As a result of recent comments from Indian country, the Office of Law Revision Counsel (the "OLRC") will reinstate the landmark Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of 1936 (the "OIWA") into Title 25 of the United States Code.
As part of an ongoing process to update the code, the OLRC, the congressional office that oversees the code, in 2016 deleted a number of laws from Title 25. The sections omitted from the title were laws the office deemed as not "general and permanent" in scope, and primarily were laws that related to judgments or land settlements involving specific tribes or reservations. The office also omitted the OIWA from Title 25, even though it did not appear to fall within the OLRC's criteria. Indeed, the OIWA is a historically significant law that permits the Oklahoma tribes to adopt constitutions, acquire land, and develop tribal business entities.
The OLRC received few comments to notices it issued in 2016 concerning the planned revisions to Title 25. However, based upon additional comments received recently (including comments resulting from a Conner & Winters e-newsletter in January), the office decided to reinstate the OIWA into Title 25.
The OLRC announced that it plans later this week or early next week to load the United States Code website with Chapter 45A containing the OIWA. The chapter will be available in print in the forthcoming Supplement IV to the 2012 main edition of the code.
A full list of the provisions scheduled for omission from Title 25 can be found at:
This update was prepared by R. Daniel Carter, a former Counsel for the Committee on Indian Affairs in the United States Senate, who practices and writes in the area of federal Indian law and policy.