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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1892
61st ([1892])

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

Page 751

(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
SEC. 2. The legislative powers shall be vested in a council of five members,
shall be termed the councilors of the Seneca Nation of Indians, of whom three
councilors shall be elected annually for the Cattaraugus Reservation and
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,
thirds of whom, assembled in regular s -ssion and duly o- ganized, shall
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
elected shall be necessary in order that the bill should become a law. The
of the councilors voting for or against any appropriation shall always be
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
therein, and to see that all laws are faithfully executed, and to communicate
the council at every session a statement of the condition of the national
ness, and to commend for the action of the council such matters as he may
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
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
instance pay all the expenses of the council for the time occupied during
progress of the proceedings in the examination or inquest and final decision
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
serve for the term of three years and one shall serve for the term of one
There shall be written or printed on each ballot at the said election the
of the candidates and the term such candidate shall serve. 
At the general election in May, A. D. 1857, and annually thereafter, one
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'
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
treaty shall be valid or binding upon the nation until the same shall be
ted to the people and approved by three-fourths of all the legal voters and
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
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
Nation of Indians shall approve. 
SEC. 8. There shall be one marshal for each reservation (Cattaraugus and
legany) who shall execute all processes issued by the courts, and do such
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
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

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