INDIAN AFFAIRS. The position of the In dian tribes within the limits of the United States is anomalous. Strictly speaking, they are not a part of the body politic, but are regarded as 'domestic dependent nations.' and are officially spoken of as the 'wards' of the nation. So long as they maintain their tribal relations, their right to regulate their domestic affairs has been gener ally conceded. Recently this right has been re stricted by acts of Congress enlarging the juris diction of the Federal courts in respect to crimes committed by Indians. The tribes inhabiting the Indian Territory, namely. the Cherokees. Chicka saws. Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminole., are offi cially known as the `five civilized tribes.' They have adopted the habits of civilized life and live under veil-ordered governments. Each nation has its own popularly elected executive, legislature. and judiciary. They may enact such laws for the regulation of their internal affairs as do not con flict with the Constitution and laws of the United States, while the decisions of their courts Teceive the same recognition as to faith and credit as those of the Territories. The title to land occupied by them is not in the individual members of the tribe, but in the nation as a whole, and it can be alienated only with the con sent of the Government. White men may be come members of an Indian nation by adoption, and are then subject to the jurisdiction of the tribal courts, although they still retain their citizenship. The Supreme Court has held that an Indian born within the jurisdiction of a tribe can become a citizen of the United States only by naturalization. By an act of Congress, however, passed in MT. it was provided that Indians residing on lands allotted to them in severalty should be considered as citizens of the United States without the formality of natural ization. The immediate effect of the act of '1887 was to confer citizenship upon 10,122 Indians to whom allotments had already been made under special laws and treaties. Every year from 1000 to 2000 Indian; signify their desire of becom ing citizens by taking allotments. The right of Indians to sue and be sued in both Federal and State courts is well recognized, and they are fre quently given the right of suffrage by the States in which they reside. At the present time there are estimated to he over 20.000 Indian voters in the United States. The Constitution confers upon Congress the power to regulate commerce with the Indian tribes, and until the year 1ST] the common method of dealing with them was by treaty through the agency of special eommis sioners. In that year. however, an act of Con gress abolished this practice. and placed under the immediate control of Congress all commercial or diplomatic intercourse with the Indians.
From an early period it has been the prac tice of the Government to conclude treaties with the Indians for the extinction of their possessory right to the lands occupied by them and for their removal to certain territories specially set apart for their occupation. These lands are known
as Indian reservations, the largest and most im portant of which at the present time is the In dian Territory (q.v.). created in 18:34. When ever the United States sets apart an Indian reser vation. whether within the territorial limits of a State or not. it has full authority to protect the Indians in their persons and property and to provide for the punishment of all offenses com mitted within the reservation. An Indian reser vation lying within the limits of a State however. subject to its jurisdiction also except so far as concerns the government and protection of the Indians themselves, unless otherwise pro vided by treaty with the Indians. While all ter ritory officially known as `Indian country' is sub ject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and while it belongs to Congress to enact laws for the regulation of intercourse of Indians with one another and with citizens of the United States, it is the policy of the Government to leave to the Indians the regulation of their own domestic concerns as far as practicable. By acts of 1SR5 and 1S00 curtailed the jurisdiction of the Indian tribal courts. By the act of 1 s3 the authority to administer their own criminal la Ws themselves, so fat- as certain enumerated crimes eommitted by Indians are concerned. withdrawn and vested in Territorial courts. By the act of 1590 the Federal courts were given ju risdiction of all civil ease.: in the Indian Territory except those over which the tribal courts have exclusive jurisdiction, and over all cases of con tract between Indians and citizens of the United States, and all controversies between members of different tribes, as well as certain other eases speeially enumerated. By the slime act certain of Arkansas were ext•nded over the Indian Territory. State courts 11:1Ve no jurisdiction over offenses committed by tribal Indians upon a reservation within the State, It is the policy of the United ,States to exercise a general supervision over the affairs of the In dians and to Protect them from the encroach ments of unscrupulous whites, as well as from the evil consequences of their awn ij.,moranee and improvidence. statutes hare heel' passed by Congress to prohibit hunting on their lands, to prevent cutting timber from their lands, or pasturing stock ou t to prevent the sale of intoxicating liquors to them, etc. Citizens of the United States of good moral character are permitted to trade with Indian tribes, upon giv ing The power of and licens ing Indian traders, as well as prescribing rules concerning the kind. quantity, and prices of goods to be sold. belongs to the United States Commissioner of Indian Allairs. This officer is further empowered to remove irom Indian reser all Persons found there contrary to law or whose presence is deemed detrimental to the peace and good order of the Indians.