pp. 231-232
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 Senate Hearing 95th Congress
S.  2000

Letter from Assistant Attorney General
Legal Counsel


November 6, 1953

Morton H. Silver, Esquire
1112 Biscayne Building
19 West Flagler Street
Miami 32, Florida

Dear Mr. Silver:

              Re: Seminole Indians of Florida,
              Dockets Nos. 73 and 73A

Your letter dated October 1, 1953, together with the notarized statement of Head Medicine Man, Ingraham Billie, which accompanied it, have informed this department that the General Council of the Seminoles has declared that the two petitions filed before the Indian Claims Commission, Dockets Nos. 73 and 74A have never been authorized and that the Seminoles have no intention, presently or prospectively, to accept any money from the United States.

A representative of this Department has examined the records of the Indians Bureau. These disclose that 12 Seminoles signed the Attorney’s contract dated October 15, 1949. It bears the certificate of the Okeechobee County Court Judge pursuant to U.S. section 2103 and is accompanied by a statement of the Superintendent of the Seminole Agency to the effect that the 12 signatures are duly elected trustees of the Brighton, Big Cypress and Dania reservations, especially called for that purpose.

The contract was approved on January 6, 1950, and is received and Miscellaneous Records, Volume 17 at page 12 of the office of the Indian Bureau.

The records also contain inquiries respecting the contract from Senator Holland of Florida, L. J. Thorp, Sheriff of Collier County, and from this Department. In his





              letter from Senator Halland, dated October 30, 1950, the
              commissioner of Indian Affairs said in part:

" " " If any Tribal Indians do not  desire to participate in any award to the Seminole Indians of Florida they will not have to accept any per capita payment or other benefits derived from a favorable judgment.

The Superintendent of the Seminole Agency advice that the contract was negotiated after a meeting was held by the Indians of the three Reservations, Brighton, Big Cypress and Dania. The persons executing the contract were authorized to do so at this meeting. The Indians living on Tamiami trail did not participate in the meeting but these were advised that such meeting had been called for the purpose of
negotiating an attorney contract. The trail Indians do not reside on any of the three reservations.

In view of the final determination made by the
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, this Department has no
alternative but to defend the pending sections.


Perry W. Morton
Assistant Attorney General


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