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CHOCTAW AND CHICKASAW NATIONS
BEFORE A SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON
INDIAN AFFAIRS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
[H. R. 15619, Sixtieth Congress, first session.)
A BILL Extending the provisions of an act approved February sixth, nineteen
hundred and one, entitled "An act amending the act of August fifteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-four, entitled 'An act making appropriations for current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department and fulfilling treaties and stipulations with various Indian tribes for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and ninety-five, and for other purposes,' to any person claiming any right in the common property of the Choctaw or (Thickasaw Indians or tribes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and Ilouse of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the provisions of an act approved February sixth, nineteen hundred and one (chapter two hundred and seventeen, United States Statutes at Large, Fifty-sixth Congress), entitled "An act amending the act of August fifteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-four, entitled 'An act making appropriations for current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department and fulfilling treaties and stipulations with various Indian tribes for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and ninety-five, and for other purposes,'” be, and the same is hereby, extended to any person claiming any right in the common property of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Indians or tribes; and in order to make said act applicable to any person claiming any such right in said property said act is hereby amended to read as follows:
SEC. 2. That all persons who are in whole or in part of Choctaw or Chickasaw blood or descent and who are entitled to share in the common property of the Choctaw or Chickasaw Indians under any treaty with said Indians or law of Congress, or who claim to be so entitled under any treaty, grant, agreement, or act of Congress, or who claim to have been inlawfully denied or excluded from participating in the common property of the Choctaws or Chickasaws to which they claim to be lawfully entitled by virtue of any treaty, grant, agreement, or act of Congress, may commence and prosecute or defend any action, suit, or proceeding in relation to their right thereto in the proper district or circuit court of the United States; and said district and circuit courts are hereby given jurisdiction to hear, try, and determine any action, suit, or proceeding arising within their respective jurisdiction and involving the right of any person, in whole or in part of Indian blood or descent, to share in the common property of said Choctaw or Chickasaw Indians under any treaty, grant, agreement, or law of Congress (and in said suit the parties thereto shall be the claimant as plaintiff, and the Choctaw and Chickasaw nation or tribes jointly as party defendant); and the judgment or decree of any such court in favor of any claimant to share in the common property of said tribes shall have the same effect. when properly certified to the Secretary of the Interior, as if such judgment or decree had been allowed and approved by him: Prorideil. That the right of appeal shall be allowel to either party as in other cases, and that no act of Congress or agreement limiting the time in which an application or assertion of right should be made shall operate to defeat the rights of any person entitled to share in the said common property under any treaty with or grant to said Indians.
“Sec. 3. That the plaintiff shall cause a copy of his petition, filed under the preceding section, to be served upon the district attorney of the United States in the district wherein suit is brought, and shall mail copies of same, by registered letters, to the principal chief or governor of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, respectively, and shall thereupon cause to be filed with the clerk of the court wherein suit is instituted an affidavit of such service and the mailing of such letters. It shall be the duty of the district attorney upon whom service of petition is made as aforesaid to appear and defend the interests of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations in the suit, and within sixty days after the service of petition upon him, unless the time should be extended by order of the court made in the case, to file a plea, answer, or demurrer on the part of the Indian governments or tribes, and to file a notice of any counterclaim, set-off, claim for damages, or other demand or defense whatsoever in the premises: Provided, That should the district attorney neglect or refuse to file the plea, answer, demurrer, or defense, as required, the plaintiff may proceed with the case under such rules as the court may adopt in the premises; but the plaintiff shall not have judgment or decree for his claim, or any part thereof, unless he shall establish the same by proof satisfactory to the court.
" Sec. 4. That whenever it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court in which the proceedings has been instituted that there is in the possession of any department of the Government or of any bureau, division, or commission thereof or thereunder, any record or records material to the proper determination of the issue being heard, or about to be heard, the head of the department in which such record is kept shall, upon request of the judge of said court, transmit a certified copy of the record or records on file in his department to the clerk of the court to be used at the trial of the case without any charge therefor: Provided further. That all records in the possession or custody of any Government officer or department or division, bureau, or commission thereof or thereunder pertaining or appertaining to the rights of any such claimant shall, upon request of the claimant or his authorized attorney, be open to inspection: Provided further. That all suits brought under the provisions of this act shall Le commenced within six months after the passage of this act, and the court, upon the request of either the plaintiff or defendant, shall advance any suit instituted under the provisions of this act on the dockets thereof to as early hearing as is consistent with the rights of the parties and the interests involved."