(1)Under the treaty between the United States of America and the Crow Tribe of Indians concluded May 7, 1868 (commonly known as the “Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868”; 15 Stat. 649), the eastern boundary of the Crow Indian Reservation was established as the 107th meridian for approximately 90 miles from the Yellowstone River to the boundary between Montana and Wyoming.
(2)Under Executive orders issued in 1884 and 1900, the western boundary of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation was established as the 107th meridian. The 107th meridian was intended to be the common boundary between the Crow Reservation and Northern Cheyenne Reservation for approximately 25 miles.
(3)From 1889 through 1891, a survey was conducted of the eastern boundary of the Crow Reservation. The 1891 survey line strayed to the west, and resulted in the exclusion from the Crow Indian Reservation of a strip of land of approximately 36,164 acres. Approximately 12,964 acres of such strip of land were included in the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Deposits of low sulphur coal underlie the land excluded from the Crow Indian Reservation, including the land included in the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.
(A)The erroneous nature of the survey was not discovered for several decades. Meanwhile, the areas along the 107th meridian to the north and south of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation were opened to settlement in the late nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth century. Patents were issued to non-Indian persons and to the State of Montana for most of the surface land and a significant portion of the minerals in these areas between the 107th meridian and the 1891 survey line.
(B)The 12,964 acres included in the Northern Cheyenne Reservation have been treated as part of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and occupied by the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and the Northern Cheyenne allottees, and their successors in interest.
(5)Legislation to resolve the 107th meridian boundary dispute was introduced in Congress in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and again in 1992, but no such legislation was enacted into law.
The purpose of this subchapter is to settle the 107th meridian boundary dispute created by the erroneous survey of the eastern boundary of the Crow Indian Reservation made by the Federal Government described in subsection (a)(3) of this section.
Pub. L. 103–444, § 1,Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4632, provided that: “This Act [enacting this subchapter] may be cited as the ‘Crow Boundary Settlement Act of 1994’.”
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