June 5, 1872.
17 Stat., 226.
An act to provide for the removal of the Flathead and other Indians from the Bitter-Root Valley, in the Territory of Montana.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be the duty of the President, as soon as practicable, to remove the Flathead Indians, (whether of full or mixed bloods,) and all other Indians connected with said tribe, and recognized as members thereof, from Bitter-Root Valley, in the Territory of Montana, to the general reservation in said Territory, (commonly known as the Jocko reservation,) which by a treaty concluded at Hell Gate, in the Bitter-Root Valley, July sixteenth, eighteen hundred and fifty-five, and ratified by the Senate March eighth, eighteen hundred and fifty-nine, between the United States and the confederated tribes of Flathead, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreille Indians, was set apart and reserved for the use and occupation of said confederated tribes.
That as soon as practicable after the passage of this act, the surveyor-general of Montana Territory shall cause to be surveyed, as other public lands of the United States are surveyed, the lands in the Bitter-Root Valley lying above the Lo-Lo Fork of the Bitter-Root River; and said lands shall be open to settlement, and shall be sold in legal subdivisions to actual settlers only, the same being citizens of the United States, or having duly declared their intention to become such citizens, said settlers being heads of families, or over twenty-one years of age, in quantities not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres to each settler, at the price of one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, payment to be made in cash within twenty-one months from the date of settlement, or of the passage of this act. The sixteenth and thirty-sixth sections of said lands shall be reserved for school purposes in the manner provided by law. Town-sites in said valley may be reserved and entered as provided by law: Provided, That no more than fifteen townships of the lands so surveyed shall be deemed to be subject to the provisions of this act: And provided further, That none of the lands in said valley above the Lo-Lo Fork shall be open to settlement under the homestead and pre-emption laws of the United States. An account shall be kept by the Secretary of the Interior of the proceeds of said lands, and out of the first moneys arising there from there shall be reserved and set apart for the use of said Indians the sum of fifty thousand dollars, to be by the President expended, in annual instalments, in such manner as in his judgment shall be for the best good of said Indians, but no more than five thousand dollars shall be expended in any one year.
That any of said Indians, being the head of a family, or twenty-one years of age, who shall, at the passage of this act, be actually residing upon and cultivating any portion of said lands, shall be permitted to remain in said valley and pre-empt without cost the land so occupied and cultivated, not exceeding in amount one hundred and sixty acres for each of such Indians, for which he shall receive a patent without power of alienation: Provided, That such Indian shall, prior to August first, eighteen hundred and seventy-two, notify the superintendent of Indian Affairs for Montana Territory that he abandons his tribal relations with said tribe, and intends to remain in said valley: And provided further, That said superintendent shall have given such Indian at least one month’s notice prior to the date last above mentioned of the provisions of this act and of his right so to remain as provided in this section of this act.
That in case John Owen, an actual settler in said valley, above the Lo-Lo Fork, shall come within the provisions of the act of Congress of September twenty-seventh, eighteen hundred and fifty, entitled “An act to create the office of surveyor-general of the public lands in Oregon, and to provide for the survey, and to make donations to settlers of the said public lands,” and the acts amendatory thereof, he shall be permitted to establish such fact in the land-office in the said Territory of Montana, and, upon proof of compliance with the provisions said act or acts, shall be permitted to obtain title, in the manner provided therein, to such quantity of land as he may be entitled to under the same. All disputes as to title to any lands mentioned in this act shall be decided according to the rules governing the decision of disputes in ordinary cases under the pre-emption laws of the United States.