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Act of May 31, 1900
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For salaries of four commissioners, appointed under acts of Congress approved March third, eighteen hundred and ninety-three, and March second, eighteen hundred and ninety-five, to negotiate with the Five Civilized Tribes in the Indian Territory, twenty thousand dollars: Provided, That the number of said commissioners is hereby fixed at four. For expenses of commissioners and necessary expenses of employees, and three dollars per diem for expenses of a clerk detailed as special disbursing agent by Interior Department, while on duty with the Commission, shall be paid there from; for clerical help, including secretary of the Commission and interpreters, five hundred thousand dollars, to be immediately available; for contingent expenses of the Commission, four thousand dollars; in all, five hundred and twenty-four thousand dollars: Provided further, That this appropriation may be used by said Commission in the prosecution of all work to be done by or under its direction as required by statute.
That said Commission shall continue to exercise all authority heretofore conferred on it by law. But it shall not receive, consider, or make any record of any application of any person for enrollment as a member of any tribe in Indian Territory who has not been a recognized citizen thereof, and duly and lawfully enrolled or admitted as such, and its refusal of such applications shall be final when approved by the Secretary of the Interior: Provided, That any Mississippi Choctaw duly identified as such by the United States Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes shall have the right, at any time prior to the approval of the final rolls of the Choctaws and Chickasaws by the Secretary of the Interior, to make settlement within the Choctaw-Chickasaw country, and on proof of the fact of bona fide settlement may be enrolled by the said United States Com mission and by the Secretary of the Interior as Choctaws entitled to allotment: Provided further, That all contracts or agreements looking to the sale or encumbrance in any way of the lands to be allotted to said Mississippi Choctaws shall be null and void.
To pay all expenses incident to the survey, platting, arid appraisement of town sites in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Cherokee nations, Indian Territory, as required by sections fifteen and twenty-nine of an act entitled “An act for the protection of the people of the Indian Territory, and for other purposes,” approved June twenty-eighth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, for the balance of the current year and for the year ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred and one, the same to be immediately available, sixty-seven thousand dollars, or so much as may be necessary: Provided, That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized, under rules and regulations to be prescribed by him, to survey, lay out, and plat into town lots, streets, alleys, and parks the sites of such towns and villages in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Cherokee nations as may at that time have a population of two hundred or more in such manner as will best subserve the then present needs and the reasonable prospective growth of such towns. The work of surveying, laying out, and platting such town sites shall be done by competent surveyors, who shall prepare five copies of the plat of each town site, which, when the survey is approved by the Secretary of the Interior, shall be filed as follows : One in the office of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, one with the principal chief of the nation, one with the clerk of the court within the territorial jurisdiction of which the town is located, one with the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, and one with the town authorities, if there be such. Where in his judgment the best interests of the public service require, the Secretary of the Interior may secure the surveying, laying out, and platting of town sites in any of said nations by contract.
Hereafter the work of the respective town site commissions provided for in the agreement with the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes ratified in section twenty-nine of the act of June twenty-eighth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, entitled, “An act for the protection of the people of the Indian Territory, and for other purposes,” shall begin as to any town site immediately upon the approval of the survey by the Secretary of the Interior and not before.
The Secretary of the Interior may in his discretion appoint a town-site com mission consisting of three members for each of the Creek and Cherokee nations, at least one of whom shall be a citizen of the tribe and shall be appointed upon the nomination of the principal chief of the tribe. Each commission, under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior, shall appraise and sell for the benefit of the tribe the town lots in the nation for which it is appointed, acting in conformity with the provisions of any then existing act of Congress or agreement with the tribe approved by Congress. The agreement of any two members of the commission as to the true value of any lot shall constitute a determination thereof, subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, and if no two members are able to agree the matter shall be determined by such Secretary.
Where in his judgment the public interests will be thereby subserved, the Secretary of the Interior may appoint in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, or Cherokee nation a separate town-site commission for any town, in which event as to that town such local commission may exercise the same authority and perform the same duties which would otherwise devolve upon the commission for that nation. Every such local commission shall be appointed in the manner provided in the act approved June twenty-eighth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, entitled “An act for the protection of the people of the Indian Territory.”
The Secretary of the Interior, where in his judgment the public interests will be thereby subserved, may permit the authorities of any town in any of said nations, at the expense of the town, to survey, lay out, and plat the site thereof, subject to his supervision and approval, as in other instances.
As soon as the plat of any town site is approved, the proper commission shall, with all reasonable dispatch and within a limited time, to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior, proceed to make the appraisement of the lots and improvements, if any, thereon, and after the approval thereof by the Secretary of the Interior, shall, under the supervision of such Secretary, proceed to the disposition and sale of the lots in conformity with any then existing act of Congress or agreement with the tribe approved by Congress, and if the proper commission shall not complete such appraisement and sale within the time limited by the Secretary of the Interior, they shall receive no pay for such additional time as may be taken by them, unless the Secretary of the Interior for good cause shown shall expressly direct otherwise.
The Secretary of the Interior may, for good cause, remove any member of any town-site commission, tribal or local, in any of said nations, and may fill the vacancy thereby made or any vacancy otherwise occurring in like manner as the place was originally filled.
It shall not be required that the town-site limits established in the course of the platting and disposing of town lots and the corporate limits of the town, if incorporated, shall be identical or coextensive, but such town-site limits and corporate limits shall be so established as to best subserve the then present needs and the reasonable prospective growth of the town, as the same shall appear at the times when such limits are respectively established: Provided further, That the exterior limits of all town sites shall be designated and fixed at the earliest practicable time under rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior.
Upon the recommendation of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized at any time before allotment to set aside and reserve from allotment any lands in the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, or Cherokee nations, not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres in any one tract, at such stations as are or shall be established in conformity with law on the line of any railroad which shall be constructed or be in process of construction in or through either of said nations prior to the allotment of the lands therein, and this irrespective of the population of such town site at the time. Such town sites shall be surveyed, laid out, and platted, and the lands therein disposed of for the benefit of the tribe in the manner herein prescribed for other town sites : Provided further, That whenever any tract of land shall be set aside as herein provided which is occupied by a member of the tribe, such occupant shall be fully compensated for his improvements thereon under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior.
Nothing herein contained shall have the effect of avoiding any work hereto fore done in pursuance of the said act of June twenty-eighth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, in the way of surveying, laying out, or platting of town sites, appraising or disposing of town lots in any of said nations, but the same, if not heretofore carried to a state of completion, may be completed according to the provisions hereof.
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