CORPORATE CHARTER OF THE FORT BELKNAP INDIAN COMMUNITY
OF THE FORT BELKNAP INDIAN RESERVATION
Source: United States Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs
United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1938
Whereas, more than one-third of the adult Indians on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation who are members of the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes have petitioned that a charter of incorporation be granted to such community, subject to ratification by vote of said Indians living on said reservation;
Now, therefore, I, Charles West, Acting Secretary of the Interior, by virtue of the authority conferred upon me by the said act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984), do hereby issue and submit this charter of incorporation to the Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation to be effective from and after such time as it may be ratified by a majority vote of the adult Indians living on the reservation, at an election in which at least thirty percent of the eligible voters vote.
|Corporate Existence||1. In order to further the economic development of the Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana by conferring upon the said community certain corporate rights, powers, privileges and immunities; to secure for the members of the Community an assured economic independence; and to provide for the proper exercise by the Community of various functions heretofore performed by the Department of the Interior, the aforesaid community is hereby chartered as a body politic and corporate of the United States of America, under the corporate name "The Fort Belknap Indian Community."|
|Perpetual Succession||2. The Fort Belknap Indian Community shall, as a Federal Corporation, have perpetual succession.|
|Membership||3. The Fort Belknap Indian Community shall be a membership corporation. Its members shall consist of all persons now or hereafter members of the Community, as provided by its duly ratified and approved Constitution and By-laws.|
|Management||4. The Fort Belknap Community Council consisting of six members elected by the Gros Ventre Tribe of Indians of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and six members elected by the Assiniboine Tribe of Indians of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, shall exercise all of the corporate powers hereinafter enumerated.|
5. The Community, subject to any restrictions contained in the Constitution and laws of the United States, or in the Constitution and By-laws of the said community, or in this Charter, shall have the following corporate powers:
|Termination of Supervisory Powers||6. Upon the request of the Community Council of the Fort Bel Belknap Indian Community for the termination of any supervisory power reserved to the Secretary of the Interior under sections 5 (b) (2), 5 (d), 5 (f), 5 (g), 5 (h), and section 8 of this Charter, the Secretary of the Interior, if he deems it wise and expedient to do so, shall thereupon submit the question of such termination or grant for ratification by the Community. If the Secretary of the Interior shall approve such termination it shall be effective upon ratification by a majority vote of the adult members of the Community residing on the reservation, at an election in which at least 30 percent of the eligible voters vote. If the Secretary of the Interior shall disapprove such termination, or fail to approve or disapprove such termination, or fail to approve or disapprove it within 90 days after its receipt, it may then be submitted by the Secretary or by the Community Council to popular referendum of the adult members of the Community actually living within the reservation, and if approved by two-thirds of the eligible voters shall be effective.|
|Tribal Rights and Claims||
|Corporate Dividends||8. The Community may issue to each of its members a nontransferable certificate of membership evidencing the equal share of each member in the assets of the Community and may distribute per capita, among the recognized members of the Community, all income of the Community over and above sums necessary to defray corporate obligations to members of the Community or to other persons and over and above all sums which may be devoted to the establishment of a reserve fund, the construction of public works, the costs of public enterprises, the expenses of the Community government, the needs of charity, or other corporate purposes. No such distribution of profits in any one year amounting to a distribution of more than one-half of the accrued surplus, shall be made without the approval of the Secretary of the Interior.|
|Corporate Accounts||9. The officers of the Community shall maintain accurate and complete public accounts of the financial affairs of the Community, which shall clearly show all credits, debts, pledges, and assignments, and shall furnish an annual balance sheet and report of the financial affairs of the Community to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. The Secretary-Treasurer of the Fort Belknap Indian Community shall pay out money only in accordance with the orders and resolutions of the Community Council, and no disbursements shall be made without the signature or approval of the Secretary-Treasurer. The books of the Secretary-Treasurer shall be audited at the direction of the Community Council or of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and shall be open to inspection by members of the Community or duly authorized representatives of the Secretary of the Interior at all reasonable times.|
|Amendments.||10. This Charter shall not be revoked or surrendered except by Act of Congress, but amendments may be proposed by resolutions of the Community Council which if approved by the Secretary of the Interior, to be effective shall be ratified by a majority vote of the adult members living on the reservation at a popular referendum in which at least 30 percent of the eligible voters vote.|
|Ratification.||11. This Charter shall be effective from and after the date of its ratification by a majority vote of the adult members of the Fort Belknap Indian Community living on the Fort Belknap Reservation, provided at least 30 percent of the eligible voters shall vote; such ratification to be formally certified by the Superintendent of the Fort Belknap Agency and the President of the Fort Belknap Indian Community.|
Submitted by the Acting Secretary of the Interior for ratification by the Fort Belknap Indian Community in a popular referendum to be held on August 25, 1937.
Acting Secretary of the Interior.
Washington, D.C., July 29, 1937.