115. Rules for Indian Courts. August 27, 1892
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115. Rules for Indian Courts August 27, 1892 Rules for the courts of Indian offenses drawn up in 1883, when the courts were instituted, were reissued with some modifications in 1892 by Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas J. Morgan. 1. Districting reservation.—Whenever it shall appear to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that the best interests of the Indians on any Indian reservation will be subserved thereby, such reservation shall be divided into three or more districts, each of which shall be given a name by which it shall thereafter be designated and known. As far as practicable the county lines established by the laws of the State or Territory within which the reservation is located shall be observed in making the division, provided that each district shall include , as nearly as can be, an equal proportion of the total Indian population on the reservation . All mixed bloods and white persons who are actually and lawfully members, whether by birth or adoption, of any tribe residing on the reservation shall be counted as Indians. Where the lands of the reservation have not been surveyed, or where it is not practicable to observe the State or Territory county lines on the reservation, the lines of the district shall be defined by such natural boundaries as will enable the Indians to readily ascertain the district in which they reside. 2. Appointment of judges.—There shall be appointed by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for each district a person from among the Indians of the reservation who shall be styled “judge of the Indian court.” The judges must be men of intelligence, integrity, and good moral character, and preference shall be given to Indians who read and write English readily, wear citizens’ dress, and engage in civilized pursuits, and no person shall be eligible to such appointment who is a polygamist. Each judge shall be appointed for the term of one year, subject, however, to earlier removal from office for cause by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs; but no judge shall be removed before the expiration of his term of office until the charges against him, with proofs, shall have been presented in writing to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and until he shall have been furnished a copy thereof and given opportunity to reply in his own defense, which reply shall also be in writing and be accompanied by such counter proofs as he may desire to submit. 3. District courts.—Each judge shall reside within the district to which he may be assigned and shall keep an office open at some convenient point to be designated by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs; and he shall hold court at least one day in each week for the purpose of investigating and trying any charge of offense or misdemeanor over which the judges of the Indian court have jurisdiction as provided in these regulations: Provided, That appeals from his judgment or decision may be taken to the Indian court in general term, at which all the judges on the reservation shall sit together. 4. Offenses.—For the purpose of these regulations the following shall be deemed to constitute offenses, and the judges of the Indian court shall severally have jurisdiction to try and punish for the same when committed within their respective districts. (a) Dances, etc.—Any Indian who shall engage in the sun dance, scalp dance, or war dance, or any other similar feast, so called, shall be deemed guilty of an offense, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished for the first offense by the withholding of his rations for not exceeding ten days or by imprisonment for not exceeding ten days; and for any subsequent offense under this clause he shall be punished by withholding his rations for not less than ten nor more than thirty days, or by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than thirty days. (b) Plural or polygamous marriages.— Any Indian under the supervision of a United States Indian agent who shall hereafter contract or enter into any plural or polygamous marriage shall be deemed guilty of an offense, and upon conviction thereof shall pay a fine of not less than twenty nor more than fifty dollars, or work at hard labor for not less than twenty nor more than sixty days, or both, at 185 186 the discretion of the court; and so long as the person shall continue in such unlawful relation he shall forfeit all right...