Dawes Roll - Curtis Act - Burke Act.
(See complete Dawes Act as written by congress below)also tips and little known facts when searching for Dawes enrollees
By act of Congress in 1887 Dawes Act (Dawes Roll) provided for a commission to negotiate with the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole Nations of Oklahoma in order to dissolve their tribal governments and to allot their land to each tribal member as individual citizens ,landholdings (allotments),were usually 160 acres. Allotment was advocated as a means of further civilizing Indians by converting them from a communal land system to a system of individual ownership.Allotments could be sold after a period (25 years), and “surplus or excess” land not allotted was opened to settlers. Within decades following the passage of the act the vast majority of what had been tribal land in the West was in white hands. In any event the it resulted in a cumlitive loss of millions of acres of land by the American Indians of now Oklahoma. The Dawes Act was amended in 1891 (Curtis Act) Curtis Act by congress in June, 1898 which provided that a new roll would supersede all previous rolls. and again in 1906, by the (Burke Act) Summary of Act of August 15, 1894 (28 Stat. 286)
A portion of this act allows for the surplus lands of any tribe to be leased for farming purposes by the tribal council for three years. This act also allows anyone of Indian descent who claims to be entitled to land under any allotment act or claims to have been unlawfully denied from any allotment to prosecute or defend any action or suit in circuit court. The act gives the circuit courts jurisdiction to try these sorts of suits. The Curtis Act in 1898—passed while he (Charles Curtis )served in the House it expanded the powers of the federal government over American Indian affairs. An Act of Congress in 1902 disbanded the Kaw Indians (which was the tribe of his mother) as a legal entity and transferred 160 acres to the federal government and about 1,625 acres of Kaw land to Curtis and his children.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in all cases where any tribe or band of Indians has been, or shall hereafter be, located upon any reservation created for their use, either by treaty stipulation or by virtue of an act of Congress or executive order setting apart the same for their use, the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, authorized, whenever in his opinion any reservation or any part thereof of such Indians is advantageous for agricultural and grazing purposes, to cause said reservation, or any part thereof, to be surveyed, or resurveyed if necessary, and to allot the lands in said reservation in severalty to any Indian located thereon in quantities as follows:
To each head of a family, one-quarter of a section; To each single person over eighteen years of age, one-eighth of a section; To each orphan child under eighteen years of age, one-eighth of a section; and To each other single person under eighteen years now living, or who may be born prior to the date of the order of the President directing an allotment of the lands embraced in any reservation, one-sixteenth of a section:
Provided, That in case there is not sufficient land in any of said reservations to allot lands to each individual of the classes above named in quantities as above provided, the lands embraced in such reservation or reservations shall be allotted to each individual of each of said classes pro rata in accordance with the provisions of this act: And provided further, That where the treaty or act of Congress setting apart such reservation provides the allotment of lands in severalty in quantities in excess of those herein provided, the President, in making allotments upon such reservation, shall allot the lands to each individual Indian belonging thereon in quantity as specified in such treaty or act: And provided further, That when the lands allotted are only valuable for grazing purposes, an additional allotment of such grazing lands, in quantities as above provided, shall be made to each individual.
SEC. 2. That all allotments set apart under the provisions of this act shall be selected by the Indians, heads of families selecting for their minor children, and the agents shall select for each orphan child, and in such manner as to embrace the improvements of the Indians making the selection. where the improvements of two or more Indians have been made on the same legal subdivision of land, unless they shall otherwise agree, a provisional line may be run dividing said lands between them, and the amount to which each is entitled shall be equalized in the assignment of the remainder of the land to which they are entitled under his act: Provided, That if any one entitled to an allotment shall fail to make a selection within four years after the President shall direct that allotments may be made on a particular reservation, the Secretary of the Interior may direct the agent of such tribe or band, if such there be, and if there be no agent, then a special agent appointed for that purpose, to make a selection for such Indian, which selection shall be allotted as in cases where selections are made by the Indians, and patents shall issue in like manner.
SEC. 3. That the allotments provided for in this act shall be made by special agents appointed by the President for such purpose, and the agents in charge of the respective reservations on which the allotments are directed to be made, under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may from time to time prescribe, and shall be certified by such agents to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in duplicate, one copy to be retained in the Indian Office and the other to be transmitted to the Secretary of the Interior for his action, and to be deposited in the General Land Office.
SEC. 4. That where any Indian not residing upon a reservation, or for whose tribe no reservation has been provided by treaty, act of Congress, or executive order, shall make settlement upon any surveyed or unsurveyed lands of the United States not otherwise appropriated, he or she shall be entitled, upon application to the local land-office for the district in which the lands arc located, to have the same allotted to him or her, and to his or her children, in quantities and manner as provided in this act for Indians residing upon reservations; and when such settlement is made upon unsurveyed lands, the grant to such Indians shall be adjusted upon the survey of the lands so as to conform thereto; and patents shall be issued to them for such lands in the manner and with the restrictions as herein provided. And the fees to which the officers of such local land-office would have been entitled had such lands been entered under the general laws for the disposition of the public lands shall be paid to them, from any moneys in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, upon a statement of an account in their behalf for such fees by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, and a certification of such account to the Secretary of the Treasury by the Secretary of the Interior.
SEC. 5. That upon the approval of the allotments provided for in this act by the Secretary of the Interior, he shall cause patents to issue therefor in the name of the allottees, which patents shall be of the legal effect, and declare that the United States does and will hold the land thus allotted, for the period of twenty-five years, in trust for the sole use and benefit of the Indian to whom such allotment shall have been made, or, in case of his decease, of his heirs according to the laws of the State or Territory where such land is located, and that at the expiration of said period the United States will convey the same by patent to said Indian, or his heirs as aforesaid, in fee, discharged of said trust and free of all charge or incumbrance whatsoever: Provided, That the President of the United States may in any case in his discretion extend the period. And if any conveyance shall be made of the lands set apart and allotted as herein provided, or any contract made touching the same, before the expiration of the time above mentioned, such conveyance or contract shall be absolutely null and void: Provided, That the law of descent and partition in force in the State or Territory where such lands are situate shall apply thereto after patents therefor have been executed and delivered, except as herein otherwise provided; and the laws of the State of Kansas regulating the descent and partition of real estate shall, so far as practicable, apply to all lands in the Indian Territory which may be allotted in severalty under the provisions of this act: And provided further, That at any time after lands have been allotted to all the Indians of any tribe as herein provided, or sooner if in the opinion of the President it shall be for the best interests of said tribe, it shall be lawful for the Secretary of the Interior to negotiate with such Indian tribe for the purchase and release by said tribe, in conformity with the treaty or statute under which such reservation is held, of such portions of its reservation not allotted as such tribe shall, from time to time, consent to sell, on such terms and conditions as shall be considered just and equitable between the United States and said tribe of Indians, which purchase shall not be complete until ratified by Congress, and the form and manner of executing such release prescribed by Congress: Provided however, That all lands adapted to agriculture, with or without irrigation so sold or released to the United States by any Indian tribe shall be held by the United States for the sale purpose of securing homes to actual settlers and shall be disposed of by the United States to actual and bona fide settlers only tracts not exceding one hundred and sixty acres to any one person, on such terms as Congress shall prescribe, subject to grants which Congress may make in aid of education: And provided further, That no patents shall issue therefor except to the person so taking the same as and homestead, or his heirs, and after the expiration of five years occupancy therof as such homestead; and any conveyance of said lands taken as a homestead, or any contract touching the same, or lieu thereon, created prior to the date of such patent, shall be null and void. And the sums agreed to be paid by the United States as purchase money for any portion of any such reservation shall be held in the Treasury of the United States for the sole use of the tribe or tribes Indians; to whom such reservations belonged; and the same, with interest thereon at three per cent per annum, shall be at all times subject to appropriation by Congress for the education and civilization of such tribe or tribes of Indians or the members thereof. The patents aforesaid shall be recorded in the General Land Office, and afterward delivered, free of charge, to the allottee entitled thereto. And if any religious society or other organization is now occupying any of the public lands to which this act is applicable, for religious or educational work among the Indians, the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to confirm such occupation to such society or organization, in quantity not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres in any one tract, so long as the same shall be so occupied, on such terms as he shall deem just; but nothing herein contained shall change or alter any claim of such society for religious or educational purposes heretofore granted by law. And hereafter in the employment of Indian police, or any other employees in the public service among any of the Indian tribes or bands affected by this act, and where Indians can perform the duties required, those Indians who have availed themselves of the provisions of this act and become citizens of the United States shall be preferred.
SEC. 6. That upon the completion of said allotments and the patenting of the lands to said allottees, each and every number of the respective bands or tribes of Indians to whom allotments have been made shall have the benefit of and be subject to the laws, both civil and criminal, of the State or Territory in which they may reside; and no Territory shall pass or enforce any law denying any such Indian within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law. And every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States to whom allotments shall have been made under the provisions of this act, or under any law or treaty, and every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States who has voluntarily taken up, within said limits, his residence separate and apart from any tribe of Indians therein, and has adopted the habits of civilized life, is hereby declared to be a citizen of the United States, and is entitled to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of such citizens, whether said Indian has been or not, by birth or otherwise, a member of any tribe of Indians within the territorial limits of the United States without in any manner affecting the right of any such Indian to tribal or other property.
SEC. 7. That in cases where the use of water for irrigation is necessary to render the lands within any Indian reservation available for agricultural purposes, the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, authorized to prescribe such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary to secure a just and equal distribution thereof among the Indians residing upon any such reservation; and no oother appropriation or grant of water by any riparian proprietor shall permitted to the damage of any other riparian proprietor.
SEC. 8. That the provisions of this act shall not extend to the territory occupied by the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles, and Osage, Miamies and Peorias, and Sacs and Foxes, in the Indian Territory, nor to any of the reservations of the Seneca Nation of New York Indians in the State of New York, nor to that strip of territory in the State of Nebraska adjoining the Sioux Nation on the south added by executive order.
SEC. 9. That for the purpose of making the surveys and resurveys mentioned in section two of this act, there be, and hereby is, appropriated, out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, to be repaid proportionately out of the proceeds of the sales of such land as may be acquired from the Indians under the provisions of this act.
SEC. 10. That nothing in this act contained shall be so canstrued to affect the right and power of Congress to grant the right of way through any lands granted to an Indian, or a tribe of Indians, for railroads or other highways, or telegraph lines, for the public use, or condemn such lands to public uses, upon making just compensation.
SEC. 11. That nothing in this act shall be so construed as to prevent the removal of the Southern Ute Indians from their present reservation in Southwestern Colorado to a new reservation by and with consent of a majority of the adult male members of said tribe.
Approved, February, 8, 1887.
As the Indians had repeatedly expressed their opposition to dissolution of the tribal governments, the commission was not received cordially. On June 26, 1895, the International Council of the Five Civilized Tribes met at Eufala to exchange views on the commissioners' propositions regarding dissolution and allotment. The result was another statement reaffirming their position on the question. One inspired Creek Demosthenes expostulated, "Egypt had its locusts, Asiatic countries their cholera, France had its Jacobins, England had the black plague, Memphis had the yellow fever, Texas had her Middle-of-the-Road Populists, the world had McKinley and prosperity, Kansas had its grasshoppers, but it was left for the unfortunate Indian Territory to be afflicted with the worst scourge of the nineteenth century, the Dawes Commission! When God, in the medieval days of His divine administration, first conceived the grand idea of building worlds, making governments, and creating judiciaries, He never contemplated the Dawes Commission. If He had, He would have shrunk with horror, quit His job, and left the world in chaos.
Amusing as the speech may seem in this modern age, it was quite sincere, and mirrored exactly the sentiments of the Indian Territory. The Cherokees were particularly opposed to the commission. In 1895 the personnel and duties of the body were changed and enlarged; their demands grew more and more insistent, and in vain did the Cherokees call attention to their treaty of 1828, in which the United States guaranteed forever a permanent home for the Cherokees "that shall never, in all future time, be embarrassed by having extended around it the lines, or placed over it the jurisdiction of a Territory or a State, nor be pressed upon by the extension, in any way, of any of the limits of any existing Territory or State." Ref ¡°Benedict, op. cit. I, 141 f.¡±OHS¡±Native American Lands Sold under the Dawes Act By 1871, the federal government stopped signing treaties with Native Americans and replaced the treaty system with a law giving individual Indians ownership of land that had been tribal property. This "Indian Homestead Act," official known as the Dawes Act, was a way for some Indians to become U.S. citizens. There were two reasons why the treaty system was abondoned. First, white settlers needed more and more land, and the fact that tribes were treated as separate nations with separate citizens made it more difficult to take land from them and "assimilate" them into the general population. Assimilation had become the new ideal. The goal was to absorb the tribes into the European-American culture and make native people more like mainstream Americans. Second, the House of Representatives was angry that they did not have a voice in these policies. Under the constitution, treaties are ratified by the U.S. Senate, not the House, even though the House has to appropriate the money to pay for them. So the Congress passed a compromise bill in 1871 that, in effect, brought an end to the treaty system. The bill contained the following language buried in an appropriations law for the Yankton Indians -- "Provided, That hereafter no Indian nation or tribe within the territory of the United States shall be acknowledged or recognized as an independent nation, tribe , or power with whom the United States may contract by treaty..." The end of the treaties meant the end of treating tribes as sovereign nations. Attempts were made to undermine the power of the tribal leaders and the tribal justice systems. Tribal bonds were viewed as an obstacle to federal attempts to assimilate the Indian into white society. Assimilation of the American Indians would become the basis for much of the government policy toward the Native American from the 1880s to the 1930s. "It has become the settled policy of the Government to break up reservations, destroy tribal relations, settle Indians upon their own homesteads, incorporate them into the national life, and deal with them not as nations or tribes or bands, but as individual citizens." -- Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas J. Morgan, 1890. This set the stage for the passage by Congress of the General Allotment Act (the Dawes Severalty Act) of 1887. Congressman Henry Dawes had great faith in the civilizing power of private property. He said that to be civilized was to "wear civilized clothes ... cultivate the ground, live in houses, ride in Studebaker wagons, send children to school, drink whiskey [and] own property." This act was designed to turn Indians into farmers, in the hopes they would become more like mainstream America. The federal government divided communal tribal lands into 160-acre parcels -- known as allotments -- and gave them to individual tribal members. The U.S. Government would then hold the land allotted to individual Indians in trust for a period of 25 years, so that the Indian would not sell the land and return to the reservation and/or be swindled out of it by scheming white men. The Act went on to offer Indians the benefits of U.S. citizenship -- if they took an allotment, lived separate form the tribe and became "civilized." "And every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States to whom allotments shall have been made under the provisions of this act, or under any law or treaty, and every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States who has voluntarily taken up, within said limits, his residence separate and apart from any tribe of Indians therein, and has adopted the habits of civilized life, is hereby declared to be a citizen of the United States, and is entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities of such citizens..." -- Language from the Dawes Act. The Dawes Act would be the most important method of acquiring citizenship for the Indians prior to 1924. The Dawes Act tied Indian citizenship to the ultimate proof of civilization -- individual ownership of property. The American Indian became an American citizen as soon as he received his allotment. The Act also declared that Indians could become citizens if they had separated from their tribes and adopted the ways of civilized life, without ending their rights to tribal or other property. In a sense, the American Indian could maintain dual citizenship -- tribal and American. President Theodore Roosevelt described this important law in his message to Congress of December 3, 1901 as "a mighty pulverizing engine to break up the tribal mass." The supporters of the Dawes Act not only wanted to destroy the Indian tribal loyalties and the reservation system but also to open up the reservation lands to white settlement. Hundreds of thousands of acres of land remained after the individual 160-acre allotments had been made. These parcels were then sold at bargain prices to land-hungry whites. Funds from the sale of so-called surplus land were used to establish Indian schools. The idea was that Indian children could be educated and taught the social habits of white Americans, thus completing the process of assimilation. The allotment system turned out to be a monumental disaster for the Indians. In addition to losing their "surplus" tribal land, many Native American families also lost their allotted land despite the government's 24-year period of trusteeship. The poorest of the poor were landless and the majority of Indians still resisted assimilation. Native Americans reached their lowest population numbers shortly after the turn of the 20th Century. By 1932, the sale of unclaimed land and allotted land resulted in the loss of two-thirds of the more than 100-million acres Native Americans had held prior to the Dawes Act. Because special treaties guaranteed them self-government, the tribes in the Indian Territory had been excluded from the Dawes Act. But, the pressures of white settlers and railroads wanting to acquire Indian land soon resulted in President Harrison declaring in 1889 that lands in the Oklahoma area were open to settlement. The various tribes in the Indian Territory were pressured into signing agreements to allot their lands. By 1901, the Native Americans of the Indian Territory were declared U.S. citizens. In 1907, Oklahoma became a State in the Union, and the tribes of Oklahoma had lost their sovereignty and their lands.