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[Public Law 726–79TH CONGRESS)

[H. R. 4497]

To create an Indian Claims Commission, to provide for the powers,

duties, and functions thereof, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled, That
there is hereby created and established an Indian Claims
Commission, hereafter referred to as the Commission.

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JURISDICTION Sec. 2. The Commission shall hear and determine the following claims against the United States on behalf of any Indian tribe, band, or other identifiable group of American Indians residing within the territorial limits of the United States or Alaska: (1) claims in law or equity arising under the Constitution, laws, treaties of the United States, and Executive orders of the President; (2) all other claims in law or equity, including those sounding in tort, with respect to which the claimant would have been entitled to sue in a court of the United States if the United States was subject to suit; (3) claims which would result if the treaties, contracts, and agreements between the claimant and the United States were revised on the ground of fraud, duress, unconscionable consideration, mutual or unilateral mistake, whether of law or fact, or any other ground cognizable by a court of equity; (4) claims arising from the taking by the United States, whether as the result of a treaty of cession or otherwise, of lands owned or occupied by the claimant without the payment for such lands of compensation agreed to by the claimant; and (5) claims based upon fair and honorablo 736172-47-Pol. 107


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dealings that are not recognized by any existing rule of law or equity. No claim accruing after the date of the approval of this Act shall be considered by the Commission.

All claims hereunder may be heard and determined by the Commission notwithstanding any statute of limitations or laches, but all other defenses shall be available to the United States.

In determining the quantum of relief the Commission shall make appropriate deductions for all payments made by the United States on the claim, and for all other offsets, counterclaims, and demands that would be allowable in a suit brought in the Court of Claims under section 145 of the Judicial Code (36 Stat. 1136; 28 U. S. C. sec. 250), as amended; the Commission may also inquire into and consider all money or property given to or funds expended gratuitously for the benefit of the claimant and if it finds that the nature of the claim and the entire course of dealings and accounts between the United States and the claimant in good conscience warrants such action, may set off all or part of such expenditures against any award made to the claimant, except that it is hereby declared to be the policy of Congress that monies spent for the removal of the claimant from one place to another at the request of the United States, or for agency or other administrative, educational, health or highway purposes, or for expenditures made prior to the date of the law, treaty, or Executive Order under which the claim arose, or for expenditures made pursuant to the Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984), save expenditures made under section 5 of that Act, or for expenditures under any emergency appropriation or allotment made subsequent to March 4, 1933, and generally applicable throughout the United States for relief in stricken agricultural areas, relief from distress caused by unemployment and conditions resulting therefrom, the prosecution of public work and public projects for the relief of unemployment or to increase employment, and for work relief (including the Civil Works Program) shall not be a proper offset against any award.

MEMBERSHIP APPOINTMENT; OATH; SALARY SEC. 3. (a) The Commission shall consist of a Chief Commissioner and two Associate Commissioners, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and each of whom shall receive a salary of $10,000 per year. At all times at least two members of the Commission shall be members of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States in good standing: Provided further, That not more than two of the members shall be of the same political party. Each of them shall take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and to discharge faithfully the duties of his office.

TERM OF OFFICE; VACANCIES; REMOVAL . (b) The Commissioners shall hold office during their good behavior until the dissolution of the Commission as hereinafter provided. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments. Members of the Commission may be removed by the President for cause after notice and opportunity to be heard. NOT TO ENGAGE IN OTHER VOCATIONS OR REPRESENT TRIBES

(c) No Commissioner shall engage in any other business, vocation, or employment during his term of office nor shall he, during his term of office or for a period of two years thereafter, represent any Indian tribe, band, or group in any matter whatsoever, or have any financial interest in the outcome of any tribal claim. Any person violating the provisions of this subdivision shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

QUORUM (d) Two members shall constitute a quorum, and the agreement of two members shall be necessary to any and all determinations for the transaction of the business of the Commission, and, if there be a quorum, no vacancy shall impair or affect the business of the Commission, or its determinations.

STAFF OF COMMISSION SEC. 4. The Commission shall appoint a clerk and such other employees as shall be requisite to conduct the business of the Commission. All such employees shall take oath for the faithful discharge of their duties and shall be under the direction of the Commission in the performance thereof.

OFFICES SEC. 5. The principal office of the Commission shall be in the District of Columbia.

EXPENSES OF COMMISSION Sec. 6. All necessary expenses of the Commission shall be paid on the presentation of itemized vouchers therefor approved by the Chief Commissioner or other member or officer designated by the Commission.

TIME OF MEETINGS Sec. 7. The time of the meetings of the Commission shall be prescribed by the Commission.

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RECORD Sec. 8. A full written record shall be kept of all hearings and proceedings of the Commission and shall be open to public inspection.

CONTROL OF PROCEDURE Sec. 9. The Commission shall have power to establish its own rules of procedure.

PRESENTATION OF CLAIM SEC. 10. Any claim within the provisions of this Act may be presented to the Commission by any member of an Indian tribe, band, or other identifiable group of Indians as the representative of all its members; but wherever any tribal organization exists, recognized by the Secretary of the Interior as having authority to represent such tribe, band, or group, such organization shall be accorded the exclusive privilege of representing such Indians, unless, fraud, collusion, or laches on the part of such organization be shown to the satisfaction of the Commission.

TRANSFER OF SUITS FROM COURT OF CLAIMS Sec. 11. Any suit pending in the Court of Claims or the Supreme Court of the United States or which shall be filed in the Court of Claims under existing legislation, shall not be transferred to the Commission: Provided, That the provisions of section 2 of this Act, with respect to the deduction

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