Statement on Signing Executive Order Providing for Return of Certain Lands to the Yakima Indian Reservation.
IT IS with particular pleasure that I sign this Executive order  which places 21,000 acres of land in the State of Washington under the trust jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior for the Yakima Indian Tribe.
This action rights a wrong going back 65 years.
The U.S. Government lost the treaty map in its own files and by the time it was found actions had been taken which had mistakenly displaced the Indians from this land.
The Indian Claims Commission has ruled that the Yakima Tribe has a rightful claim, but rather than accept cash compensation, the tribe, with the permission of the Commission, sought to have the land itself restored.
In a comprehensive opinion, Attorney General Mitchell reviewed the unintentional but mistaken actions of 1907 and ruled that the executive order [Proclamation 725] of that time did not constitute a "taking" of the land by the Government in the legal sense and that it can be restored by executive action now.
Ordinarily, of course, Indian land claims are being, and should be, settled by cash award, but this case has exceptional circumstances which the Attorney General has described.
I am equally pleased to note that the Yakima Tribe itself has pledged by tribal resolution to "maintain existing recreation facilities for public use" and to "recognize the dedication of that portion included in the Mt. Adams wilderness use."
Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing Executive Order Providing for Return of Certain Lands to the Yakima Indian Reservation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/254811