from such sale to be deposited in the Treasury of the United States as are other funds of said tribes.

If the purchaser of any town lot sold under the provisions of law regarding the sale of town sites in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, or Seminole nations fail for sixty days after approval hereof to pay the purchase price or any installment thereof then due, or shall fail for thirty days to pay the purchase price or any installment thereof falling due hereafter, he shall forfeit all rights under his purchase, together with all money paid thereunder, and the Secretary of the Interior may cause the lots upon which such forfeiture is made to be resold at public auction for cash, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe. All municipal corporations in the Indian Territory are hereby authorized to vacate streets and alleys, or parts thereof, and said streets and alleys, when vacated, shall revert to and become the property of the abutting property owners.

SEC. 13. That all coal and asphalt lands whether leased or un-leased shall be reserved from sale under this Act until the existing leases for coal and asphalt lands shall have expired or until such time as may be otherwise provided by law.

SEC. 14. That the lands in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole nations reserved from allotment or sale under any Act of Congress for the use or benefit of any person, corporation, or organization shall be conveyed to the person, corporation, or organization entitled thereto:

Provided, That if any tract or parcel thus reserved shall before conveyance thereof be abandoned for the use for which it was reserved by the party in whose interest the reservation was made, such tract or parcel shall revert to the tribe and be disposed of as other surplus lands thereof:

Provided further, That this section shall not apply to land reserved from allotment because of the right of any railroad or railway company therein in the nature of an easement for right of way, depot, station grounds, water stations, stock yards or other uses connected with the maintenance and operation of such company’s railroad, title to which tracts may be acquired by the railroad or railway company under rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior at a valuation to be determined by him; but if any such company shall fail to make payment within the time prescribed by the regulations or shall cease to use such land for the purpose for which it was reserved, title thereto shall thereupon vest in the owner of the legal subdivision of which the land so abandoned is a part, except lands within a municipality the title to which, upon abandonment, shall vest in such municipality.

The principal chief of the Choctaw Nation and the governor of the Chickasaw Nation are, with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, hereby authorized and directed to issue patents to the Murrow Indian Orphans Home, a corporation of Atoka, Indian Territory, in all cases where tracts have been allotted under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior for the purpose of allowing the allottees to donate the tract so allotted to said Murrow Indian Orphans Home.

In all cases where enrolled citizens of either the Choctaw or Chickasaw tribe have taken their homestead and surplus allotment and have remaining over an unallotted right to less than ten dollars on the basis of the allotment value of said lands, such unallotted right may be conveyed by the owners thereof to the Murrow Indian Orphans Home aforesaid; and whenever said conveyed rights shall amount in the aggregate to as much as ten acres of average allottable land, land to represent the same shall be allotted to the said Murrow Indian Orphans Home, and certificate and patent shall issue therefor to said Murrow Indian Orphans Home.

And there is hereby authorized to be conveyed to said Murrow Indian Orphans Home, in the manner hereinbefore prescribed for the conveyance of land, the following-described lands in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, to wit:

Sections eighteen and nineteen in township two north, range twelve east ; the south half of the northeast quarter, the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter, the south half of the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter, the south half of the southeast quarter, the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter, the south half of the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter, the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter, the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter, and the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section twenty-four, and the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter, the north half oil the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter, the south half of the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter, the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter, and the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section twenty-three, and the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of the south east quarter of section twenty-six, and the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter, the south half of the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter, the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of the north west quarter, and the east half of the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section twenty-five, all in township two north, range eleven east, containing one thousand seven hundred and ninety acres, as shown by the Government survey, for the purpose of the said Home.

SEC. 15. The Secretary of the Interior shall take possession of all buildings now or heretofore used for governmental, school, and other tribal purposes, together with the furniture therein and the land appertaining thereto, and appraise and sell the same at such time and under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, and deposit the proceeds, less expenses incident to the appraisement and sale, in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the respective tribes: Provided, That in the event said lands are embraced within the geographical limits of a State or Territory of the United States such State or Territory or any county or municipality therein shall be allowed one year from date of establishment of said State or Territory within which to purchase any such lands and improvements within their respective limits at not less than the appraised value. Conveyances of lands disposed of under this section shall be executed, recorded, and delivered in like manner and with like effect as herein provided for other conveyances.

SEC. 16. That when allotments as provided by this and other Acts of Congress have been made to all members and freedmen of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes, the residue of lands in each of said nations not reserved or otherwise disposed of shall be sold by the Secretary of the Interior under rules and regulations to be prescribed by him and the proceeds of such sales deposited in the United States Treasury to the credit of the respective tribes. In the disposition of the unallotted lands of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations each Choctaw and Chickasaw freedman shall be entitled to a preference right, under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe, to purchase at the appraised value enough land to equal with that already allotted to him forty acres in area. If any such purchaser fails to make payment within the time prescribed by said rules and regulations, then such tract or parcel of land shall revert to the said Indian tribes and be sold as other surplus lands thereof. The Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to sell, whenever in his judgment it may be desirable, any of the unallotted land in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, which is. not principally valuable for mining, agricultural, or timber purposes, in tracts of not exceeding six hundred and forty acres to any one person, for a fair and reasonable price, not less than the present appraised value? Conveyances of lands sold under the provisions of this section shall be executed, recorded, and delivered in like manner and with like effect as herein provided for other conveyances : Provided further, That agricultural lands shall be sold in tracts of not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres to any one person.

SEC. 17. That when the unallotted lands and other property belonging to the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes of Indians have been sold and the moneys arising from such sales or from any other source whatever have been paid into the United States Treasury to the credit of said tribes, respectively, and when all the just charges against the funds of the respective tribes have been deducted therefrom, any remaining funds shall be distributed per capita to the members then living and the heirs of deceased members whose names appear upon the finally approved rolls of the respective tribes, such distribution to be made under rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior.

SEC. 18. That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to bring suit in the name of the United States, for the use of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, or Seminole tribes, respectively, either before or after the dissolution of the tribal governments, for the collection of any moneys or recovery of any land claimed by any of said tribes, whether such claim shall arise prior to or after the dissolution of the tribal governments, and the United States courts in Indian Territory are hereby given jurisdiction to try and determine all such suits, and the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to pay from the funds of the tribe interested any costs and necessary expenses incurred in maintaining and prosecuting such suits:

Provided, That proceedings to which any of said tribes is a party pending before any court or tribunal at the date of dissolution of the tribal governments shall not be thereby abated or in anywise affected, but shall proceed to final disposition.

Where suit is now pending, or may hereafter be filed in any United States court in the Indian Territory, by or on behalf of any one or more of the Five Civilized Tribes to recover moneys claimed to be due and owing to such tribe, the party defendants to such suit shall have the right to set up and have adjudicated any claim it may have against such tribe ; and any balance that may be found due by any tribe or tribes shall be paid by the Treasurer of the United States out of any funds of such tribe or tribes upon the filing of the decree of the court with him.

SEC. 19. That no full-blood Indian of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek or Seminole tribes shall have power to alienate, sell, dispose of, or encumber in any manner any of the lands allotted to him for a period of twenty-five years from and after the passage and approval of this Act, unless such restriction shall, prior to the expiration of said period, be removed by Act of Congress; and for all purposes the quantum of Indian blood possessed by any member of said tribes shall be determined by the rolls of citizens of said tribes approved by the Secretary of the Interior: Provided, however. That such full-blood Indians of any of said tribes may lease any lands other than homesteads for more than one year under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior ; and in case of the inability of any full-blood owner of a homestead, on account of infirmity or age, to work or farm his homestead, the Secretary of the Interior, upon proof of such in ability, may authorize the leasing of such homestead under such rules and regulations: Provided further, That conveyances heretofore made by members of any of the Five Civilized Tribes subsequent to the selection of allotment and subsequent to removal of restriction, where patents thereafter issue, shall not be deemed or held invalid solely because said conveyances were made prior to issuance and recording or delivery of patent or deed ; but this shall not be held or construed as affecting the validity or invalidity of any such conveyance, except as hereinabove provided ; and every deed executed before, or for the making of which a contract or agreement was entered into before the removal of restrictions, be and the same is hereby, declared void : Provided further, That all lands upon which restrictions are removed shall be subject to taxation, and the other lands shall be exempt from taxation as long as the title remains in the original allottee.

SEC. 20. That after the approval of this Act all leases and rental contracts, except leases and rental contracts for not exceeding one year for agricultural purposes for lands other than homesteads, of full-blood allottees of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes shall be in writing and subject to approval by the Secretary of the Interior and shall be absolutely void and of no effect without such approval : Provided, That allotments of minors and incompetents may be rented or leased under order of the proper court:

Provided further, That all leases entered into for a period of more than one year shall be recorded in conformity to the law applicable to recording instruments now in force in said Indian Territory.

SEC. 21. That if any allottee of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, or Seminole tribes die intestate without widow, heir or heirs, or surviving spouse, seized of all or any portion of his allotment prior to the final distribution of the tribal property, and such fact shall be known by the Secretary of the Interior, the lands allotted to him shall revert to the tribe and be disposed of as herein provided for surplus lands; but if the death of such allottee be not known by the Secretary of the Interior before final distribution of the tribal property, the land shall escheat to and vest in such State or Territory as may be formed to include said lands. That heirs of deceased Mississippi Choctaws who died before making proof of removal to and settlement in the Choctaw country and within the period prescribed by law for making such proof may within sixty days from the passage of this Act appear before the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes and make such proof as would be required if made by such deceased Mississippi Choctaws; and the decision of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes shall be final therein, and no appeal therefrom shall be allowed.

SEC. 22. That the adult heirs of any deceased Indian of either of the Five Civilized Tribes whose selection has been made, or to whom a deed or patent has been issued for his or her share of the land of the tribe to which he or she belongs or belonged, may sell and convey the lands inherited from such decedent; and if there be both adult and minor heirs of such decedent, then such minors may join in a sale of such lands by a guardian duly appointed by the proper United States court for the Indian Territory. And in case of the organization of a State or Territory, then by a proper court of the county in which said minor or minors may reside or in which said real estate is situated, upon an order of such court made upon petition filed by guardian. All conveyances made under this provision by heirs who are full-blood Indians are to be subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe.

SEC. 23. Every person of lawful age and sound mind may by last will and testament devise and bequeath all of his estate, real and personal, and all interest therein : Provided, That no will of a full-blood Indian devising real estate shall be valid, if such last will and testament disinherits the parent, wife, spouse, or children of such full-blood Indian, unless acknowledged before and approved by a judge of the United States court for the Indian Territory, or a United States commissioner.

SEC. 24. That in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations public high ways or roads two rods in width, being one rod on each side of the section line, may be established on all section lines; and all allottees, purchasers, and others shall take title to such land subject to this provision, and if buildings or other improvements are damaged in consequence of the establishment of such public highways or roads, such damages accruing prior to the inauguration of a State government shall be determined under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior and be paid for from the funds of said tribes, respectively.

All expenses incident to the establishment of public highways or roads in the Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations, including clerical hire, per diem, salary, and expenses of viewers, appraisers, and others, shall be paid under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior from the funds of the tribe or nation in which such public highways or roads are established. Any person, firm, or corporation obstructing any public highway or road, and who shall fail, neglect, or refuse for a period of ten days after notice to remove or cause to be removed any and all obstructions from such public highway or road, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not exceeding ten dollars per day for each and every day in excess of said ten days which said obstruction is permitted to remain : Provided, however, That notice of the establishment of public highways or roads need not be given to allottees or others, except in cases where such public highways or roads are obstructed, and every person obstructing any such public highway or road, as aforesaid, shall also be liable in a civil action for all damages sustained by any person who has in any manner whatever been damaged by reason of such obstruction.

SEC. 25. That any light, or power company doing business within the limits of the Indian Territory, in compliance with the laws of the United States that are now or may be in force therein, be, and the same are hereby, invested and empowered with the right of locating, constructing, owning, operating, using, and maintaining canals, reservoirs, auxiliary steam works, and a dam or dams across any non-navigable stream within the limits of said Indian Territory, for the purpose of obtaining a sufficient supply of water to manufacture and generate water, electric, or other power, light, and heat and to utilize and transmit and distribute such power, light, and heat to other places for its own use or other individuals or corporations, and the right of locating, constructing, owning, operating, equipping, using, and maintaining the necessary pole lines and conduits for the purpose of transmitting and distributing such power, light, and heat, to other places within the limits of said Indian Territory.

That the right to locate, construct, own, operate, use, and maintain such dams, canals, reservoirs, auxiliary steam works, pole lines, and conduits in or through the Indian Territory, together with the right to acquire, by condemnation, purchase or agreement between the parties, such land as it may deem necessary for the locating, constructing, owning, operating, using, and maintaining of such dams, canals, reservoirs, auxiliary steam works, pole lines, and conduits in or through any land held by any Indian tribe or nation, person, individual, corporation, or municipality in said Indian Territory, or in or through any lands in said Indian Territory which have been or may hereafter be allotted in severalty to any individual Indian or other person under any law or treaty, whether the same have or have not been conveyed to the allottee, with full power of alienation, is hereby granted to any company complying with the provisions of this Act:

Provided, That the purchase from and agreements with individual Indians, where the right of alienation has not theretofore been granted by law, shall be subject to approval by the Secretary of the Interior.

In case of the failure of any light, or power company to make amicable settlement with any individual owner, occupant, allottee, tribe, nation, corporation, or municipality for any lands or improvements sought to be condemned or appropriated under this Act all compensation and damages to be paid to the dissenting individual owner, occupant, allottee, tribe, nation, corporation, or municipality by reason of the appropriation and condemnation of said lands and improvements shall be determined as provided in sections fifteen and seven teen of an Act of Congress entitled “An act to grant a right of way through Oklahoma Territory and the Indian Territory to the Enid and Anadarko Rail way Company, and for other purposes,” approved February twenty-eighth, nine teen hundred and two (Public Numbered Twenty-six), and all such proceedings hereunder shall conform to said sections, except that sections three and four of said Act shall have no application, and except that hereafter the plats required to be filed by said Act shall be filed with the Secretary of the Interior and with the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes, and where the words ” Principal Chief or Governor ” of any tribe or nation occur in said Act, for the purpose of this Act there is inserted the words Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes. Whenever any such dam or dams, canals, reservoirs and auxiliary steam works, pole lines and conduits are to be constructed within the limits of any incorporated city or town in the Indian Territory, the municipal authorities of such city or town shall have the power to regulate the manner of construction therein, and nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to deny the right of municipal taxation in such cities and towns : Provided, That all rights granted hereunder shall be subject to the control of the future Territory or State within which the Indian Territory may be situated.

SEC. 26. That in addition to the powers now conferred by law, all municipalities in the Indian Territory having a population of over two thousand to be determined by the last census taken under any provision of law or ordinance of the council of such municipality, are hereby authorized and empowered to order improvements of the streets or alleys or such parts thereof as may be included in an ordinance or order of the common council with the consent of a majority of the property owners whose property as herein provided is liable to assessment therefor for the proposed improvement; and said council is empowered and authorized to make assessments and levy taxes with the consent of a majority of the property owners w T hose property is assessed, for the purpose of grading, paving, macadamizing, curbing, or guttering streets and alleys, or building sidewalks upon and along any street, roadway or alley within the limits of such municipality, and the cost of such grading, paving, macadamizing, curbing, guttering or sidewalk constructed, or other improvements under authority of this section, shall be so assessed against the abutting property as to require each parcel of land to bear the cost of such grading, paving, macadamizing, curbing, guttering or sidewalk, as far as it abuts thereon, and in the case of streets or alleys to the center thereof; and the cost of street intersections or crossings may be borne by the city or apportioned to the quarter blocks abut ting thereon upon the same basis. The special assessments provided for by this section and the amount to be charged against each lot or parcel of land shall be fixed by the city council or under its authority and shall become a lien on such abutting property, which may be enforced as other taxes are enforced under the laws in force in the Indian Territory. The total amount charged against any tract or parcel of land shall not exceed twenty per centum of its assessed value, and there shall not be required to be paid thereon exceeding one per centum per annum on the assessed value and interest at six per centum on the deferred payments.

For the purpose of paying for such improvements the city council of such municipality is hereby authorized to issue improvement script or certificates for the amount due for such improvements, said script or certificates to be pay able in annual installments and to bear interest from date at the rate of six per centum per annum, but no. improvement script shall be issued or sold for less than its par value. All of said municipalities are hereby authorized to pass all ordinances necessary to carry into effect the above provisions and for the purpose of doing so may divide such municipality into improvement districts.

That the tangible property of railroad corporations (exclusive of rolling stock) located within the corporate limits of incorixmited cities and towns in the Indian Territory shall be assessed and taxed in proportion to its value the same as other property is assessed and taxed in such incorporated cities and towns ; and all such city or town councils are hereby empowered to pass such ordinances as may be necessary for the assessment, equalization, levy and collection, annually, of a tax on all property except as herein stated within the corporate limits and for carrying the same into effect:

Provided, That should any person or corporation feel aggrieved by any assessment of property in the Indian Territory, an appeal from such assessment may be taken within sixty days by original petition to be filed in United States court in the district in which such city or town is located, and the question of the amount and legality of such assessment, and the validity of the ordinance under which such assessment is made may be determined by such court and the costs of such proceeding shall be taxed and apportioned between the parties as the court shall find to be just and equitable.

SEC. 27. That the lands belonging to the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, or Seminole tribes, upon the dissolution of said tribes, shall not become public lands nor property of the United States, but shall be held in trust by the United States for the use and benefit of the Indians respectively comprising each of said tribes, and their heirs as the same shall appear by the rolls as finally concluded as heretofore and hereinafter provided for:

Provided, That nothing herein contained shall interfere with any allotments heretofore or hereafter made or to be made under the provisions of this or any other Act of Congress.

SEC. 28. That the tribal existence and present tribal governments of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes or nations arc hereby continued in full force and effect for all purposes authorized by law, until otherwise provided by law, but the tribal council or legislature in any of said tribes or nations shall not be in session for a longer period than thirty days in any one year:

Provided, That no act, ordinance, or resolution (except resolutions of adjournment) of the tribal council or legislature of any of said tribes or nations shall be of any validity until approved by the President of the United States:

Provided further, That no contract involving the payment or expenditure of any money or affecting any property belonging to any of said tribes or nations made by them or any of them or by any officer thereof, shall be of any validity until approved by the President of the United States.

SEC. 29. That all Acts and parts of Acts inconsistent with the provisions of this Act be, and the same are hereby, repealed.

Approved, April 20, 1900.



MLA Source Citation:

United States. Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Laws, Decisions and Regulations Affecting the work of the Commissioners to Five Civilized Tribes, 1893-1906. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1906. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 11 October 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/act-of-april-26-1906.htm - Last updated on Mar 28th, 2013


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