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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I

Report of the Indian inspector for Indian territory,   pp. 705-792 PDF (36.9 MB)

Page 706

with the exception of a small area in the northeast corner, embracing 
the Quapaw Agency, is divided among the so-called " Five Tribes,"
comprising Seminoles, numbering 2,750; Choctaws, 22,331; Chicka- 
saws, 10,164; Creeks, 15,513, and  Cherokees, 35,394, aggregating 
Prior to 1898 these Indians controlled their own affairs within the 
limitations of their respective nations, independent of one another 
and of the Federal Government, maintaining separate constitutional 
organizations, electing their governor or principal chief and other 
national officers, together with their legislators or councilors, enacting
such laws as they deemed proper governing their schools and affairs 
generally, and handled their various revenues. Each nation owned 
all its land in common, although its laws permitted, under certain 
conditions, any member of the tribe to take for his exclusive use any 
area of land not in possession or use of another citizen, which land he 
was, in turn, permitted to transfer to others by lease or quitclaim. 
The building of railroads and the natural resources of the country 
caused a large influx of white people into the Territory and resulted 
in towns being built up in different localities upon the common-prop- 
erty of the different nations, such white people being assessed certain 
amounts for the privilege of conducting business, introducing cattle, 
etc., therein. 
It is estimated that the population of the Territory, including 
Indians, will aggregate 700,000. 
The act of Congress approved June 28, 1898, commonly known as 
the " Curtis Act," provided for radical and important changes in
administration of affairs in the Indian Territory. This and subse- 
quent agreements provide for the valuation and distribution or allot- 
ment to the individual members of each tribe, according to value, of 
all the land in the Indian Territory after making reservations for 
existing towns, schools, etc. 
This work has been imposed by Congress on the Secretary of the 
Interior, whose instructions are issued through the Commissioner of 
Indian Affairs. 
The Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes had direct super- 
vision in the field of procuring a correct roll of Indians and to ap- 
praise and allot the lands according to value. All other matters 
under jurisdiction of the Department are handled through this Office 
by various officers acting under direction of the Department. 
The Indian Territory was not then and is not now an organized 
Territory; no local government exists except in incorporated towns: 
no taxes other than for municipal purposes and the various tribal 
laws are imposed, which latter are enforced by the Secretary of the 
Interior. The administration of certain other Federal statutes appli- 
cable to the Territory are enforced through the United States courts, 
divided into four judicial districts. 
Under existing law the tribal governments cease on March 4, 1906, 
at which time the tribal organizations, including councils and the 
position of principal chief and other tribal officers in each nation, 
together with tribal taxes and all tribal laws, will be extinguished. 
Such action, however, will not affect the white population of the 
Territory other than to relieve them of the various tribal taxes now 

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