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ARKANSAS RIVERBED RIGHTS OF CHEROKEE,
CHOCTAW, AND CHICKASAW INDIAN NATIONS

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95-1

HEARING

BEFORE THE !!

U.S. SENATE
SELECT COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS

ON

S. 660...
TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ENTER
INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE CHEROKEE, CHOCTAW, AND
CHICKASAW INDIAN NATIONS FOR THE PURCHASE AND/OR
LEASE BY THE UNITED STATES OF EACH NATION'S RIGHTS
AND INTERESTS IN THE RIVERBED OF THE ARKANSAS

RIVER, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

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WASHINGTON : 1977

93-643 O

SELECT COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS

(Created by S. Res. 4, 95th Cong. ]

JAMES ABOUREZK, South Dakota, Chairman HOWARD METZENBAUM, Ohio

DEWEY F. BARTLETT, Oklahoma JOHN MELCHER, Montana

MARK 0. HATFIELD, Oregon
ERNEST L. STEVENS, Staff Director

ALAN R. PARKER, Chief Counsel
MICHAEL D. Cox, Minority Counsel

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ARKANSAS RIVERBED RIGHTS OF CHEROKEE,
CHOCTAW, AND CHICKASAW INDIAN NATIONS

WEDNESDAY, MAY 25, 1977

U.S. SENATE,
SELECT COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS,

Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:15 a.m., in room 1318, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. James Abourezk (chairman of the committee) presiding.

Present: Senators Abourezk and Bartlett.

Staff present : Ernest Stevens, staff director; Alan Parker, Chief Counsel; Ella Mae Horse, professional staff member; and Hazel Elbert, legislative assistant to Senator Bartlett.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES ABOUREZK, A U.S. SENATOR

FROM THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA

Chairman ABOUREZK. The Select Committee on Indian Affairs will come to order.

The purpose of today's hearing is to take testimony from the administration and the leaders of the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nations on S. 660, a bill that would allow the three nations to enter into agreements with the Secretary of the Interior for the purchase and/or lease by the United States of each nation's right and interest in the riverbed of the Arkansas River.

Through litigation concluded in the Supreme Court, the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nations have recovered from the State of Oklahoma and other trespassing parties, the fee simple title and possession of the bed of the Arkansas River from the confluence of the Grand-Neosho River in Oklahoma to the western boundary of the State of Arkansas. In 1975 a specially convened three-judge panel quieted title in the three nations and the lands within the riverbed were delineated.

The appraisals of the riverbed property and property rights have been made and accepted by the three nations. The leaders have reached agreement on disposition of the matter and have discussed with Department of Interior and Bureau of Indian Affairs officials the details of the agreement; however, the last administration indicated that in order to negotiate the terms of the agreement with the tribes, the Secretary needs legislative authority to do so. S. 660 would give the Secretary that authority.

Today we will hear from the three tribes in detail their efforts to seek an equitable settlement with their trustee, the United States, and the importance of a speedy resolution to the future economic selfsufficiency of their people.

Without objection, the bill S. 660 will be inserted in the record at this point. [S. 660 follows.]

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