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                                                     Calendar No. 698
115th Congress       }                     {                  Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session          }                     {                  115-398

======================================================================



 
                     STIGLER ACT AMENDMENTS OF 2018

                                _______
                                

               November 29, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Hoeven, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2606]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (H.R. 2606) to amend the Act of August 4, 1947 (commonly 
known as the Stigler Act), with respect to restrictions 
applicable to Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends the bill do 
pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of H.R. 2606, is to amend certain provisions of 
the Act of August 4, 1947 (commonly referred to as the Stigler 
Act) with respect to the restricted fee status of land allotted 
to members of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma. 
Specifically, H.R. 2606 amends the Stigler Act to remove a one 
half-degree Indian blood quantum requirement for tribal member 
allotted lands to retain their restricted status.

                               BACKGROUND

    Oklahoma is home to 38 federally-recognized Indian tribes. 
A majority of these tribes were forcibly removed from their 
traditional homelands to what is now known as the State of 
Oklahoma during the early to mid-1800's. Among the first tribes 
relocated were the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Mvskoke (Creek), 
Cherokee, and Seminole, which are sometimes referred to as the 
Five Civilized Tribes (the Five Tribes).
    Years later, through the General Allotment Act of 1887 
(also known as the Dawes Act),\1\ Congress sought to end the 
tribal and reservation system in which Indians had been living 
and instead make them individual property owners through the 
allotment of the reservations. Under this Act, the President 
was authorized to allot 80-acre or 160-acre parcels of land 
within Indian reservations to individual Indians located on 
them, and to open remaining surplus lands to non-Indian 
settlement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\General Allotment Act of 1887, ch. 119, 24 Stat. 388 (formerly 
codified as amended at 25 U.S.C. 331-33).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 1893, the Dawes Commission\2\ was created by Congress in 
part to seek allotment of the lands of the Five Tribes. In 
1898, Congress enacted the Curtis Act\3\ which provided for the 
allotment of the lands of the Five Tribes. These allotted 
parcels were inalienable (unable to be sold or otherwise 
transferred) and nontaxable. The restricted fee parcels have, 
in most respects, the functional and legal equivalent of trust 
land.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Act of March 3, 1893, ch. 209, 16 Stat. 612, 645, available at 
https://www.loc.gov/law/help/statutes-at-large/52nd-congress/session-2/
c52s2ch209.pdf.
    \3\ Curtis Act of 1898, ch. 517, 30 Stat. 495, available at https:/
/www.loc.gov/law/help/statutes-at-large/55th-congress/session-2/
c55s2ch517.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In 1947, Congress enacted the Stigler Act\4\ which placed 
additional restrictions on title to those allotments that had 
been conveyed to members of the Five Tribes. The Stigler Act 
provides that upon probate, heirs and devisees of an allotment 
shall maintain at least one-half degree Indian blood quantum 
from one of the Five Tribes for the land to remain inalienable 
and nontaxable for the life of the owner.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ Stigler Act of 1947, Pub. L. No. 80-336, ch. 458, 61 Stat. 731.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Five Tribes formed a coalition known as the Inter-
Tribal Council to represent their collective interests.\5\ The 
Inter-Tribal Council is composed of only the Five Tribes and 
represents over 650,000 tribal members.\6\ Over the years, this 
Council developed legislative proposals to amend the Stigler 
Act to address problems created by the allotments and blood 
quantum requirements. The Council and each of the Five Tribes 
fully supports H.R. 2606.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\ Ingrid P. Westmoreland, Inter-Tribal Council of the Five 
Civilized Tribes, The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 
available at http://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/
entry.php?entry=IN033.
    \6\ Legislative Hearing to Receive Testimony on the Following 
bills: H.R. 146, H.R. 2402, H.R. 2606 Before the Subcomm. on Indian, 
Insular and Alaska Native Affairs of the H. Comm. on Natural Resources, 
115th Cong. (2017) (Statement of Bill Jon Baker, Principal Chief, 
Cherokee Nation).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                SUMMARY

    The bill, H.R. 2606, amends the Stigler Act to remove the 
blood quantum requirement for allotted lands to retain their 
restricted status. Under the bill, certain restricted lands 
owned by members or lineal blood descendants of members of the 
Five Tribes would remain restricted, regardless of the blood 
quantum of the owners.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    The bill, H.R. 2606, was introduced by Representative Cole 
with Representatives Lucas, Mullin, and Russell on May 23, 
2017, and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources of the 
House of Representatives. The bill, H.R. 2606, was further 
referred to the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska 
Native Affairs on June 6, 2017. The Subcommittee on Indian, 
Insular and Alaska Native Affairs held a legislative hearing on 
October 4, 2017, at which Principal Chief Bill John Baker of 
the Cherokee Nation provided testimony in support of the bill.
    The Committee on Natural Resources of the House of 
Representatives met to consider the bill during a business 
meeting on June 13, 2018. The Subcommittee was discharged by 
unanimous consent. Representative Bishop offered an amendment 
to the bill which was adopted by voice vote. The amendment made 
a number technical corrections, provided clarity as to the 
bill's application, and added subsection (j) to section 2- 
concerning determinations of Indian blood. No additional 
amendments were offered, and the bill, as amended, was ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by voice 
vote.
    The bill, H.R. 2606, as amended, was reported favorably by 
the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of 
Representatives on August 21, 2018. On September 12, 2018, 
bill, as amended, was agreed to by voice vote of the House of 
Representatives.
    The bill, as amended, was received in the Senate on 
September 17, 2018, and was referred to the Committee. On 
November 14, 2018, the Committee held a legislative hearing on 
the bill. The Honorable James Floyd, Principal Chief, Muscogee 
(Creek) Nation, and Mr. Darryl LaCounte, Acting Director, 
Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, both 
testified in support of the bill.
    Additionally, the Honorable Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the 
Chickasaw Nation, the Honorable Gary Batton, Chief of the 
Choctaw Nation, and the Honorable Bill John Baker, Principal 
Chief of the Cherokee Nation, all provided testimony in support 
of the bill. A Senate companion bill has not been introduced at 
this time. On November 28, 2018, by voice vote, the Committee 
ordered the bill to be reported favorably to the Senate.

Prior Congresses

    107th Congress. On September 12, 2001, Representative 
Watkins along with Representatives Carson, Condit, and Kildee 
introduced H.R. 2880 where it was referred to the Committee on 
Resources of the House of Representatives. The Committee on 
Resources of the House of Representatives held a mark-up 
session on March 30, 2002, where an amendment was adopted. The 
bill, H.R. 2880, as amended, was ordered favorably reported to 
the House of Representatives by voice vote.
    On June 11, 2002, the bill, as amended, was agreed to by 
voice vote of the House of Representatives. The bill, as 
amended, was received in the Senate on June 6, 2002, and was 
referred to the Committee. On September 18, 2002, the Committee 
held a legislative hearing. On September 25, 2002, the 
Committee held a business meeting and ordered the bill to be 
reported favorably without further amendment. No further action 
was taken on the bill. No companion bill was introduced in the 
Senate.
    106th Congress. Representative Watkins introduced H.R. 5308 
on September 26, 2000, where it was referred to the Committee 
on Resources of the House of Representatives. Representative 
Kildee was added as a cosponsor on October 2, 2000, and 
Representative Colburn was added as a cosponsor on October 12, 
2000. On October 17, 2000, the bill was agreed to by voice vote 
of the House of Representatives. On October 18, 2000, a 
correction of engrossment was agreed to without objection. The 
bill, as amended, was received by the Senate on October 18, 
2000. No further action was taken on the bill.
    On October 10, 2000, Senator Inhofe introduced a Senate 
companion bill, S. 3182, where it was referred to the 
Committee. No further action was taken on the bill.

                          NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The effect of the Stigler Act has been that when a person 
of less than one-half degree of Indian blood from one of the 
Five Tribes inherits an interest in an allotment, that interest 
loses its restricted status and can then be sold or otherwise 
transferred and is taxable. Since the passage of the Stigler 
Act, efficient or productive land use has not been achieved, 
rather a significant amount of tribal member land has been 
lost, most notably in tax sales or other questionable land 
transfers.
    Moreover, this blood quantum requirement is inconsistent 
with how the Five Tribes define membership, as none of the Five 
Tribes maintain a minimum degree blood quantum for membership. 
Additionally, the blood quantum requirement is inconsistent 
with other federal laws, as no other tribes are subject to a 
blood quantum requirement in order for inherited land to retain 
its restricted or trust status.\7\ This legislation, H.R. 2606, 
removes the blood quantum requirement and will create parity in 
federal law in the treatment of Indian allotted lands.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Legislative Hearing to Receive Testimony on the Following bills: 
S. 2788, H.R. 2606, and H.R. 4032 Before the Sen. Comm. on Indian 
Affairs, 115th Cong. (2018) (Statement of Darryl LaCounte, Acting 
Director of the Bureau of Indians Affairs, U.S. Dept of the Interior).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    The Act may be cited as the ``Stigler Act Amendments of 
2018.''

Section 2. In general

    Section 2 amends the Act of August 4, 1947 (the Stigler 
Act), by:
     Striking the one half degree blood quantum 
requirement for allotted lands to retain their restrictive 
status and provides for the restricted lands to remain in 
restricted status if the land recipient is a lineal blood 
descendant of an original enrollee on the Final Indian Rolls of 
the Fived Civilized Tribes.
     Extends the restrictive status until Congress 
determines otherwise.
     Sets the parameters for the Act's application.
     Incorporating requirements previously contained in 
section 1 of the original Stigler Act regarding proceedings for 
state court approval of conveyances of restricted land.
     Makes clear that nothing within this Act limits 
the right of an Indian owner of restricted lands to seek and 
obtain removal of restrictions by the Secretary of the 
Interior.
     Sets forth provisions concerning the determination 
of degree of Indian blood that were previously contained in 
section 2 of the Stigler Act as originally enacted.

Section 3. Technical Amendments

    Section 3 of the bill removes references to blood quantum 
in sections 5, 6, and 8, of the Stigler Act. Section 3 also 
provides clarification that interests in restricted and tax-
exempt lands will continue to be tax-exempt if acquired by an 
Indian of the Five Civilized Tribes by purchases or 
acquisitions through partition sale, in addition to the various 
other means of acquisitions described in the original Stigler 
Act.

Section 4. Repeals

    Section 4 repeals the first section of the Act of August 
11, 1955 (69 Stat. 666, Chapter 768),\8\ which involves the 
continuation of restrictions and is no longer needed in light 
of the continuation of restrictions established by the bill. 
Section 4 also repeals section 2 of the Act of August 4, 1947 
(61 Stat. 731, Chapter 458),\9\ which addresses determination 
of blood quantum and has already been incorporated in this 
bill.
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    \8\Pub. L. 84-348.
    \9\Pub. L. 80-336.
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                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    On August 14, 2018, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) 
prepared a cost estimate for H.R. 2606, as considered by the 
Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives. 
The bill was not amended during consideration by the Committee 
on Indian Affairs of the Senate so that there should be no 
changes to affect the cost estimate. The subsequent cost 
estimate can be published in the Congressional Record. The 
Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of 
Representatives received the following letter, and cost 
estimate, for H.R. 2606 from the Director of the CBO.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 14, 2018.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2606, The Stigler 
Act Amendments of 2018.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Robert Reese.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2606--Stigler Act Amendments of 2018

    H.R. 2606 would amend the Act of August 4, 1947 (commonly 
known as the Stigler Act) to revise the qualifications that 
need to be met by a person who inherits land originally 
allotted to members of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma--
Cherokee, Creek (Muscogee), Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole 
Tribes--for that land to remain in restricted status. Land in 
restricted status can only be conveyed or encumbered by an 
Indian owner with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior 
according to Indian land conveyance provisions and limitations 
found in the Code of Federal Regulations. The bill would not 
apply to individuals that have inherited property in restricted 
status prior to enactment.
    Because the relevant land would remain privately owned 
whether it is held in restricted status or otherwise, CBO 
estimates that implementing the bill would have no federal 
cost.
    Enacting H.R. 2606 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2606 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 2606 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Robert Reese. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT STATEMENT

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires that each report accompanying a bill to 
evaluate the regulatory paperwork impact that would be incurred 
in implementing the legislation. The Committee has concluded 
that enactment of H.R. 2606 will create only de minimis 
regulatory or paperwork burdens.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The Committee has received no official communications from 
the Administration on the provisions of this bill.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with the Standing Rules of the Senate and the 
Committee Rules, subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate is waived. In the opinion of the Committee, 
it is necessary to dispense with subsection 12 of rule XXVI of 
the Standing Rules of the Senate in order to expedite the 
business of the Senate.

                                  [all]