Curtis Act – June 28, 1898

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An Act For the protection of the people of 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 in all criminal prosecutions in the Indian Territory against officials for embezzlement, bribery, and embracery the word “officer,” when the same appears in the criminal laws heretofore extended over and put in force in said Territory, shall include all officers of the several tribes or nations of Indians in said Territory.

SEC. 2. That when in the progress of any civil suit, either in law or equity, pending in the United States court, in any district in said Territory, it shall appear to the court that the property of any tribe is in any way affected by the issues being heard, said court is hereby authorized and required to make said tribe a party to said suit by service upon the chief or governor of the tribe, and the suit shall thereafter be conducted and determined as if said tribe had been an original party to said action.

SEC. 3. That said courts are hereby given jurisdiction in their respective districts to try cases against those who may claim to hold as members of a tribe and whose membership is denied by the tribe, but who continue to hold said lands and tenements notwithstanding the objection of the tribe; and if it be found upon trial that the same are held unlawfully against the tribe by those claiming to be members thereof, and the membership and right are disallowed by the Commission to the Five Tribes, or the United States court, and the judgment has become final, then said court shall cause the parties charged with unlawfully holding said possessions to be removed from the same and cause the lands and tenements to be restored to the person or persons or nation or tribe of Indians entitled to the possession of the same : Provided always, That any person being a non-citizen in possession of lands, holding the possession thereof under an agreement, lease, or improvement contract with either of said nations or tribes, or any citizen thereof, executed prior to January first, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, may, as to lands not exceeding in amount one hundred and sixty acres, in defense of any action for the possession of said lands show that he is and has been in peaceable possession of such lands, and that he has while in such possession made lasting and valuable improvements thereon, and that he has not enjoyed the possession thereof a sufficient length of time to compensate him for such improvements. Thereupon the court or jury trying said cause shall determine the fair and reasonable value of such improvements and the fair and reasonable rental value of such lands for the time the same shall have been occupied by such person, and if the improvements exceed in value the amount of rents with which such person should be charged, the court, in its judgment, shall specify such time as will, in the opinion of the court, compensate such person for the balance due, and award him possession for such time unless the amount be paid by claimant within such reasonable time as the court shall specify. If the finding be that the amount of rents exceed the value of the improvements, judgment shall be rendered against the defendant for such sum, for which execution may issue.

SEC. 4. That all persons who have heretofore made improvements on lands belonging to any one of the said tribes of Indians, claiming rights of citizenship, whose claims have been decided adversely under the act of Congress approved June tenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-six, shall have possession thereof until and including December thirty-first, eighteen hundred and ninety -eight, and may, prior to that time, sell or dispose of the same to any member of the tribe owning the land who desires to take the same in his allotment : Provided, That this sec tion shall not apply to improvements which have been appraised and paid for, or payment tendered by the Cherokee Nation under the agreement with the United States approved by Congress March third, eighteen hundred and ninety-three.

SEC. 5. That before any action by any tribe or person shall be commenced under section three of this act it shall be the duty of the party bringing the same to notify the adverse party to leave the premises for the possession of which the action is about to be brought, which notice shall be served at least thirty days before commencing the action by leaving a written copy with the defendants, or, if he can not be found, by leaving the same at his last known place of residence or business with any person occupying the premises over the age of twelve years, or, if his residence or business address can not be ascertained, by leaving the same with any person over the age of twelve years upon the premises sought to be recovered and described in said notice; and if there be no person with whom said notice can be left, then by posting same on the premises.

SEC. 6. That the summons shall not issue in such action until the chief or governor of the tribe, or person or persons bringing suit in his own behalf, shall have filed a sworn complaint, on behalf of the tribe or himself, with the court, which shall, as near as practicable, describe the premises so detaiyed, and shall set forth a detention without the consent of the person bringing said suit or the tribe, by one whose membership is denied by it : Provided, That if the chief or governor refuse or fail to bring suit in behalf of the tribe, then any member of the tribe may make complaint and bring said suit.

SEC. 7. That the court in granting a continuance of any case, particularly under section three, may, in its discretion, require the party applying there for to give an undertaking to the adverse party, with good and sufficient securities, to be approved by the judge of the court, conditioned for the payment of all dam ages and costs and defraying the rent which may accrue if judgment be rendered against him.

SEC. 8. That when a judgment for restitution shall be entered by the court the clerk shall, at the request of the plaintiff or his attorney, issue a writ of execution thereon, which shall command the proper officer of the court to cause the defendant or defendants to be forthwith removed and ejected from the premises and the plaintiff given complete and undisturbed possession of the same. The writ shall also command the said officer to levy upon the property of the defendant or defendants subject to execution, and also collect there from the costs of the action and all accruing costs in the service of the writ. Said writ shall be executed within thirty days.

SEC. 9. That the jurisdiction of the court and municipal authority of the city of Fort Smith for police purposes in the State of Arkansas is hereby extended over all that strip of land in the Indian Territory lying and being situate between the corporate limits of the said city of Fort Smith and the Arkansas and Poteau rivers, and extending up the said Poteau River to the mouth of Mill Creek; and all the laws and ordinances for the preservation of the peace and health of said city, as far as the same are applicable, are hereby put in force therein: Provided, That no charge or tax shall ever be made or levied by said city against said laud or the tribe or nation to whom it belongs.

SEC. 10. That all actions for restitution of possession of real property under this act must be commenced by the service of a summons within two years after the passage of this act, where the wrongful detention or possession began prior to the date of its passage; and all actions which shall be commenced hereafter, based upon wrongful detention or possession committed since the passage of this act must be commenced within two years after the cause of action accrued. And nothing in this act shall take away the right to maintain an action for unlawful and forcible entry and detainer given by the act of Congress passed May second, eighteen hundred and ninety (twenty-sixth United States Statutes, page ninety-five).

SEC. 11. That when the roll of citizenship of any one of said nations or tribes is fully completed as provided by law, and the survey of the lands of said nation or tribe is also completed, the Commission heretofore appointed under acts of Congress, and known as the ” Dawes Commission,” shall proceed to allot the exclusive use and occupancy of the surface of all the lands of said nation or tribe susceptible of allotment among the citizens thereof, as shown by said roll, giving to each, so far as possible, his fair and equal share thereof, consider ing the nature and fertility of the soil, location, and value of same ; but all oil, coal, asphalt, and mineral deposits in the lands of any tribe are reserved to such tribe, and no allotment of such lands shall carry the title to such oil, coal, asphalt, or mineral deposits ; and all town sites shall also be reserved to the several tribes, and shall be set apart by the Commission heretofore mentioned as incapable of allotment. There shall also be reserved from allotment a sufficient amount of lands now occupied by churches, schools, parsonages, charitable institutions, and other public buildings for their present actual and necessary use, and no more, not to exceed five acres for each school and one acre for each church and each parsonage, and for such new schools as may be needed ; also sufficient land for burial grounds where necessary. When such allotment of the lands of any tribe has been by them completed, said Commission shall make full report thereof to the Secretary of the Interior for his approval : Provided, That nothing herein contained shall in any way affect any vested legal rights which may have been heretofore granted by act of Congress, nor be so construed as to confer any additional rights upon any parties claiming under any such act of Congress : Provided further. That whenever it shall appear that any member of a tribe is in possession of lands, his allotment may be made out of the lands in his possession, including his home if the holder so desires : Provided further, That if the person to whom an allotment shall have been made shall be declared, upon appeal as herein provided for, by any of the courts of the United States in or for the aforesaid Territory, to have been illegally accorded rights of citizenship, and for that or any other reason declared to be not entitled to any allotment, he shall be ousted and ejected from said lands; that all persons known as intruders who have been paid for their improvements under existing laws and have not surrendered possession thereof who may be found under the provisions of this act to be entitled to citizenship shall, within ninety days thereafter, refund the amount so paid them, with six per centum interest, to the tribe entitled, thereto ; and upon their failure so to do said amount shall become a lien upon all improvements owned by such person in such Territory, and may be enforced by such tribe ; and unless such person makes such restitution no allotments shall be made to him : Provided further, That the lands allotted shall be nontransferable until after full title is acquired and shall be liable for no obligations contracted prior thereto by the allottee, and shall be nontaxable while so held: Provided further, That all towns and cities here to fore incorporated or incorporated under the provisions of this act are hereby authorized to secure, by condemnation or otherwise, all the lands actually necessary for public improvements, regardless of tribal lines; and when the same can not be secured otherwise than by condemnation, then the same may be acquired as provided in sections nine hundred and seven and nine hundred and twelve, inclusive, of Mansfield s Digest of the Statutes of Arkansas.

SEC. 12. That when report of allotments of lands of any tribe shall be made to the Secretary of the Interior, as here in before provided, he shall make a record thereof, and when he shall confirm such allotments the allottees shall remain in peaceable and undisturbed possession thereof, subject to the provisions of this act.

SEC. 13. That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and directed from time to time to provide rules and regulations in regard to the leasing of oil, coal, asphalt, and other minerals in said Territory, and all such leases shall be made by the Secretary of the Interior ; and any lease for any such minerals otherwise made shall be absolutely void. No lease shall he made or renewed for a longer period than fifteen years, nor cover the mineral in more than six hundred and forty acres of land, which shall conform as nearly as possible to the surveys. Lessees shall pay on each oil, coal, asphalt, or other mineral claim at the rate of one hundred dollars per annum, in advance, for the first and second years ; two hundred dollars per annum, in advance, for the third and fourth years, and five hundred dollars, in advance, for each succeeding year thereafter, as advanced royalty on the mine or claim on which they are made. All such payments shall be a credit on royalty when each said mine is developed and operated and its production is in excess of such guaranteed annual advanced payments; and all lessees must pay said annual advanced payments on each claim, whether developed or undeveloped ; and should any lessee neglect or refuse to pay such advanced annual royalty for the period of sixty days after the same becomes due and payable on any lease, the lease on which default is made shall become null and void, and the royalties paid in advance shall then become and be the money and property of the tribe. Where any oil, coal, asphalt, or other mineral is hereafter opened on land allotted, sold, or reserved, the value of the use of the necessary surface for prospecting or mining, and the damage done to the other land and improvements, shall be ascertained under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior and paid to the allottee or owner of the land, by the lessee or party operating the same, before operations begin: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall impair the rights of any holder or owner of a leasehold interest in any oil, coal rights, asphalt, or mineral which have been assented to by act of Congress, but all such interest shall continue unimpaired hereby, and shall be assured to such holders or owners by leases from the Secretary of the Interior for the term not exceeding fifteen years, but subject to payment of advance royalties as herein provided, when such leases are not operated, to the rate of royalty on coal mined, and the rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior, and preference shall be given to such parties in renewals of such leases: And provided further, That when, under the customs and laws heretofore existing and prevailing in the Indian Territory, leases have been made of different groups or parcels of oil, coal, asphalt, or other mineral deposits, and possession has been taken there under and improvements made for the development of such oil, coal, asphalt, or other mineral deposits, by lessees or their assigns, which have resulted in the production of oil, coal, asphalt, or other mineral in commercial quantities by such lessees or their assigns, then such parties in possession shall be given preference in the making of new leases, in compliance with the directions of the Secretary of the Interior; and in making new leases due consideration shall be made for the improvements of such lessees, and in all cases of the leasing or renewal of leases of oil, coal, asphalt, and other mineral deposits preference shall be given to parties in possession who have made improvements. The rate of royalty to be paid by all lessees shall be fixed by the Secretary of the Interior.

SEC. 14. That the inhabitants of any city or town in said Territory having two hundred or more residents therein may proceed, by petition to the United States court in the district in which such city or town is located, to have the same incorporated as provided in chapter twenty-nine of Mansfield s Digest of the Statutes of Arkansas, if not already incorporated there under; and the clerk of said court shall record all papers and perform all the acts required of the recorder of the county, or the clerk of the county court, or the secretary of state, necessary for the incorporation of any city or town, as provided in Mans field s Digest, and such city or town government, when so authorized and organized, shall possess all the powers and exercise all the rights of similar municipalities in said State of Arkansas. All male inhabitants of such cities and towns over the age of twenty-one years, who are citizens of the United States or of either of said tribes, who have resided therein more than six months next before any election held under this act, shall be qualified voters at such election. That mayors of such cities and towns, in addition to their other powers, shall have the same jurisdiction in all civil and criminal cases arising within the corporate limits of such cities and towns as, and coextensive with, United States commissioners in the Indian Territory, and may charge, collect, and retain the same fees as such commissioners now collect and account for to the United States ; and the marshal or other executive officer of such city or town may execute all processes issued in the exercise of the jurisdiction hereby conferred, and charge and collect the same fees for similar services as are allowed to constables under the laws now in force in said Territory.

All elections shall be conducted under the provisions of chapter fifty-six of said digest, entitled ” Elections,” so far as the same may be applicable ; and all inhabitants of such cities and towns, without regard to race, shall be subject to all laws and ordinances of such city or town governments, and shall have equal rights, privileges, and protection therein. Such city or town governments shall in no case have any authority to impose upon or levy any tax against any lands in said cities or towns until after title is secured from the tribe; but all other property, including all improvements on town lots, which for the purposes of this act shall be deemed and considered personal property, together with all occupations and privileges, shall be subject to taxation. And the councils of such cities and towns, for the support of the same and for school and other public purposes, may provide by ordinance for the assessment, levy, and collection annually of a tax upon such property, not to exceed in the aggregate two per centum of the assessed value thereof, in manner provided in chapter one hundred and twenty-nine of said digest, entitled “Revenue,” and for such purposes may also impose a tax upon occupations and privileges.

Such councils may also establish and maintain free schools in such cities and towns, under the provisions of sections sixty-two hundred and fifty-eight to sixty-two hundred and seventy-six, inclusive, of said digest, and may exercise all the powers conferred upon special school districts in cities and towns in the State of Arkansas by the laws of said State when the same are not in conflict with the provisions of this act.

For the purposes of this section all the laws of said State of Arkansas herein referred to, so far as applicable, are hereby put in force in said Territory ; and the United States court therein shall have jurisdiction to enforce the same, and to punish any violation thereof, and the city or town councils shall pass such ordinances as may be necessary for the purpose of making the laws extended over them applicable to them and for carrying the same into effect: Provided, That nothing in this act, or in the laws of the State of Arkansas, shall authorize or permit the sale, or exposure for sale, of any intoxicating liquor in said Territory, or the introduction thereof into said Territory ; and it shall be the duty of the district attorneys in said Territory and the officers of such municipalities to prosecute all violators of the laws of the United States relating to the introduction of intoxicating liquors into said Territory, or to their sale, or exposure for sale, therein: Provided further, That owners and holders of teases or improvements in any city or town shall be privileged to transfer the same.

SEC. 15. That there shall be a commission in each town for each one of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Cherokee tribes, to consist of one member to be appointed by the executive of the tribe, who shall not be interested in town property, other than his home ; one person to be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, and one member to be selected by the town. And if the executive of the tribe or the town fail to select members as aforesaid, they may be selected and appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.

Said commissions shall cause to be surveyed and laid out town sites where towns with a present population of two hundred or more are located, conform ing to the existing survey, so far as may be, with proper and necessary streets, alleys, and public grounds, including parks and cemeteries, giving to each town such territory as may be required for its present needs and reasonable prospective growth ; and shall prepare correct plats thereof, and file one with the Secretary of the Interior, one with the clerk of the United States court, one with the authorities of the tribe, and one with the town authorities. And town lots shall be appraised by said commission at their true value, excluding improvements ; and separate appraisements shall be made of all improvements thereon; and no such appraisement shall be effective until approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and in case of disagreement by the members of such com mission as to the value of any lot the Secretary may fix the value thereof.

The owner of the improvements upon any town lot, other than fencing, tillage, or temporary buildings, may deposit in the United States treasury, Saint Louis, Missouri, one-half of such appraised value; ten per centum within two months and fifteen per centum more within six months after notice of appraisement, and the remainder in three equal annual installments thereafter, depositing with the Secretary of the Interior one receipt for each payment, and one with the authorities of the tribe, and such deposit shall be deemed a tender to the tribe of the purchase money for such lot.

If the owner of such improvements on any lot fails to make deposit of the purchase money as aforesaid, then such lot may be sold in the manner herein provided for the sale of unimproved lots; and when the purchaser thereof has complied with the requirements herein for the purchase of improved lots he may, by petition, apply to the United States court within whose jurisdiction the town is located for condemnation and appraisement of such improvements, find petitioner shall, after judgment, deposit the value so fixed with the clerk of the court; and thereupon the defendant shall be required to accept the same in full payment for his improvements or remove same from the lot within such time as may be fixed by the court.

All town lots not improved as aforesaid shall belong to the tribe, and shall be in like manner appraised, and, after approval by the Secretary of the Interior, and due notice, sold to the highest bidder at public auction by said commission, but not for less than their appraised value, unless ordered by the Secretary of the Interior ; and purchasers may in like manner make deposits of the purchase money with like effect, as in case of improved lots.

The inhabitants of any town may, within one year after the completion of the survey thereof, make such deposit of ten dollars per acre for parks, cemeteries, and other public grounds laid out by said commission with like effect as for improved lots ; and such parks and public grounds shall not be used for any purpose until such deposits are made.

The person authorized by the tribe or tribes may execute or deliver to any such purchaser, without expense to him, a deed conveying to him the title to such lands or town lots ; and thereafter the purchase money shall become the property of the tribe; and all such moneys shall, when titles to all the lots in the towns belonging to any tribe have been thus perfected, be paid per capita to the members of the tribe : Provided, however, That in those town sites designated and laid out under the provisions of this act where coal leases are now being operated and coal is being mined there shall be reserved from appraisement and sale all lots occupied by houses of miners actually engaged in mining, and only while they are so engaged, and in addition thereto a sufficient amount of land, to be determined by the appraisers, to furnish homes for the men actually engaged in working for the lessees operating said mines and a sufficient amount for all buildings and machinery for mining purposes: And provided further, That when the lessees shall cease to operate said mines, then, and in that event, the lots of land so reserved shall be disposed of as provided for in this act.

SEC. 16. That it shall be unlawful for any person, after the passage of this act, except as hereinafter provided, to claim, demand, or receive, for his own use or for the use of anyone else, any royalty on oil, coal, asphalt, or other mineral, or on any timber or lumber, or any other kind of property whatsoever, or any rents on any lands or property belonging to any one of said tribes or nations in said Territory, or for anyone to pay to any individual any such royalty or rents or any consideration there for whatsoever; and all royalties and rents hereafter payable to the tribe shall be paid, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior, into the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the tribe to which they belong: Provided, That where any citizen shall be in possession of only such amount of agricultural or grazing lands as would be his just and reasonable share of the lands of his nation or tribe and that to which his wife and minor children are entitled, he may continue to use the same or receive the rents thereon until allotment has been made to him : Provided further, That nothing herein contained shall impair the rights of any member of a tribe to dispose of any timber contained on his, her, or their allotment

SEC. 17. That it shall be unlawful for any citizen of any one of said tribes to enclose or in any manner, by himself or through another, directly or indirectly, to hold possession of any greater amount of lands or other property belonging to any such nation or tribe than that which would be his approximate share of the lands belonging to such nation or tribe and that of his wife and his minor children as per allotment herein provided ; and any person found in such possession of lands or other property in excess of his share and that of his family, as afore said, or having the same in any manner enclosed, at the expiration of nine months after the passage of this act, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

SEC. 18. That any person convicted of violating any of the provisions of sections sixteen and seventeen of this act shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars, and shall stand committed until such fine and costs are paid (such commitment not to exceed one day for every two dollars of said fine and costs), and shall forfeit possession of any property in question, and each day on which such offense is committed or continues to exist shall be deemed a separate offense. And the United States district attorneys in said Territory are required to see that the provisions of said sections are strictly enforced, and they shall at once proceed to dispossess all persons of such excessive holding of lands and to prosecute them for so unlawfully holding the same.

SEC. 19. That no payment of any moneys on any account whatever shall here after be made by the United States to any of the tribal governments or to any officer thereof for disbursement, but payments of all sums to members of said tribes shall be made under direction of the Secretary of the Interior by an officer appointed by him; and per capita payments shall be made direct to” each individual in lawful money of the United States, and the same shall not be liable to the payment of any previously contracted obligation.

SEC. 20. That the commission here in before named shall have authority to employ, with approval of the Secretary of the Interior, all assistance necessary for the prompt and efficient performance of all duties herein imposed, including competent surveyors to make allotments, and to do any other needed work, and the Secretary of the Interior may detail competent clerks to aid them in the performance of their duties.

SEC. 21. That in making rolls of citizenship of the several tribes, as required by law, the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes is authorized and directed to take the roll of Cherokee citizens of eighteen hundred and eighty (not including freedmen) as the only roll intended to be confirmed by this and proceeding acts of Congress, and to enroll all persons now living whose names are found on said roll, and all descendants born since the date of said roll to persons whose names are found thereon ; and all persons who have been enrolled by the tribal authorities who have heretofore made permanent settlement in the Cherokee Nation whose parents, by reason of their Cherokee blood, have been lawfully admitted to citizenship by the tribal authorities, and who were minors when their parents were so admitted ; and they shall investigate the right of all other persons whose names are found on any other rolls and omit all such as may have been placed thereon by fraud or without authority of law, enrolling only such as may have lawful right thereto, and their descendants born since such rolls were made, with such intermarried white persons as may be entitled to citizenship under Cherokee laws.

It shall make a roll of Cherokee freedmen in strict compliance with the decree of the Court of Claims rendered the third day of February, eighteen hundred and ninety-six.

Said Commission is authorized and directed to make correct rolls of the citizens by blood of all the other tribes, eliminating from the tribal rolls such names as may have been placed thereon by fraud or without authority of law, enrolling such only as may have lawful right thereto, and their descendants born since such rolls were made, with such intermarried white persons as may be entitled to Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship under the treaties and the laws of said tribes.

Said Commission shall have authority to determine the identity of Choctaw Indians claiming rights in the Choctaw lands under article fourteen of the treaty between the United States and the Choctaw Nation concluded September twenty-seventh, eighteen hundred and thirty, and to that end may administer oaths, examine witnesses, and perform all other acts necessary thereto and make report to the Secretary of the Interior.

The roll of Creek freedmen made by J. W. Dunn, under authority of the United States, prior to March fourteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, is hereby confirmed, and said Commission is directed to enroll all persons now living whose names are found on said rolls, and all descendants born since the date of said roll to persons whose names are found thereon, with such other persons of African descent as may have been rightfully admitted by the lawful authorities of the Creek Nation.

It shall make a correct roll of all Choctaw freedmen entitled to citizenship under the treaties and laws of the Choctaw Nation, and all their descendants born to them since the date of the treaty.

It shall make a correct roll of Chickasaw freedmen entitled to any rights or benefits under the treaty made in eighteen hundred and sixty-six between the United States and the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes and their descendants born to them since the date of said treaty, and forty acres of land, including their present residences and improvements, shall be allotted to each, to be selected, held, and used by them until their rights under said treaty shall be determined in such manner as shall be hereafter provided by Congress.

The several tribes may, by agreement, determine the right of persons who for any reason may claim citizenship in two or more tribes, and to allotment of lands and distribution of moneys belonging to each tribe; but if no such agreement be made, then such claimant shall be entitled to such rights in one tribe only, and may elect in which tribe he will take such right ; but if he fail or refuse to make such selection in due time, he shall be enrolled in the tribe with whom he has resided, and there be given such allotment and distributions, and not elsewhere.

No person shall be enrolled who has not heretofore removed to and in good faith settled in the nation in which he claims citizenship: Provided, however, That nothing contained in this act shall be so construed as to militate against any rights or privileges which the Mississippi Choctaws may have under the laws of or the treaties with the United States.

Said Commission shall make such rolls descriptive of the persons thereon, so that they may be thereby identified, and it is authorized to take a census of each of said tribes, or to adopt any other means by them deemed necessary to enable them to make such rolls. They shall have access to all rolls and records of the several tribes, and the United States court in Indian Territory shall have jurisdiction to compel the officers of the tribal governments and custodians of such rolls and records to deliver same to said Commission, and on their refusal or failure to do so to punish them as for contempt; as also to require all citizens of said tribes, and persons who should be so enrolled, to appear before said Commission for enrollment, at such times and places as may be fixed by said Commission, and to enforce obedience of all others concerned, so far as the same may be necessary, to enable said Commission to make rolls as herein required, and to punish anyone who may in any manner or by any means obstruct said work.

The rolls so made, when approved by the Secretary of the Interior, shall be final, and the persons whose names are found thereon, with their descendants thereafter born to them, with such persons as may intermarry according to tribal laws, shall alone constitute the several tribes which they represent.

The members of said Commission shall, in performing all duties required of them by law, have authority to administer oaths, examine witnesses, and send for persons and papers ; and any person who shall willfully and knowingly make any false affidavit or oath to any material fact or matter before any member of said Commission, or before any other officer authorized to administer oaths, to any affidavit or other paper to be filed or oath taken before said Commission, shall be deemed guilty of perjury, and on conviction thereof shall be punished as for such offense.

SEC. 22. That where members of one tribe, under intercourse laws, usages, or customs, have made homes within the limits and on the lands of another tribe they may retain and take allotment, embracing same under such agreement as may be made between such tribes respecting such settlers ; but if no such agreement be made, the improvements so made shall be appraised, and the value thereof, including all damages incurred by such settler incident to enforced removal, shall be paid to him immediately upon removal, out of any funds belonging to the tribe, or such settler, if he so desire, may make private sale of his improvements to any citizen of the tribe owning the lands: Provided, That he shall not be paid for improvements made on lands in excess of that to which he, his wife, and minor children are entitled to under this act.

SEC. 23. That all leases of agricultural or grazing land belonging to any tribe made after the first day of January, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, by the tribe or any member thereof shall be absolutely void, and all such grazing leases made prior to said date shall terminate on the first day of April, eighteen hundred and ninety-nine, and all such agricultural leases shall terminate on January first, nineteen hundred; but this shall not prevent individuals from leasing their allotments when made to them as provided in this act, nor from occupying or renting their proportionate shares of the tribal lands until the allotments herein provided for are made.

SEC. 24. That all moneys paid into the United States treasury at Saint Louis, Missouri, under provisions of this act shall be placed to the credit of the tribe to which they belong; and the assistant United States treasurer shall give triplicate receipts there for to the depositor.

SEC. 25. That before any allotment shall be made of lands in the Cherokee Nation, there shall be segregated there from by the Commission heretofore mentioned, in separate allotments or otherwise, the one hundred and fifty-seven thousand six hundred acres purchased by the Delaware tribe of Indians from the Cherokee Nation under agreement of April eighth, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, subject to the judicial determination of the rights of said descendants and the Cherokee Nation under said agreement. That the Delaware Indians residing in the Cherokee Nation are hereby authorized and empowered to bring suit in the Court of Claims of the United States, within sixty days after the passage of this act, against the Cherokee Nation, for the purpose of determining the rights of said Delaware Indians in and to the lands and funds of said nation under their contract and agreement with the Cherokee Nation dated April eighth, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven; or the Cherokee Nation may bring a like suit against said Delaware Indians ; and jurisdiction is conferred on said court to adjudicate and fully determine the same, with right of appeal to either party to the Supreme Court of the United States.

SEC. 26. That on and after the passage of this act the laws of the various tribes or nations of Indians shall not be enforced at law or in equity by the courts of the United States in the Indian Territory.

SEC. 27. That the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to locate one Indian inspector in Indian Territory, who may, under his authority and direction, per form any duties required of the Secretary of the Interior by law relating to affairs therein.

SEC. 28. That on the first day of July, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, all tribal courts in Indian Territory shall be abolished, and no officer of said courts shall thereafter have any authority whatever to do or perform any act thereto fore authorized by any law in connection with said courts, or to receive any pay for same; and all civil and criminal causes then pending in any such court shall be transferred to the United States court in said Territory by filing with the clerk of the court the original papers in the suit : Provided, That this section shall not be in force as to the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek tribes or nations until the first day of October, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight.

SEC. 29. That the agreement made by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes with commissions representing the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes of Indians on the twenty third day of April, eighteen hundred and ninety-seven, as herein amended, is hereby ratified and confirmed, and the same shall be of full force and effect if ratified before the first day of December, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, by a majority of the whole number of votes cast by the members of said tribes at an election held for that purpose; and the executives of said tribes are hereby authorized and directed to make public proclamation that said agreement shall be voted on at the next general election, or at any special election to be called by such executives for the purpose of voting on said agreement; and at the election held for such purpose all male members of each of said tribes qualified to vote under his tribal laws shall have the right to vote at the election precinct most convenient to his residence, whether the same be within the bounds of his tribe or not: Provided, That no person whose right to citizenship in either of said tribes or nations is now contested in original or appellate proceedings before any United States court shall be permitted to vote at said election : Provided further, That the votes cast in both said tribes or nations shall be forthwith returned duly certified by the precinct officers to the national secretaries of said tribes or nations, and shall be presented by said national secretaries to a board of commissioners consisting of the principal chief and national secretary of the Choctaw Nation, the governor and national secretary of the Chickasaw Nation, and a member of the Com mission to the Five Civilized Tribes, to be designated by the chairman of said

Commission; and said board shall meet without delay at Atoka, in the Indian Territory, and canvass and count said votes and make proclamation of the result; and if said agreement as amended be so ratified, the provisions of this act shall then only apply to said tribes where the same do not conflict with the provisions of said agreement; but the provisions of said agreement, if so ratified, shall not in any manner affect the provisions of section fourteen of this act, which said amended agreement is as follows:

This agreement, by and between the Government of the United States, of the first part, entered into in its behalf by the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, Henry L. Dawes, Frank C. Armstrong, Archibald S. McKennon, Thomas B. Cabaniss, and Alexander B. Montgomery, duly appointed and authorized thereunto, and the governments of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes or nations of Indians in the Indian Territory, respectively, of the second part, entered into in behalf of such Choctaw and Chickasaw governments, duly appointed and authorized thereunto, viz, Green McCurtain, J. S. Standley, N. B. Ainsworth, Ben Hampton, Wesley Anderson, Amos Henry, D. C. Garland, and A. S. Williams, in behalf of the Choctaw Tribe or Nation, and It. M. Harris, I. O. Lewis, Holmes Colbert, P. S. Mosely, M. V. Cheadle. R. L. Murray, William Perry, A. H. Colbert, and R. L. Boyd, in behalf of the Chickasaw Tribe or Nation.

 Allotment of Lands

Witnesseth, That in consideration of the mutual undertakings, herein contained, it is agreed as follows :

That all the lands within the Indian Territory belonging to the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians shall be allotted to the members of said tribes so as to give to each member of these tribes so far as possible a fair and equal share thereof, considering the character and fertility of the soil and the location and value of the lands.

That all the lands set apart for town sites, and the strip of land lying between the city of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers, extending up said river to the mouth of Mill Creek; and six hundred and forty acres each, to include the buildings now occupied by the Jones Academy, Tushkahoma Female Seminary, Wheelock Orphan Seminary, and Armstrong Orphan Academy, and ten acres for the capitol building of the Choctaw Nation; one hundred and sixty acres each, immediately contiguous to and including the buildings known as Bloomfield Academy, Lebanon Orphan Home, Harley Institute, Rock Academy, and Collins Institute, and five acres for the capitol building in the Chickasaw Nation, and the use of one acre of land for each church house now erected outside of the towns, and eighty acres of land each for J. S. Murrow, H. R. Schermerhorn, and the widow of R. S. Bell, who have been laboring as missionaries in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations since the year eighteen hundred and sixty-six, with the same conditions and limitations as apply to lands allotted to the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, and to be located on lands not occupied by a Choctaw or a Chickasaw, and a reason able amount of land, to be determined by the town-site commission, to include all court-houses and jails and other public buildings not here in before provided for, shall be exempted from division. And all coal and asphalt in or under the lands allotted and reserved from allotment shall be. reserved for the sole use of the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, exclusive of freedmen: Provided, That where any coal or asphalt is hereafter opened on land allotted, sold, or reserved, the value of the use of the necessary surface for prospecting or mining, and the damage done to the other lands and improvements, shall be ascertained under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior and paid to the allottee or owner of the land by the lessee or party operating the same, before operations begin. That in order to such equal division, the lands of the Choctaws and Chickasaws shall be graded and appraised so as to give to each member, so far as possible, an equal value of the land: Provided further, That the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes shall make a correct roll of Chickasaw freedmen entitled to any rights or benefits under the treaty made in eighteen hundred and sixty-six between the United States and the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes and their descendants born to them since the date of said treaty, and forty acres of land, including their present residences and improvements, shall be allotted to each, to be selected, held, and used by them until their rights under said treaty shall be determined, in such manner as shall hereafter be provided by act of Congress.

That the lands allotted to the Choctaw and Chickasaw freedmen are to be deducted from the portion to be allotted under this agreement to the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes so as to reduce the allotment to the Choctaws and Chickasaws by the value of the same.

That the said Choctaw and Chickasaw freedmen who may be entitled to allotments of forty acres each shall be entitled each to land equal in value to forty acres of the average land of the two nations.

That in the appraisement of the lands to be allotted the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes shall each have a representative, to be appointed by their respective executives, to cooperate with the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, or anyone making appraisements under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in grading and appraising the lands preparatory to allotment. And the land shall be valued in the appraisement as if in its original condition, excluding the improvements thereon.

That the appraisement and allotment shall be made under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, and shall begin as soon as the progress of the surveys, now being made by the United States Government, will admit.

That each member of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, including Choctaw and Chickasaw freedmen, shall, where it is possible, have the right to take his allotment on land the improvements on which belong to him, and such improvements shall not be estimated in the value of his allotment. In the case of minor children allotments shall be selected for them by their father, mother, guardian, or the administrator having charge of their estate, preference being given in the order named, and shall not be sold during his (or her) minority. Allotments shall be selected for prisoners, convicts, and incompetents by some suitable per son akin to them, and due care taken that all persons entitled thereto have allotments made to them.

All the lands allotted shall be nontaxable while the title remains in the original allottee, but not to exceed twenty-one years from date of patent, and each allot tee shall select from his allotment a homestead on one hundred and sixty acres, for which he shall have a separate patent, and which shall be inalienable for twenty-one years from date of patent. This provision shall also apply to the Choctaw and Chickasaw freedman to the extent of his allotment. Selections for homesteads for minors to be made as provided herein in case of allotment, and the remainder of the lands allotted to said members shall be alienable for a price to be actually paid, and to include no former indebtedness or obligation one-fourth of said remainder in one year, one-fourth in three years, and the balance of said alienable lands in five years from the date of the patent.

That all contracts looking to the sale or incumbrance in any way of the land of an allottee, except the sale here in before provided, shall be null and void. No allottee shall lease his allotment, or any portion thereof, for a longer period than five years, and then without the privilege of renewal. Every lease which is not evidenced by writing, setting out specifically the terms thereof, or which is not recorded in the clerk s office of the United States court for the district in which the land is located, within three months after the date of its execution, shall be void, and the purchaser or lessee shall acquire no rights whatever by an entry or holding there under, and no such lease or any sale shall be valid as against the allottee unless providing to him a reasonable compensation for the lands sold or leased.

That all controversies arising between the members of said tribes as to their right to have certain lands allotted to them shall be settled by the commission making the allotments.

That the United States shall put each allottee in possession of his allotment and remove all persons there from objectionable to the allottee.

That the United States shall survey and definitely mark and locate the ninety-eighth (98th) meridian of west longitude between Red and Canadian Rivers before allotment of the lands herein provided for shall begin.

Members Titles to Lands

That, as soon as practicable after the completion of said allotments, the principal chief of the Choctaw Nation and the governor of the Chickasaw Nation shall jointly execute, under their hands and the seals of the respective nations, and deliver to each of the said allottees patents conveying to him all the right, title, and interest of the Choctaws and Chickasaws in and to the land which shall have been allotted to him in conformity with the requirements of this agreement, excepting all coal and asphalt in or under said land. Said patents shall be framed in accordance with the provisions of this agreement, and shall embrace the land allotted to such patentee and no other land, and the acceptance of his patents by such allottee shall be operative as an assent on his part to the allotment and conveyance of all the lands of the Choctaw’s and Chickasaws in accordance with the provisions of this agreement, and as a relinquishment of all his right, title, and interest in and to any and all parts thereof, except the land embraced in said patents, except also his interest in the proceeds of all lands, coal, and asphalt herein excepted from allotment.

That the United States shall provide by law for proper record of land titles in the territory occupied by the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes.

Railroads

The rights of way for railroads through the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations to be surveyed and set apart and platted to conform to the respective acts of Congress granting the same in cases where said rights of way are defined by such acts of Congress, but in cases where the acts of Congress do not define the same, then Congress is memorialized to definitely fix the width of said rights of way for station grounds and between stations, so that railroads now constructed through said nations shall have, as near as possible, uniform rights of way ; and Congress is also requested to fix uniform rates of fare and freight for all railroads through the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations; branch railroads now constructed and not built according to acts of Congress to pay the same rates for rights of way and station grounds as main lines.

Town Sites

It is further agreed that there shall be appointed a commission for each of the two nations. Each commission shall consist of one member, to be appointed by the executive of the tribe for which said commission is to act, who shall not be interested in town property other than his home, and one to be appointed by the President of the United States. Each of said commissions shall lay out town sites, to be restricted as far as possible to their present limits, where towns are now located in the nation for which said commission is appointed. Said commission shall have prepared correct and proper plats of each town, and file one in the clerk s office of the United States district court for the district in which the town is located, and one with the principal chief or governor of the nation in which the town is located, and one with the Secretary of the Interior, be approved by him before the same shall take effect. When said towns are so laid out, each lot on which permanent, substantial, and valuable improvements, other than fences, tillage, and temporary houses, have been made, shall be valued by the commission provided for the nation in which the town is located at the price a fee-simple title to the same would bring in the market at the time the valuation is made, but not to include in such value the improvements thereon. The owner of the improvements on each lot shall have the right to buy one residence and one business lot at fifty per centum of the appraised value of such improved property, and the remainder of such improved property at sixty-two and one-half per centum of the said market value within sixty days from date of notice served on him that such lot is for sale, and if he purchases the same he shall, within ten days from his purchase, pay into the Treasury of the United States one-fourth of the purchase price, and the balance in three equal annual installments, and when the entire sum is paid shall be entitled to a patent for the same. In case the two members of the commission fail to agree as to the market value of any lot, or the limit or extent of said town, either of said commissioners may report any such disagreement to the judge of the district in which such town is located, who shall appoint a third member to act with said commission, who is not interested in town lots, who shall act with them to determine said value.

If such owner of the improvements on any lot fails within sixty days to purchase and make the first payment on same, such lot, with the improvements thereon, shall be sold at public auction to the highest bidder, under the direction of the aforesaid commission, and the purchaser at such sale shall pay to the owner of the improvements the price for which said lot shall be sold, less sixty-two and one-half per cent of said appraised value of the lot, and shall pay the sixty-two and one-half per cent of said appraised value into United States Treasury, under regulations to be established by the Secretary of the Interior, in four installments, as here in before provided. The commission shall have the right to reject any bid on such lot which they consider below its value.

All lots not so appraised shall be sold from time to time at public auction (after proper advertisement) by the commission for the nation in which the town is located, as may seem for the best interest of the nations and the proper development of each town, the purchase price to be paid in four installments, as here in before provided for improved lots. The commission shall have the right to reject any bid for such lots which they consider below its value.

All the payments herein provided for shall be made under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior into the United States Treasury, a failure of sixty days to make any one payment to be a forfeiture of all payments made and all rights under the contract: Provided, That the purchaser of any lot shall have the option of paying the entire price of the lot before the same is due.

No tax shall be assessed by any town government against any town lot unsold by the commission, and no tax levied against a lot sold, as herein provided, shall constitute a lien on same till the purchase price thereof has been fully paid to the nation.

The money paid into the United States Treasury for the sale of all town lots be for the benefit of the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes (freedmen excepted), and at the end of one year from the ratification of this agreement, and at the end of each year thereafter, the funds so accumulated shall be divided and paid to the Choctaws and Chickasaws (freedmen excepted), each member of the two tribes to receive an equal portion thereof.

That no law or ordinance shall be passed by any town which interferes with the enforcement of or is in conflict with the laws of the United States in force in said Territory, and all persons in such towns shall be subject to said laws, and the United States agrees to maintain strict laws in the territory of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes against the introduction, sale, barter, or giving away of liquors and intoxicants of any kind or quality.

That said commission shall be authorized to locate, within a suitable distance from each town site, not to exceed five acres to be used as a cemetery, and when any town has paid into the United States Treasury, to be part of the fund arising from the sale of town lots, ten dollars per acre there for, such town shall be entitled to a patent for the same, as herein provided for titles to allottees, and shall dispose of same at reasonable prices in suitable lots for burial purposes, the proceeds derived from such sales to be applied by the town government to the proper improvement and care of said cemetery.

That no charge or claim shall be made against the Choctaw or Chickasaw tribes by the United States for the expenses of surveying and platting the lands and town sites, or for grading, appraising, and allotting the lands, or for appraising and disposing of the town lots as herein provided.

That the land adjacent to Fort Smith, and lands for court-houses, jails, and other public purposes excepted from allotment, shall be disposed of in the same manner and for the same purposes as provided for town lots herein, but not till the Choctaw and Chickasaw councils shall direct such disposition to be made thereof, and said land adjacent thereto shall be placed under the jurisdiction of the city of Fort Smith, Arkansas, for police purposes.

There shall be set apart and exempted from appraisement and sale in the towns lots upon which churches and parsonages are now built and occupied, not to exceed fifty feet front and one hundred feet deep for each church or parsonage : Provided, That such lots shall only be used for churches and parsonages, and when they cease to be used shall revert to the members of the tribes to be disposed of as other town lots: Provided further, That these lots may be sold by the churches for which they are set apart if the purchase money there for is invested in other lot or lots in the same town, to be used for the same purpose and with the same conditions and limitations.

It is agreed that all the coal and asphalt within the limits of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations shall remain and be the common property of the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes (freedmen excepted), so that each and every member shall have an equal and undivided interest in the whole ; and no patent provided for in this agreement shall convey any title thereto. The revenues from coal and asphalt, or so much as shall be necessary, shall be used for the education of the children of Indian blood of the members of said tribes. Such coal and asphalt mines as are now in operation, and all others which may hereafter be leased and operated, shall be under the supervision and control of two trustees, who shall be appointed by the President of the United States, one on the recommendation of the principal chief of the Choctaw Nation, who shall be a Choctaw by blood, whose term shall be for four years, and one on the recommendation of the governor of the Chickasaw Nation, who shall be a Chickasaw by blood, whose term shall be for two years ; after which the term of appointees shall be four years. Said trustees, or either of them, may at any time be removed by the President of the United States for good cause shown. They shall each give bond for the faithful performance of their duties, under such rules as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior. Their salaries shall be fixed and paid by their respective nations, each of whom shall make full report of all his acts to the Secretary of the Interior quarterly. All such acts shall be subject to the approval of said Secretary.

All coal and asphalt mines in the two nations, whether now developed or to be hereafter developed, shall be operated, and the royalties there from paid into the Treasury of the United States, and shall be drawn there from under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior.

All contracts made by the national agents of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations for operating coal and asphalt with any person or corporation which were, on April twenty-third, eighteen hundred and ninety-seven, being operated in good faith, are hereby ratified and confirmed, and the lessee shall have the right to renew the same when they expire, subject to all the provision of this act.

All agreements heretofore made by any person or corporation with any member or members of the Choctaw or Chickasaw nations, the object of which was to obtain such member or members permission to operate coal, or asphalt, are hereby declared void : Provided, That nothing herein contained shall impair the rights of any holder or owner of a leasehold interest in any oil, coal rights, asphalt, or mineral which have been assented to by act of Congress, but all such interests shall continue unimpaired hereby, and shall be assured by new leases from such trustees of coal or asphalt claims described therein by application to the trustees within six months after the ratification of this agreement, subject, however, to payment of advance royalties herein provided for.

All leases under this agreement shall include the coal or asphaltum or other mineral, as the case may be, in or under nine hundred and sixty acres, which shall be in a square as nearly as possible and shall be for thirty years. The royalty on coal shall be fifteen cents per ton of two thousand pounds on all coal mined, payable on the 25th day of the month next succeeding that in which it is mined. Royalty on asphalt shall be sixty cents per ton, payable same as coal : Provided, That the Secretary of the Interior may reduce or advance royalties on coal and asphalt when he deems it for the best interests of the Choctaws and Chickasaws to do so. No royalties shall be paid except into the United States Treasury, as herein provided.

All lessees shall pay on each coal or asphalt claim at the rate of one hundred dollars per annum, in advance, for the first and second years ; two hundred dollars per annum, in advance, for the third and fourth years ; and five hundred dollars for each succeeding year thereafter. All such payments shall be treated as advanced royalty on the mine or claim on which they are made, and shall be a credit as royalty when each said mine is developed and operated and its production is in excess of such guaranteed annual advance payments ; and all persons having coal leases must pay said annual advanced payments on each claim whether developed or undeveloped: Provided, however. That should any lessee neglect or refuse to pay such advanced annual royalty for the period of sixty days after the same becomes due and payable on any lease, the lease on which default is made shall become null and void, and the royalties paid in advance thereon shall then become and be the money and property of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations.

In surface, the use of which is reserved to present coal operators, shall be included such lots in towns as are occupied by lessees houses either occupied by said lessees employees or as offices or warehouses: Provided, however, That in those town sites designated and laid out under the provision of this agreement where coal leases are now being operated and coal is being mined, there shall be reserved from appraisement and sale all lots occupied by houses of miners actually engaged in mining, and only while they are so engaged, and in addition thereto a sufficient amount of land, to be determined by the town-site board of appraisers, to furnish homes for the men actually engaged in working for the lessees operating said mines and a sufficient amount for all buildings and machinery for mining purposes: And provided further, That when the lessees shall cease to operate said mines, then and in that event the lots of land so re served shall be disposed of by the coal trustees for the benefit of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes.

That whenever the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes shall be required to pay taxes for the support of schools, then the fund arising from such royalties shall be disposed of for the equal benefit of their members (freedmen excepted) in such manner as the tribes may direct.

It is further agreed that the United States courts now existing, or that may hereafter be created, in the Indian Territory shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all controversies growing out of the titles, ownership, occupation, possession, or use of real estate, coal, and asphalt in the territory occupied by the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes ; and of all persons charged with homicide, embezzlement, bribery and embracery, breaches or disturbances of the peace, and carrying weapons, hereafter committed in the territory of said tribe, without reference to race or citizenship of the person or persons charged with such crime ; and any citizen or officer of the Choctaw or Chickasaw nations charged with such crime shall be tried and, if convicted, punished as though he were a citizen or officer of the United States.

And sections sixteen hundred and thirty-six to sixteen hundred and forty-four, inclusive, entitled ” Embezzlement,” and sections seventeen hundred and eleven to seventeen hundred and eighteen, inclusive, entitled ” Bribery and embracery.” of Mansfield s Digest of the Laws of Arkansas, are hereby extended over and put in force in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations; and the word “officer,” where the same appears in said laws, shall include all officers of the Choctaw and Chickasaw governments ; and the fifteenth section of the act of Congress entitled “An act to establish United States courts in the Indian Territory, and for other purposes,” approved March first, eighteen hundred and eighty-nine, limiting jurors to citizens of the United States, shall be held not to apply to United States courts in the Indian Territory held within the limits of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations ; and all members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, otherwise qualified, shall be competent jurors in said courts: Provided, That whenever a member of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations is indicted for homicide, he may, within thirty days after such indictment and his arrest thereon, and before the same is reached for trial, file with the clerk of the court in which he is indicted his affidavit that he can not get a fair trial in said court ; and it thereupon shall be the duty of the judge of said court to order a change of venue in such case to the United States district court for the western district of Arkansas, at Fort Smith, Arkansas, or to the United States district court for the eastern district of Texas, at Paris, Texas, always selecting the court that in his judgment is nearest or most convenient to the place where the crime charged in the indictment is supposed to have been committed, which courts shall have jurisdiction to try the case ; and in all said civil suits said courts shall have full equity powers ; and whenever it shall appear to said court, at any stage in the hearing of any case, that the tribe is in any way interested in the subject-matter in controversy, it shall have power to summon in said tribe and make the same a party to the suit and proceed therein in all respects as if such tribe were an original party thereto ; but in no case shall suit be instituted against the tribal government without its consent.

It is further agreed that no act, ordinance, or resolution of the council of either the Choctaw or Chickasaw tribes, in any manner affecting the land of the tribe, or of the individuals, after allotment, or the moneys or other property of the tribe or citizens thereof (except appropriations for the regular and necessary expenses of the government of the respective tribes), or the rights of any persons to employ any kind of labor, or the rights of any persons who have taken or may take the oath of allegiance to the United States, shall be of any validity until approved by the President of the United States. When such acts, ordinances, or resolutions passed by the council of either of said tribes shall be approved by the governor thereof, then it shall be the duty of the national secretary of said tribe to forward them to the President of the United States, duly certified and sealed, who shall, within thirty days after their reception, approve or disapprove the same. Said acts, ordinances, or resolutions, when so approved, shall be published in at least two newspapers having a bona fide circulation in the tribe to be affected thereby, and when disapproved shall be returned to the tribe enacting the same.

It is further agreed, in view of the modification of legislative authority and judicial jurisdiction herein provided, and the necessity of the continuance of the tribal governments so modified, in order to carry out the requirements of this agreement, that the same shall continue for the period of eight years from the fourth day of March, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight. This stipulation is made in the belief that the tribal governments so modified will prove so satisfactory that there will be no need or desire for further change till the lands now occupied by the Five Civilized Tribes shall, in the opinion of Congress, be prepared for admission as a State to the Union. But this provision shall not be construed to be in any respect an abdication by Congress of power at any time to make needful rules and regulations respecting said tribes.

That all per capita payments hereafter made to the members of the Choctaw or Chickasaw nations shall be paid directly to each individual member by a bonded officer of the United States, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, which officer shall be required to give strict account of such disbursements to said Secretary.

That the following sum be, and is hereby, appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for fulfilling treaty stipulations with the Chickasaw Nation of Indians, namely :

For arrears of interest, at five per centum per annum, from December thirty-first, eighteen hundred and forty, to June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and eighty-nine, on one hundred and eighty-four thousand one hundred and forty-three dollars and nine cents of the trust fund of the Chickasaw Nation erroneously dropped from the books of the United States prior to- December thirty-first, eighteen hundred and forty, and restored December twenty-seventh, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, by the award of the Secretary of the Interior, under the fourth article of the treaty of June twenty-second, eighteen hundred and fifty-two, and for arrears of interest, at five per centum per annum, from March eleventh, eighteen hundred and fifty, to March third, eighteen hundred and ninety, on fifty-six thousand and twenty-one dollars and forty-nine cents of the trust fund of the Chickasaw Nation erroneously dropped from the books of the United States March eleventh, eighteen hundred and fifty, and restored December twenty-seventh, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, by the award of the Secretary of the Interior, under the fourth article of the treaty of June twenty-second, eighteen hundred and fifty-two, five hundred and fifty-eight thousand five hundred and twenty dollars and fifty-four cents, to be placed to the credit of the Chickasaw Nation with the fund to which it properly belongs: Provided, That if there be any attorneys fees to be paid out of same, on contract heretofore made and duly approved by the Secretary of the Interior, the same is authorized to be paid by him.

It is further agreed that the final decision of the courts of the United States in the case of the Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation against the United States and the Wichita and affiliated bands of Indians, now pending, when made, shall be conclusive as the basis of settlement as between the United States and said Choctaw and Chickasaw nations for the remaining lands in what is known as the ” Leased District,” namely, the land lying between the ninety-eighth and one hundredth degrees of west longitude and between the Red and Canadian rivers, leased to the United States by the treaty of eighteen hundred and fifty-five, except that portion called the Cheyenne and Arapahoe country, heretofore acquired by the United States, and all final judgments rendered against said nations in any of the courts of the United States in favor of the United States or any citizen thereof shall first be paid out of any sum hereafter found due said Indians for any interest they may have in the so-called ” Leased District.”

It is further agreed that all of the funds invested, in lieu of investment, treaty funds, or otherwise, now held by the United States in trust for the Choc taw and Chickasaw tribes, shall be capitalized within one year after the tribal governments shall cease, so far as the same may legally be done, and be appropriated and paid, by some officer of the United States appointed for the purpose, to the Choctaws and Chickasaws (freedmen excepted) per capita, to aid and assist them in improving their homes and lands.

It is further agreed that the Choctaws and Chickasaws, when their tribal governments cease, shall become possessed of all the rights and privileges of citizens of the United States.

Orphan Lands

It is further agreed that the Choctaw orphan lands in the State of Mississippi, yet unsold, shall be taken by the United States at one dollar and twenty-five-cents ($1.25) per acre, and the proceeds placed to the credit of the Choctaw orphan fund in the Treasury of the United States, the number of acres to be determined by the General Land Office.

Witness at Atoka, Indian Territory

In witness whereof the said commissioners do hereunto affix their names, at Atoka, Indian Territory, this the twenty-third day of April, eighteen hundred and ninety-seven.

Green McCurtain, Principal Chief
R. M. Harris, Governor

J. S. Standley
N. B. Ainsworth
Ben Hampton
Amos Henry
D. C. Garland
Choctaw Commission

Isaac O. Lewis
Holmes Colbert
Robert L. Murray
Wesley Anderson
William Perry
R. L. Boyd
Chickasaw Commission

Frank C. Armstrong, Acting Chairman

Archibald S. McKennon
Thomas B. Caraniss
Alexander B. Montgomery
Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes.

H. M. Jacoway, Jr.,
Secretary Five Tribes Commission.

Witness at Atoka, Indian Territory



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. 21 September 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/act-of-june-28-1898-curtis-act.htm - Last updated on Mar 27th, 2013


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