Johnson, Rounds introduce legislation repealing prejudiced Native American laws

WASHINGTON — South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson and two House colleagues introduced the RESPECT Act in companion with a Senate Bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Rounds, of the same name.

The RESPECT Act – or Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes Act – would repeal outdated and discriminatory laws against Native Americans.

“It’s no secret, America’s past is flawed,” said Johnson.“We have come a long way as a nation, but there is always room to improve. Repealing these archaic laws is one way we can show Indian Country the dignity and respect it deserves. I’m confident we can get this bill across the finish line this Congress.”

Statutes named in the legislation include laws that withhold payments to “intoxicated Indians,” withhold rations due to nonattendance at school, and involve the forcible relocation of Native children to Indian boarding schools.

The act would repeal the following laws: 

  • 25 U.S.C. 302 Indian Reform School; rules and regulations; consent of parents to placing
    youth in reform school. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs, under the direction of the
    Secretary of the Interior, is authorized and directed to select and designate some of the
    schools or other institution herein specifically provided for as an “Indian Reform
    School,” and to make all needful rules and regulations for its conduct, and the placing of
    Indian youth therein.
  • 25 U.S.C. 72 Abrogation of treaties; Whenever the tribal organization of any Indian tribe
    is in actual hostility to the United States, the President is authorized, by proclamation, to
    declare all treaties with such tribe abrogated by such tribe if in his opinion the same can
    be done consistently with good faith and legal and national obligations.
  • 25 U.S.C. 127 Moneys of annuities of hostile Indians; No moneys or annuities stipulated
    by any treaty with an Indian tribe for which appropriations are made shall be expended
    for, or paid, or delivered to any tribe which, since the next preceding payment under
    such treaty, has engaged in hostilities against the United States, or against its citizens
    peacefully or lawfully sojourning or traveling within its jurisdiction at the time of such
    hostilities; nor in such case shall such stipulated payments or deliveries be resumed until
    new appropriations shall have been made therefor by Congress.
  • 25 U.S.C. 128 Appropriations not paid to Indians at war with United States; None of the
    appropriations made for the Indian Service shall be paid to any band of Indians or any
    portion of any band while at war with the United States or with the white citizens of any
    of the States or Territories.
  • 25 U.S.C. 129 Moneys due Indians holding captives other than Indians withheld; The
    Secretary of the Interior is authorized to withhold, from any tribe of Indians who may
    hold any captives other than Indians, any moneys due them from the United States until
    said captives shall be surrendered to the lawful authorities of the United States.
  • 25 U.S.C. 130 Withholding of moneys of goods on account of intoxicating liquors; No
    annuities, or moneys, or goods, shall be paid or distributed to Indians while they are
    under the influence of any description of intoxicating liquor, nor while there are good
    and sufficient reasons leading the officers or agents, whose duty it may be to make such
    payments or distribution, to believe that there is any species of intoxicating liquor
    within convenient reach.
  • 25 U.S.C. 137 Supplies distributed to able-bodied males on condition; For the purpose of
    inducing Indians to labor and become self-supporting, it is provided that, in distributing
    the supplies and annuities to the Indians for whom the same are appropriated, the
    agent distributing the same shall require all able-bodied male Indians between the ages
    of eighteen and forty-five to perform service upon the reservation, for the benefit of
    themselves or of the tribe.
  • 25 U.S.C. 138 Goods withheld from chiefs violating treaty stipulations; No delivery of
    goods or merchandise shall be made to the chiefs of any tribe, by authority of any
    treaty, if such chiefs have violated the stipulations contained in such treaty upon their
    part.
  • 25 U.S.C. 273 Detail of Army officer; The Secretary of the Army shall be authorized to
    detail an officer of the Army, not above the rank of captain, for special duty with
    reference to Indian education.
  • 25 U.S.C. 283 Regulations for withholding rations for nonattendance at schools; The
    Secretary of the Interior may in his discretion, establish such regulations as will prevent
    the issuing of rations or the furnishing of subsistence either in money or in kind to the
    head of any Indian family for or on account of any Indian child or children between the
    ages of eight and twenty-one years who shall not have attended school during the
    preceding year in accordance with such regulations.
  • 25 U.S.C. 285 Withholding annuities from Osage Indians for nonattendance at schools;
    The Commissioner of Indian Affairs is authorized in his discretion to withhold any
    annuities or other payments due to Osage Indian minors, above six years of age, whose
    parents fail, neglect, or refuse to place such minors in some established school for a
    reasonable portion of each year and to keep such children in regular attendance
    thereof. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs is authorized to make such rules and
    regulations as may be necessary to put this provision into force and effect.
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