The Curtis Act (1898) – “An act for the protection of the people of the Indian…”


Chapter 517 –  June 28, 1898. | 30 Stat., 495.

An act for the protection of the people of the Indian Territory, and for other purposes.b

b By 1896, June 10, ch. 398, ante, p. 81, it is declared to be the duty of the United States to establish a government in the Indian Territory which will rectify the existing inequalities and afford needful protection to the lives and property of citizens and residents therein.

For a review of laws relating to the Indian Territory see 1889, March 1, ch. 333, note 1 (ante, p. 39). See also 1895, March 1, ch. 145, ante, p. 70.

See also 1897, June 7, ch. 3, ante, p. 87, relative jurisdiction of courts, etc., in Indian Territory.

Be it enacted, &c., 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 [Civilized] Tribes, or the United States court, and the judgment has become final, then said courtshall 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 noncitizen 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 persons should be charged the court, in its judgment, shall specify such time as will, in the opinion of the court, compensatesuch 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 section 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 parties 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 defendant, 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 leav–

ing 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 detained, 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 therefor 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 damages 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 forth with removed and ejected from the premises and the plaintiff given complete and undisturbed possession of the same. The writshall also command the said officer to levy upon the property of the defendant or defendants subject to execution, and also collect therefrom 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 np 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 land 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, considering 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 heretofore 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 hereinbefore 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 be 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 thereunder 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 thereunder; 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 Mansfield’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 leases 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, conforming 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 all 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 commission as to the value of any lot, said 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, and petitioner shall, after judgment, deposit the value so fixed with the clerk of the court; and thereupon the defendant shall be required to accept 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 therefor 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 inclose 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 aforesaid, or having the same in any manner inclosed, 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 hereafter 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 herein 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 preceding 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 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 they 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 descendents born to them since the date of the treaty.

It shall make a correct roll of all 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 decendants 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 therefor to the depositor.

SEC. 25

That before any allotment shall be made of lands in the Cherokee Nation, there shall be segregated therefrom 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, perform 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 theretofore 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. * * *

[June 28, 1898.]

NOTE.—The remainder of this act ratifies agreements with the Choctaw and Chickasaw and Creeks. (Post, p. 646.)

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