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1 without Federal approval or acquiescence, finds and declares

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(1) there are currently a number of Indian tribes

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asserting claims against landowners and communities

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for possession of millions of acres of land in the East

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ern United States, and related trespass damages, on

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the ground that the original transfers of these lands to non-Indians generations ago were made without Feder

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al approval and hence were in violation of, inter alia,

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the Nonintercourse Act provision of the Trade ar:d In

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tercourse Act of 1790, other laws of the United States,

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the United States Constitution, the Articles of Confed

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eration, or ancient treaties;

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(2) for various reasons, including the fact that the

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States and the legislative and executive branches of

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the Government of the United States were, with re

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spect to certain claimants, unaware that the United

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States may have had an obligation to approve such

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transfers and, with respect to other claimants, specifi

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cally denied any such obligation, the Federal Govern

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ment may have failed to fulfill this alleged obligation;

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(3) the actions and inactions of the Federal Gov

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ernment over the decades and centuries since the origi

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nal transfers have resulted in the belief that the Feder

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al Government had fulfilled whatever responsibility it

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may have had to these Indian tribes, and, consequent

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ly, in generations of landowners and local and State

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governments justifiably relying on the validity of the

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original transfers and the claims of title emanating therefrom, and in the making in good faith of substan

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tial investments in and improvements upon these lands;

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(4) any judicial determination that these ancient

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transfers were invalid will cause significant economic dislocation and disruption to numerous State and local

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governments and hundreds of thousands of landowners;

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(5) Congress agrees with the statements made by

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several courts and executive branch officials, including

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past Attorneys General of the United States, who upon

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(6) the primary purpose of the Nonintercourse Act

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provision of the Trade and Intercourse Act of 1790,

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which was to ensure fairness in the transactions by which Indian tribes conveyed their lands to non-Indians, can be secured by now compensating Indian tribes

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to the extent that those tribes did not receive fair com

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(7) to the extent that prior actions by the United

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States have not constituted whatever Federal approval

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may have been necessary to validate these ancient land

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transfers, it is the intent of Congress by means of this Act to provide such approval and validation, and to provide Indian tribes that are affected by such approval

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and validation with a means of obtaining fair compen

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sation, which shall be the exclusive remedy for the satisfaction of any claim against the United States, any

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State or local government, or any other person or

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entity, that such Indian tribes may otherwise have by

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(b) Therefore, in the exercise of the full constitutional

14 authority of Congress, it is the purpose of this Act

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(1) to remove the clouds on the titles to land lo

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cated within the States of New York and South Caroli

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na resulting from the claims of Indian tribes that trans

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fers of such lands prior to January 1, 1912, were in

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violation of the United States Constitution, the Articles

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of Confederation, the laws of the United States, includ

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ing the Nonintercourse Act provision of the Trade and

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Intercourse Act of 1790, or any other legal require

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(2) to approve, validate, and ratify all such trans

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fers effective as of the date of such transfers and with

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the same effect as if such approval, validation, and

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ratification had been given at the time of the transfers;

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(3) to provide Indian tribes affected by this Act

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with a means of obtaining fair and equitable compensa

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tion for their claims, including a cause of action in the

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(a) "Indian tribe" includes any Indian nation or

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tribe of Indians, or any other body of Indians of the same or similar race, united in community under one leadership or government, and inhabiting a particular

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or sometimes ill-defined territory;

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(b) "land or natural resources” means any real

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property or natural resources, or any interest in or

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right involving any real property or natural resources, including without limitation minerals and mineral

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rights, timber and timber rights, water and water

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rights, and hunting and fishing rights;

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(c) “laws of the United States” means the Arti

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cles of Confederation, all Federal, State, and Colonial

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statutes, treaties, proclamations, executive agreements,

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orders, regulations, and common law principles, and all judicial interpretations thereof;

(d) the “Nonintercourse Act provision of the

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Trade and Intercourse Act of 1790” means section 4

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of the Trade and Intercourse Act of 1790, Act of July

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22, 1790, chapter 33, section 4 (1 Stat. 137, 138), and

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all amendments thereto and all subsequent reenact

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ments or versions thereof;

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(e) the “Secretary" means the Secretary of the

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(f) “transfer" includes but is not limited to any

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sale, grant, lease, allotment, partition or conveyance,

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any transaction the purpose of which was to effect a

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sale, grant, lease, allotment, partition or conveyance,

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or any event or events that resulted in a change of

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SEC. 4. (a) Any transfer of land or natural resources

20 located within the States of New York and South Carolina

21 from, by, or on behalf of any Indian tribe, including without

22 limitation a transfer pursuant to any statute of or agreement

23 or treaty with any State, made or effected prior to January 24 1, 1912, was and shall be deemed to have been made in

25 accordance with the Constitution and all laws of the United

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