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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1892
([1892])

Constitution of the Seneca nation,   pp. 751-754 PDF (1.9 MB)


Page 751

CONSTITUTION OF THE SENECA NATION.                   751 
CONSTITUTION OF THE SENECA NATION. 
(Adopted in 1862.) 
[Copied from the original document by Harrison Halftown, late clerk of the
Seneca Nation.] 
SECTION 1. Our government shall have a legislative, executive, and judiciary
departments. 
SEC. 2. The legislative powers shall be vested in a council of five members,
who 
shall be termed the councilors of the Seneca Nation of Indians, of whom three
councilors shall be elected annually for the Cattaraugus Reservation and
two 
councilors shall be elected annually for the Allegany Reservation. Said coun-
cilors shall be elected annually on the first Tuesday of May in each year,
two- 
thirds of whom, assembled in regular s -ssion and duly o- ganized, shall
consti- 
tute a quorum, and be competent for the t ransactiou of business. But to
all bills 
for the appropriation of public moneys the assent of two-thirds of all the
members 
elected shall be necessary in order that the bill should become a law. The
names 
of the councilors voting for or against any appropriation shall always be
re- 
corded. 
SEC. 3. The executive powers shall be vested in a president, whose duty it
shall be to preside at all meetings of the council, having only a casting
vote 
therein, and to see that all laws are faithfully executed, and to communicate
to 
the council at every session a statement of the condition of the national
busi- 
ness, and to commend for the action of the council such matters as he may
deem 
expedient. In the absence of the president the council may choose a president
or presiding officer p ro tempore. 
SEC. 4. The judiciary power shall b3 vested in three peacemakers on each
reservation (Cattaraugus and Allegany), any two of whom shall have powers
to 
hold courts, subject to an appeal to a court of referees to be appointed
by the 
council or to the council; in which latter case the appellant shall in the
first 
instance pay all the expenses of the council for the time occupied during
the 
progress of the proceedings in the examination or inquest and final decision
of 
the case. The council shall in their final decision award the costs of such
suit as 
in their judgment they shall seem proper and just, There shall be elected
at the 
next general election on the first Tuesday in May, A. D. 1856, three peacemak-
ers for each of the reservations 'Cattaraugus and Allegany), of whom one
shall 
serve for the term of three years and one shall serve for the term of one
year. 
There shall be written or printed on each ballot at the said election the
names 
of the candidates and the term such candidate shall serve. 
At the general election in May, A. D. 1857, and annually thereafter, one
peace- 
maker shall be elected for each reservation (Cattaraugus and Allegany) who
shall hold their office for the term of three years. 
The jurisdiction, forms of process, and proceedings in the peacemakers' court
shall be the same as in the courts of the justices of the peace in the State
of New 
York, except in the proof of wills and the settlement of deceased persons'
es- 
tate, in which cases the peacemakers shall have such power as shall be conferred
by law. 
SEC. 5. The power of making treaties shall be vested in the council, but
no 
treaty shall be valid or binding upon the nation until the same shall be
submit- 
ted to the people and approved by three-fourths of all the legal voters and
also 
by three-fourths of all the mothers in the nation in legal council assembled.
SEC. 6. There shall be a clerk and a treasurer for the nation and one overseer
of the poor, and two assessors and one overseer of the highways for each
reser- 
vation (Cattaraugus and Allegany), whose duties shall be regulated by laws.
SEC. 7. Every officer, who shall be authorized to receive public money, shall
be required to give such security as the president and the attorney for the
Seneca 
Nation of Indians shall approve. 
SEC. 8. There shall be one marshal for each reservation (Cattaraugus and
Al- 
legany) who shall execute all processes issued by the courts, and do such
other 
duties as shall be prescribed by law. 
SEC. 9. All officers named in this constitution or charter. shall be chosen
at the 
same time, in the same manner, and for the same term as members of the council
; 
and vacancies occurring in any office shall be filled in the manner to be
prescribed 
by law; and every male Indian of the age of 21 years and upwards of the Seneca
Nation, either residing on one of the reservations, the Cattaraugus, Allegany,
or Oil Spring, or owning or possessing and occupying any land upon either
of 


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