The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 363
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The Red River Boundary Controversy
Representatives for the Indians did not give up when the Court
denied the Indians' claim to the south half of the stream. In view
of the Court's strictly legal ruling concerning the phrasing of the
Medicine Lodge Treaty, Oklahoma's congressman, Elmer Thomas,
approached the question from another angle. The treaty wording
was an honest mistake, Thomas contended, and the federal gov-
ernment should rectify the error by giving the profits from the oil
lands to its wards. Thus, in December, 1923, Thomas introduced
a bill to have the oil royalties from this public land go to the
Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache tribes of southwestern Okla-
The House Committee on the Public Lands held hearings on
the bill in April, 1924, and January, 1925, and various persons
appeared before the committee to argue the Indians' case. Former
Senator Gore, for example, reporting upon the poor shelter and
clothing of the Indians, testified that the tribes' treasury was vir-
tually depleted and that the government would soon be required
to appropriate money to care for these wards. He suggested that
by allowing the Indians to have the oil profits, inevitable appro-
priations from the United States treasury could be deferred for a
time."3 As a result of the pleas of Gore, Thomas, and others, Con-
gress enacted a statute which authorized a trust fund to be set up
for the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Indians by which these tribes
would receive all of the royalties from the oil produced in the
south half of the Red River, except certain sums of money award-
ed to a few successful claimants. The Indians were required to
pay 371/2 per cent of these royalties to Oklahoma in lieu of state
and local taxes."
After a decade of legal maneuvering and political wrangling,
the question of oil rights in the Red River bed was brought to
an end. But the conclusion came only after much colorful and
involved controversy regarding the ownership of the land and the
rights to the profits from it.
S2Congressional Record, 68th Cong., 1st Sess., 9.
8sHearing before the Committee on the Public Lands, U. S. House of Representa-
tives, on H. R. 178, a Bill Authorizing Payment of All Money Received as Royalty
from Red River Oil Lands to the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Tribes of Indians,
68th Cong., Ist Sess. (Washington, 1924-1925), 83ff.
S4Congressional Record, 69th Cong., ist Sess., 7261, 10552, 3o562; United States
Statutes at Large, XLIV, 740.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/430/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.