1956

Public Law 887 | Chapter 843

August 1, 1956 | [S. 3970] 70 Stat. 893

AN ACT

To provide for the termination of Federal supervision over the property of the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma and the individual members thereof, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the purpose of this Act is to provide for the termination of Federal supervision over the trust and restricted property of the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma and the individual members thereof, and for a termination of Federal services furnished to such Indians because of their status as Indians.

SEC. 2.

For the purposes of this Act:

(a) “Tribe” means the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma.
(b) “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Interior.
(c) “Lands” mean real property, interest therein, or improvement thereon, and include water rights.
(d) “Tribal property” means any real or personal property, or any interest in real or personal property, that belongs to the tribe and either is held by the United States in trust for the tribe or is subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States.

SEC. 3.

The tribe shall have a period of six months from the date of this Act in which to prepare and submit to the Secretary a proposed roll of the members of the tribe living on the date of this Act, which shall be published in the Federal Register. The proposed roll shall be prepared in accordance with eligibility requirements prescribed in the tribe’s constitution and bylaws. If the tribe fails to submit such roll within the time specified in this section, the Secretary shall prepare a proposed roll for the tribe, which shall be published in the Federal Register. Any person claiming membership rights in the tribe or an interest in its assets, or a representative of the Secretary on behalf of any such person, may, within sixty days from the date of publication of the proposed roll, file an appeal with the Secretary contesting the inclusion or omission of the name of any person on or from such roll. The Secretary shall review such appeals and his decisions thereon shall be final and conclusive. After disposition of all such appeals by the Secretary, the roll of the tribe shall be published in the Federal Register, and such roll shall be final for the purposes of this Act.

SEC. 4.

Upon publication in the Federal Register of the final roll as provided in section 3 of this Act, the rights or beneficial interests in tribal property of each person whose name appears on the roll shall constitute personal property which may be inherited or bequeathed, but shall not otherwise be subject to alienation or encumbrance before the transfer of title to such tribal property as provided in section 5 of this Act without the approval of the Secretary. Any contract made in violation of this section shall be null and void.

SEC. 5.

(a) Upon the request of the tribe, the Secretary is authorized within three years from the date of this Act to transfer to a corporation or other legal entity organized by the tribe in a form satisfactory to the Secretary title to all or any part of the tribal property, or to transfer to one or more trustees designated, by the tribe and approved by the Secretary title to all or any part of such property to be held in trust for management or liquidation purposes under such terms and conditions as may be specified by the tribe and approved by the Secretary, or to distribute pro rata among the members of the tribe all or any part of such property, or to sell all or any part of such property and make a pro rata distribution of the proceeds of sale among the members of the tribe after deducting, in his discretion, reasonable costs of sale and distribution.

(b) Title to any tribal property that is not transferred in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be transferred by the Secretary to one or more trustees designated by him for the liquidation and distribution the members of the tribe under such terms and conditions as the Secretary may prescribe: Provided, That the trust agreement shall provide for the termination of the trust not more than three years from the date of such transfer unless the term of the trust is extended by order of a judge of a court of record designated in the trust agreement: Provided further, That the trust agreement shall provide that at any time before the sale of tribal property by the trustees the tribe may notify the trustees that it elects to retain such property and to transfer title thereto to a corporation, other legal entity, or trustee in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, and that the trustees shall transfer title to such property in accordance with the notice from the tribe if it is approved by the Secretary.

(c) Title to the tract of land in Kansas City, Kansas, that was reserved for a public burying ground under article 2 of the treaty dated January 31, 1855 (10 Stat. 1159), with the Wyandotte Tribe of Indians shall be transferred or sold in accordance with subsections (a) and (b) of this section, and the proceeds from any sale of the land may be used to remove and reinter the remains of persons who are buried there, to move any monuments now located on the graves, and to erect at reasonable cost one appropriate monument dedicated to the memory of the departed members of the Wyandotte Tribe: Provided, That if S. 1335 or comparable legislation is enacted by the Eighty-fourth Congress, any sale or transfer of such land shall be deferred until three months after the report required by such legislation has been submitted to Congress, during which time Congress shall decide whether to provide for the sale or disposition of the land on the basis of such report.

(d) The Secretary shall not approve any form of organization pursuant to subsection (a) of this section that provides for the transfer of stock or an undivided share in corporate assets as compensation for the services of agents or attorneys unless such transfer is based upon an appraisal of tribal assets that is satisfactory to the Secretary.

(e) When approving or disapproving the selection of trustees in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary shall give due regard to the laws of the State of Oklahoma that relate to the selection of trustees.

SEC. 6.

(a) The Secretary is authorized and directed to transfer within three years after the date of this Act to each member of the tribe unrestricted title to funds or other personal property held in trust for such member by the United States.

(b) All restrictions on the sale or encumbrance by the owners of trust or restricted lands that were originally allotted to persons who were at the time of allotment members of the tribe, regardless of whether such owners are themselves members of such tribe, and all restrictions on the sale or encumbrance of trust or restricted land owned by members of the tribe (including allottees, heirs, and devisees, either adult or minor), regardless of where the land is located are hereby removed three years after the date of this Act and the patents or deeds under which titles are then held shall pass the titles in fee simple subject to any valid encumbrance. The titles to all interests in trust or restricted land acquired by members of the tribe by devise or inheritance three years or more after the date of this Act shall vest in such members in fee simple, subject to any valid encumbrance.

(c) Prior to the time provided in subsection (b) of this section for the removal of restrictions on land owned by more than one member of the tribe, the Secretary may—

(1) upon request of any of the owners made within two years after the date of this Act, partition the land and issue to each owner a patent or deed for his individual share that shall become unrestricted three years from the date of this Act;

(2) upon request of any of the owners and a finding by the Secretary that partition of all or any part of the land is not practicable, cause all or any part of the land to be sold at not less than the appraised value thereof, and distribute the proceeds of sale to the owners: Provided, That any one or more of the owners may elect before a sale to purchase the other interests in the land at not less than the appraised value thereof, and the purchaser shall receive an unrestricted patent or deed to the land; and

(3) if the whereabouts of none of the owners can be ascertained, cause such lands to be sold and deposit the proceeds of sale in the Treasury of the United States for safekeeping.

SEC. 7.

(a) The Act of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 855), the Act of February 14, 1913 (37 Stat. 678), and other Acts amendatory thereto shall not apply to the probate of the trust and restricted property of the members of the trust and restricted property of the members of the tribe who die six months or more after the date of this Act.

(b) The laws of the several States, Territories, possessions, and the District of Columbia with respect to the probate of wills, the determination of heirs, and the administration of decedents’ estates shall apply to the individual property of members of the tribe who die six months or more after the date of this Act.

SEC. 8.

No property distributed under the provisions of this Act shall at the time of distribution be subject to Federal or State income tax. Following any distribution of property made under the provisions of this Act, such property and any income derived therefrom by the individual, corporation, or other legal entity shall be subject to the same taxes, State and Federal, as in the case of non-Indians: Provided, That for the purpose of capital gains or losses the base value of the property shall be the value of the property when distributed to the individual, corporation, or other legal entity.

SEC. 9.

Prior to the transfer of title to, or the removal of restrictions from, property in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the Secretary shall protect the rights of members of the tribe who are minors, non compos mentis, or in the opinion of the Secretary in need of assistance in conducting their affairs by causing the appointment of guardians for such members in courts of competent jurisdiction, or by such other means as he may deem adequate.

SEC. 10.

Pending the completion of the property dispositions provided for in this Act, the funds now on deposit or hereafter deposited in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the tribe shall be available for advance to the tribe, or for expenditure, for such purposes as may be designated by the governing body of the tribe and approved by the Secretary.

SEC. 11.

The Secretary shall have authority to execute such patents, deeds, assignments, releases, certificates, contracts, and other instruments as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the provisions of this Act, or to establish a marketable and recordable title to any property disposed of pursuant to this Act.

SEC. 12.

Nothing in this Act shall abrogate any valid lease, permit, license, right-of-way, lien, or other contract heretofore approved. Whenever any such instrument places in or reserves to the Secretary any powers, duties, or other functions with respect to the property subject thereto, the Secretary may transfer such functions, in whole or in part, to any Federal agency with the consent of such agency, or to a State agency with the consent of such agency and the other party or parties to such instrument.

SEC. 13.

(a) Upon removal of Federal restrictions on the property of the tribe and individual members thereof, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register a proclamation declaring that the Federal trust relationship to the affairs of the tribe and its members has terminated. Thereafter individual members of the tribe shall not be entitled to any of the services performed by the United States for Indians because of their status as Indians, all statutes of the United States which affect Indians because of their status as Indians shall no longer be applicable to the members of the tribe, and the laws of the several States shall apply to the tribe and its members in the same manner as they apply to other citizens or persons within their jurisdiction.

(b) Nothing in this Act shall affect the status of the members of the tribe as citizens of the United States.

(c) Prior to the issuance of a proclamation in accordance with the provisions of this section, the Secretary is authorized to undertake, within the limits of available appropriations, a special program of education and training designed to help the members of the tribe to earn a livelihood, to conduct their own affairs, and to assume their responsibilities as citizens without special services because of their status as Indians. Such program may include language training, orientation in non-Indian community customs and living standards, vocational training and related subjects, transportation to the place of training or instruction, and subsistence during the course of training or instruction. For the purposes of such program, the Secretary is authorized to enter into contracts or agreements with any Federal, State, or local governmental agency, corporation, association, or persons. Nothing in this section shall preclude any Federal agency from undertaking any other program for the education and training of Indians with funds appropriated to it.

SEC. 14.

(a) Effective on the date of the proclamation provided for in section 13 of this Act, the corporate charter issued pursuant to the Act of June 26, 1936 (49 Stat. 1967), as amended, to the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma and ratified by the tribe on July 24, 1937, is hereby revoked.

(b) Effective on the date of the proclamation provided for in section 13 of this Act, all powers of the Secretary or other officer of the United States to take, review, or approve any action under the constitution and bylaws of the tribe are hereby terminated. Any powers conferred upon the tribe by such constitution which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby terminated. Such termination shall not affect the power of the tribe to take any action under its constitution and bylaws that is consistent with this Act without the participation of the Secretary or other officer of the United States.

SEC. 15.

Nothing in this Act shall affect any claims heretofore filed against the United States by the tribe.

SEC. 16.

Nothing in this Act shall abrogate any water rights of a tribe or its members.

SEC. 17.

The Secretary is authorized to issue rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the purposes of this Act and may in his discretion provide for tribal referendums on matters pertaining to management or disposition of tribal assets.

SEC. 18.

All Acts or parts of Acts inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed insofar as they affect the tribe or its members. The Act of June 26, 1936 (49 Stat. 1967), and the Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984), as amended by the Act of June 15, 1935 (49 Stat. 378), shall not apply to the tribe and its members after the date of the proclamation provided for in section 3 of this Act.

SEC. 19.

If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof, to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the Act and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

Approved, August 1, 1956.
Repealed, May 15, 1978.

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