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Constitution Of The Three Affiliated Tribes
Of The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation
We, the Arickara, Gros Ventres, and Mandan Indians of the Fort Berthold Reservation, in North Dakota, eagerly embrace the opportunity for self-rule, and in order to enjoy the blessings of liberty and justice; to intelligently protect our vested rights under existing treaties and the constitution of the United States; to guarantee to our prosterity a more hopeful future; to preserve and develop our real estate and resources; to promote educational efficiency for the enhancement of good citizenship; to promote the general welfare of the three tribes; to make possible a more hopeful, self-sustaining, and honorable living, socially and economically, do, with deep consciousness of God, as our sovereign, ordain and establish this constitution for the Three Affiliated Tribes of this reservation.
Article I - Territory
The jurisdiction of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation shall extend to Indian Trust and Tribal lands within the confines of the Fort Berthold Reservation, as defined in the treaty of September 17, 1851; to lieu lands outside of such boundaries; and to such other lands, within or without such boundaries, as have been or may be hereafter added thereto under any law of the United States, except as otherwise provided by law.
Article II - Membership
Section 1. The membership of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation shall consist of all persons of Indian blood whose names appear on the official census of the three tribes as of April 1, 1935; and all children born to any member of the tribes who is a resident of the reservation at the time of the birth of said children.
Sec. 2. The Tribal Business Council shall have power to promulgate ordinances, subject to review by the Secretary of the Interior, governing future membership, the adoption of new members and the revision of the membership rolls from time to time as determined by such ordinances.
Article III - Governing Body
Section 1. The Governing Body of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation shall be known as the Tribal Business Council.
Sec. 2. The Tribal Business Council shall consist of ten members elected from the communities as follows: Nishu, 2 representatives; Elbowoods, 1; Shell Creek, 2; Santee, 1; Independence, 2; Little Missouri-Red Butte, 1; Beaver Creek, 1.
Sec. 3. For the first election of a Tribal Business Council, and until otherwise changed as provided herein, the boundaries of the communities shall be described as follows:
Nishu. - That part of the Reservation
east of the Torrie Road and north of the Missouri River,
Sec. 4. The Tribal Business Council shall have authority to change the community boundaries, subject to the approval of the voters of the Reservation at any regular or special election.
Sec. 5. The first election of the Tribal Business Council shall be held within 30 days after the adoption and approval of this constitution, and shall be called and supervised by the Superintendent of the Reservation with the cooperation of the present Tribal Business Committee.
Sec. 6. Within 3 days after the first election of a
Tribal Business Council, that Council shall meet and organize by electing a
chairman, a vice chairman, a secretary, and a treasurer from its own members:
and from within or outside its own members, it may elect or appoint
a sergeant at arms and such
Sec. 7. The members of the first Tribal Business Council shall serve until the first Tuesday in September 1938, and until their successors are elected and qualified.
Article IV - Nominations and Elections
Section 1. All elections shall be by secret ballot.
Sec. 2. Any member of The Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, who is 21 years of age or over, shall be entitled to vote at any election at which he or she appears at the polls in his or her community during official voting hours on election day.
Sec. 3. The regular election of a Tribal Business Council shall be held on the first Tuesday of September in even numbered years, beginning with 1938.
Sec. 4. Special elections may be called by a two-thirds vote of the Tribal Business Council in favor of such special election, or by a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the qualified voters of each community as provided in Article VIII.
Sec. 5. All elections shall be held under the
supervision of the Tribal Business Council or an election board appointed by
that Council, and the Tribal Business Council or the election board appointed by
it, shall make rules and regulations governing all elections, and shall
designate the polling places and
Sec. 6. Any qualified voter of the Three Affiliated
Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation who is 21 years of age or over, may
become a candidate for the Tribal Business Council by filing notice of his
candidacy with the Secretary of the Tribal Business Council at least
15 days before the election at
Article V - Vacancies and Removal from Office
Section 1. If a council member shall die, resign, permanently remover from the reservation, or be removed for cause, the Council shall declare such position vacant and shall elect to fill the unexpired term from a list of names recommended by a petition signed by a majority of the voters of the community in which the vacancy occurs, and provided that the person elected or appointed by the Tribal Business Council to fill the unexpired term shall be a resident of the community in which the vacancy occurred, and otherwise eligible for the office.
Sec. 2. The Tribal Business Council may expel a member for cause by seven or more members voting for such expulsion, but before any vote is taken on the matter, such member shall be given an opportunity to answer any and all charges at a designated meeting of the Council, and the decision of the Tribal Business Council shall be final as to the expulsion or retention of such member.
Article VI - Powers
Section 1. The Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, acting through their Tribal Business Council shall have the powers enumerated in this Article, but any power exercised through that council shall be subject to a popular referendum as provided in this Constitution.
Sec. 2. The exercise of the powers enumerated in this Constitution is subject to any limitations imposed by the Statutes of the United States or the Constitution of the United States and to all express restrictions upon such powers contained in this Constitution and Bylaws.
Sec. 3. The powers enumerated in this Section 3 shall be subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, and may be exercised through the Tribal Business Council which shall have the power, subject to popular referendum as provided in Article VIII of this Constitution:
Sec. 4. Any resolution or ordinance which, by the terms of this Constitution, is subject to review by the Secretary of the Interior shall be presented to the Superintendent of the Fort Berthold Reservation, who shall, within 10 days thereafter, approve or disapprove the same.
If the Superintendent shall approve any ordinance or resolution, it shall thereupon become effective, but the Superintendent shall transmit a copy of the same, bearing his endorsement, to the Secretary of the Interior, who may within 90 days from the date of enactment, rescind the said ordinance or resolution for any cause, by notifying the Tribal Business Council of his veto.
Superintendent shall refuse to approve any resolution or ordinance submitted to
him within 10 days after its enactment, he shall advise the Tribal Business
Council of his reasons therefor. If these reasons appear to the Council insufficient, it may by a majority vote,
refer the resolution or ordinance
Sec. 5. The Tribal Business Council shall have the following powers, the exercise of which shall be subject to popular referendum as hereinafter provided in this Constitution.
Sec. 6. Likewise subject to popular referendum, the Tribal Business Council may exercise such further powers as may in the future be delegated to the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation by the Secretary of the Interior or by any other duly authorized official or agency of government.
Sec. 7. Any rights and powers heretofore vested in the three tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, but not expressly referred to in this Constitution, shall not be abridged by this Article, but may be exercised by the people of the Fort Berthold Reservation through the adoption of appropriate bylaws and constitutional amendments.
Article VIII - Referendum
petition signed by at least 10 percent of the qualified voters of each
community, demanding a referendum on any proposed or enacted ordinance or
resolution of the Tribal Business Council, the council shall call an election and the vote of a majority of the qualified
voters in such referendum shall
Article IX - Land
Section 1. Allotted lands, including heirship lands, within the Fort Berthold Reservation shall continue to be held as heretofore by their present owners. It is recognized that under existing laws such lands may be inherited by the heirs of the present owner, whether or not they are members of the Affiliated Tribes. Likewise it is recognized that under existing laws the Secretary of the Interior may, in his discretion, remove restrictions upon such land, upon application by the Indian owner, whereupon the land will become subject to State taxes and may be mortgaged or sold. The right of the individual Indian to hold or part with his land, as under existing law, shall not be abrogated by anything contained in this Constitution, but the owner of restricted land, may with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, voluntarily convey his land to the Three Affiliated Tribes either in exchange for a money payment or in exchange for an assignment covering the same land, as hereinafter provided.
Sec. 2. The unallotted lands of the Fort Berthold Reservation and all lands which may hereafter be acquired by the Three Affiliated Tribes or by the United States in trust for t he Three Affiliated Tribes, shall be held as tribal lands, and no part of such land shall be mortgaged, sold, or ceded. Tribal lands shall not be allotted to individual Indians but may be assigned to members of the Three Affiliated Tribes, or leased, or otherwise used by the Tribes, as hereinafter provided.
Sec. 3. In the leasing of tribal lands or the granting of grazing permits, Departmental grazing regulations shall be observed and no lease or permit shall be granted to a nonmember unless it shall appear that no Indian cooperative association or individual member of the Three Affiliated Tribes is able and willing to use the land and pay a reasonable fee for such use.
Sec. 4. In any standard assignment of tribal lands
which are now owned by the tribe or which may be hereafter purchased for the
tribe by the United States, or purchased by the tribe out of tribal funds,
preference shall be given, first, to members of the tribe who have been born
since the allotment of land on the Fort Berthold Reservation and who have
reached legal age and desire to establish a home but have no land or interests
in land; and secondly, to heads of families which have no allotted lands or
interests in allotted lands but shall have already received assignments
consisting of less than an economic unit of agricultural land or other land or
interests in land of equal value. Such economic unit shall be determined from time to time by the Tribal
Business Council. No
The Tribal Business Council may if it sees fit, charge a reasonable fee based upon the value at the time of approval of an assignment made under this section.
Assignments made under this section shall be for the primary purpose of establishing homes for landless Indians, and shall be known as "Standard" assignments.
Sec. 5. If any member of the tribe holding a standard assignment shall for a period of two (2) years, fail to use the land so assigned or shall use such land for any unlawful purpose his assignment may be canceled by the Tribal Business Council after due notice and an opportunity to be heard, and the said land may be reassigned in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of this Article.
the death of any Indian holding a "standard" assignment his heirs or other
individuals designated by him, by will or written request, shall have a
preference in the reassignment of the land, provided such persons are members of the Three Affiliated Tribes who
would be eligible to receive
Sec. 6. Assignments under this section shall be known as "exchange" assignments. Any member of the tribe who owns an allotment or any share of heirship land or patent-in-fee land may voluntarily transfer his interest in such land to the tribe in exchange for an assignment to the same land or other land of equal value. If the assignee prefers, he may receive, in lieu of a specific tract of land, a proportionate share in a larger grazing unit.
Sec. 7. "Exchange" assignments may be used by the assignee or leased by him to Indian cooperative associations, to individual members of the tribe, or, if no individual Indian or Indian cooperative association is able and willing to rent the land at a reasonable fee, such assignments may be leased to non-Indians, in the same manner as allotted lands.
Sec. 8. Upon the death of the holder of any exchange assignment , such land shall be reassigned by the Tribal Business Council to his heirs or devisees subject to the following conditions:
Sec. 9. Improvements of any character made upon assigned lands may be bequeathed to and inherited by members of the Three Affiliated Tribes under such regulations as the Tribal Business Council shall provide. No permanent improvements shall be removed without the consent of the Council.
Sec. 10. Assignments may be exchanged between members of the Three Affiliated Tribes by common consent in such manner as the Tribal Business Council shall designate.
Sec. 11. Tribal land which is not leased or assigned, including tribal timber reserves, shall be managed by the Tribal Business Council for the benefit of the members of the entire tribe, and any cash income derived from such land shall accrue to the benefit of the tribe as a whole.
Sec. 12. Tribal funds in the United States Treasury may be used with the consent of the Secretary of the Interior, to acquire land, under the following conditions:
Sec. 13. Applications for assignments shall be filed with the Secretary of Tribal Business Council, and shall be in writing setting forth the name of the person or persons applying for the land and as accurate a description of the land desired as the circumstances will permit. Notices of all applications received by the Secretary shall be posted by him in the agency office and in at least three conspicuous places in the district in which the land is located for not less than 20 days before action is taken by the Council. Any member of the tribe wishing to oppose the granting of an assignment shall do so in writing, setting forth his objections to be filed with the Secretary of the Tribal Business Council, and may, if he so desires, appear before the Tribal Business Council to present evidence. The Secretary of the Tribal Business Council shall furnish the Superintendent or other officer in charge of the agency a complete record of all actions taken by the Tribal Business Council on applications for assignments of land and a complete record of assignments shall be kept in the agency office and shall be open for inspection by members of the tribe. Forms for assignments shall be prepared by the Tribal Business Council, subject to approval by the Secretary of the Interior.
Article X - Amendments
Constitution and Bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the qualified
voters of the tribe voting at an election called for that purpose by the
Secretary of the Interior, provided that at least thirty (30) percent of those
entitled to vote shall vote in such election; but no amendment shall become
effective until it shall have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior. It
shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior to call an election on any
proposed amendment when requested by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Tribal
Council, or upon presentation of a petition signed by one-third (1/3) of the qualified voters.