House passes amendments to Stigler Act

House passes amendments to Stigler Act
(Oklahoma Historical Society) Amendments to the Stigler Act would eliminate tribal citizenship blood quantum requirement for restricted land.

Jason Salsman/Multimedia Producer

H.R. 2606 aimed at removing blood quantum requirements for restricted land status

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed amendments to the Stigler Act aimed at removing blood quantum requirements for restricted land status.

H.R. 2606, introduced in May 2017 by Oklahoma Congressmen Tom Cole, Markwayne Mullin, Frank Lucas and Steve Russell, allows land held by the Five Civilized Tribes for tribal citizens to remain restricted even if the heir to the land has less than one-half blood quantum.

‘No other tribes in the United States face this discriminatory measure.  For Native Americans, our land is an important part of our heritage and updating the Stigler Act will allow the land allotted to our ancestors to keep its restricted status and remain in the bloodline,’ Mullin said in a press release issued from his office.

The federal government surveyed and segmented tribal lands into allotted parcels for individual Native Americans through the Dawes Act of 1887. The Dawes Act registered land allotted to citizens of the Five Tribes as restricted, which is not subjected to state taxation.

According to a press release from Muscogee (Creek) Nation Public Relations, the tribe ‘stands to gain the most from this passage since it holds the largest land base of the Five Civilized Tribes in its 11-county boundaries.’

In the release, Principal Chief James Floyd said he was pleased with the amendments gaining the next step towards passage and praised the sponsors’ support.

‘…the solution to a problem that has afflicted thousands of Oklahoma tribal families is now within reach.  The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, along with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Nations, stand ready to work with Senators Inhofe and Lankford to finish the this important undertaking before the end of the 115thCongress,’ he said.

The bill will now go before the Senate for consideration.

 

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