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Proclamation 268—Revoking Executive Order of February 27, 1885 and Prohibition of Non-Indian Settlement on Indian Lands

April 17, 1885


By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas, by an Executive order bearing date the 27th day of February, 1885, it was ordered that "all that tract of country in the Territory of Dakota known as the Old Winnebago Reservation and the Sioux or Crow Creek Reservation, and lying on the east bank of the Missouri River, set apart and reserved by Executive order dated January 11, 1875, and which is not covered by the Executive order dated August 9, 1879, restoring certain of the lands reserved by the order of January 11, 1875, except the following-described tracts: Townships No. 108 north, range 71 west; 108 north, range 72 west; fractional township 108 north, range 73 west; the west half of section 4, sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33 of township 107 north, range 70 west; fractional townships 107 north, range 71 west; 107 north, range 72 west; 107 north, range 73 west; the west half of township 106 north, range 70 west; and fractional township 106 north, range 71 west; and except also all tracts within the limits of the aforesaid Old Winnebago Reservation and the Sioux or Crow Creek Reservation which are outside of the limits of the above-described tracts, and which may have heretofore been allotted to the Indians residing upon said reservation, or which may have heretofore been selected or occupied by the said Indians under and in accordance with the provisions of article 6 of the treaty with the Sioux Indians of April 29, 1868, be, and the same is hereby, restored to the public domain ;" and

Whereas upon the claim being made that said order is illegal and in violation of the plighted faith and obligations of the United States contained in sundry treaties heretofore entered into with the Indian tribes or bands occupants of said reservation, and that the further execution of said order will not only occasion much distress and suffering to peaceable Indians, but retard the work of their civilization and engender amongst them a distrust of the National Government, I have determined, after a careful examination of the several treaties, acts of Congress, and other official data bearing on the subject, aided and assisted therein by the advice and opinion of the Attorney-General. of the United States duly rendered in that behalf, that the lands so proposed to be restored to the public domain by said Executive order of February 27, 1885, are included as existing Indian reservations on the east bank of the Missouri River by the terms of the second article of the treaty with the Sioux Indians concluded April 29, 1868, and that consequently, being treaty reservations, the Executive was without lawful power to restore them to the public domain by said Executive order, which is therefore deemed and considered to be wholly inoperative and void; and

Whereas the laws of the United States provide for the removal of all persons residing or being found upon Indian lands and territory without permission expressly and legally obtained of the Interior Department:

Now, therefore, in order to maintain inviolate the solemn pledges and plighted faith of the Government as given in the treaties in question, and for the purpose of properly protecting the interests of the Indian tribes as well as of the United States in the premises, and to the end that no person or persons may be induced to enter upon said lands, where they will not be allowed to remain without the permission of the authority aforesaid, I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby declare and proclaim the said Executive order of February 27, 1885, to be in contravention of the treaty obligations of the United States with the Sioux tribe of Indians, and therefore to be inoperative and of no effect; and I further declare that the lands intended to be embraced therein are existing Indian reservations, and as such available for Indian purposes alone and subject to the Indian-intercourse acts of the United States. I do further warn and admonish all and every person or persons now in the occupation of said lands under color of said Executive order, and all such person or persons as are intending or preparing to enter and settle upon the same thereunder, that they will neither be permitted to remain or enter upon said lands, and such persons as are already there are hereby required to vacate and remove therefrom with their effects within sixty days from the date hereof; and in case a due regard for and voluntary obedience to the laws and treaties of the United States and this admonition and warning be not sufficient to effect the purpose and intentions as herein declared, all the power of the Government will be employed to carry into proper execution the treaties and laws of the United States herein referred to.

In testimony thereof I hereunto set my hand and cause the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 17th day of April, 1885, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninth.

GROVER CLEVELAND

By the president:

T. F. BAYARD, Secretary of State.

Grover Cleveland, Proclamation 268—Revoking Executive Order of February 27, 1885 and Prohibition of Non-Indian Settlement on Indian Lands Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/205898

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