Native American Research Project

Native American
Research Project

The Native American Research Project is intended to provide a place where those with special interest in Native American families from Kingfisher County and surrounding areas may share their genealogical findings. These may include records of any kind, including census records, birth, marriage, and death records, and land records.

If you would like to share your research, please send your information to me at, with "NATIVE AMERICAN RESEARCH PROJECT" in the subject line. (If you send your information as an attachment, please be sure that it is in .txt format.)

submitted by Barbara Clayton

LAW-Regulating Marriages & Divorces

Source: OHS microfilm roll no. CAA 79, frame no. 022

LAW - Regulating Marriages and Divorces Among Allotted Indians.

AN ACT to provide for and regulate marriages among certain Indians and to provide for the records thereof, and to define rights of Indian children, and to provide penalties for the violation of the same.

Be it enacted by the legislative assembly of the Territory of Oklahoma.

SECTION 1. That on the approval of this act, all Indians who have taken allotments of land in severalty, and who have their homes in this territory, and who are living together as husband and wife, and who have before that date, been married according to the Indian custom, are hereby declared to be lawfully married, and all divorces heretofore had among such Indians according to the Indian custom, shall be, and the same are hereby declared to be legal.

SECTION 2. All Children of such Indians as have taken allotments, born in, or begotten in any Indian marriage existing prior to the passage of this act, shall be legitimate heir of both the father and mother to whom they were born, notwithstanding the fact that the father and mother may have been divorced and married to other persons according to the Indian custom.

SECTION 3. After the passage of this act, marriages and divorces among such Indians, or among their descendants, according to the Indian custom, shall be punished as hereinafter provided.

SECTION 4. On and after the approval of this act, such Indians and their descendants, shall procure marriage licenses in the same county and have their marriages solemnized by the same persons, and returns thereof made in the manner as is provided by the laws of this territory for the making of marriage contracts by other persons.

SECTION 5. Such Indians and their descendants may hereafter obtain divorces in the manner and for the causes provided in the statutes of this territory, and not otherwise.

SECTION 6. If any such Indian is, at the date of the passage of this act and according to the provisions thereof, married to another person, or shall thereafter be married to another person, and shall, while his or her husband and wife is living, be married to another person, either in legal form or according to Indian custom, he or she shall be guilty of bigamy, except in the cases specified in article 1, chapter 25, of the statutes of 1893, and shall be punished thereafter as in that article provided. No Indian shall be punished for bigamy committed prior to the passage of this act.

SECTION 7. If, at the date of the passage of this act, any such Indian man be living with and cohabiting with more than one wife, to whom he has previously been married according to Indian custom, he shall, on or before the first day in July, 1897, designate one of them as his lawful wife, and cause her name to be recorded as such, as provided in section 8 of this act, and thereafter, the one so designated shall be held to be his lawful wife. If he shall after that date continue to live and cohabit with any Indian woman other than the one so designated as his wife, or shall fail to make such designation on or before that date, he shall be guilty of bigamy and shall suffer the punishment provided for that offense; Provided, That no such Indian shall be permitted to abandon the wife to whom he has been married in the manner provided by the laws of the territoy, and under the provisions of this act.

SECTION 8. It is hereby made the duty of all probate judges in this territory, on or before the first day of July 1897, or as soon thereafter as it can be done, to obtain and make a record of all Indians holding allotted lands in his county, who are at the date he makes such record, married according to the provisions of this act, which record shall show the name of each husband and of his wife. He shall enter the same in the marriage record of his office. He shall also take and record the election of all such Indian men as have more than one wife to whom they may have been married according to Indian custom, and shall make a record of the name of the husband and the wife so selected, and shall also make a record of the names of Indian wives rejected by such man, or of his refusal to make such election, as the case may be. He shall report to the county attorney for prosecution, the names of all Indian men who refuse to make such selection. To enable the probate judge to obtain such information, he shall first apply to the United States Indian agent therefor, and if such agent will furnish to him a record, certified to by the Indian agent as correct, showing the matters and things desired, he shall enter the same of record in the marriage record with like force and effect as though he had himself procured the information. The probate judge shall apply to such Indian agent for such record not earlier than the firs day of June 1897, nor later than the 15th day of that month. An Indian man with more than one wife, may make known his selection to such Indian agent, and cause the same to be recorded and reported by him. If such Indian agent shall refuse or neglect to furnish such record, then the probate judge shall proceed to procure the information among the Indians as best he can, and for so doing shall be allowed and paid a fee of twenty-five cents for each Indian so recorded, which fee shall be paid by said Indian. The record so made by the probate judge, and certified copies thereof, shall be legal, and competent evidence in all proceedings, of the facts therein authorized to be stated.

SECTION 9. All acts and parts of acts in conflict with the provisions of this act are hereby repealed.

SECTION 10. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and approval.

J.W. JOHNSON, President of Council

J.C. TOUSLEY, Speaker of House

Approved March 12, 1897

Wm. C. RENFROW, Governor Oklahoma Territory

I do hereby certify that the annexed pages contain a full, true, and complete copy of council bill No. 112, as passed by the Fourth legislative assembly of the Territory of Oklaoma and approved by the governor, March 12, 1897. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the great seal of the Territory the date first above written.

Thos. J. LOWE, Secretary of Oklahoma Territory.

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This page was last updated on June 5, 2006.