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“ SEC. 8. The Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to withdraw from the Treasury of the l'nited States, at his discretion, the sum of $60,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary of the principal sum on deposit to the credit of the Chippewa Indians in the State of Minnesota, arising under section 7 of the act of January 14, 1889, entitled 'An act for the relief and civilization of the Chippewa Indians in the State of Minnesota,' and to use the same for promoting civilization and self-support among the said Indians in manner and for purposes provided for in said act: Provided, That not to exceed $5,000 of the above amount shall be used to aid the public schools in the (hippewa country: Prorided, That Indian children shall at all times be admitted to said schools on the same terms and conditions as white children.”
In the fall of 1920 it was claimed by the department that the appropriation for support and civilization had been reduced to too low a figure to permit of good administration. In December, 1920, and January, 1921, the then chairman of the subcommittee of the Budget (Committee having charge of the Indian appropriation bill insisted that the department should go into the question of appropriations with the officers of the general council and reach an agreement. The officers of the general council insisted that the appropriation from the trust funds should be divided and definite amounts appropriated for specific activities. The officers of the council reached a complete agreement with the department after going into the necessity for each appropriation, and the appropriation carried in the act approveil March 3, 1921, was for $100,000, $20,000 of which was for extraordinary work, namely, for the construction, equipment, and maintenance of additional public schools to be operated under the publicschool system of the State. The appropriation that year for aiding indigent Indians was increased by the council about $8,000 more than had previously been used. The appropriation for the hospitals was all that was asked by the department. Thus the regular appropriations this year for the Chippewas out of their principal fund are only $80,000.
The appropriation for the service next year requested by the department as shown by the Budget is $95.000, of which amount $20,000 is appropriated for the construction, equipment, and maintenance of additional public schools, which can not be used for that purpose unless provision is made whereby the necessary land upon which to c'onstruct the schoolhouses is conveyed to the State, the general council having asked for the inclusion of such a provision. The appropriation of $20,000 made last year could not be expended for the purpose for which it was appropriated. The department would never have sanctioned the employment of an attorney to bring about these reductions in its appropriations.
Thus the appropriations now being made for “support and civilization more than $100,000 less than when the council commenced operation. This saving of more than $100,000 per annum has not deprived any indigent Indian of any benefits he previously received. It has been in the interests of both the indigent Indian and the competent Indian. These services were of great value, and the result was accomplished after years of hard and industrious work. Under the agreement of 1889 the department had no authority to use a dollar of the trust funds of the Chippewa Indians for general agency purposes. The council has repeatedly endeavored to induce the department to refer the question to its own legal officers, which requests have been refused..
5. The charge that the general council and its attorney have endeavored to take from the Red Lake band property to which the members of that band were legally entitled is without foundation :
It was charged by Congressman Steenerson and by Congressman Knutson that the general council and its attorney had endeavored to take from the Red Lake Band a part of the property on the Red Lake Reservation, to which that band alone was entitled, for the benefit of all the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota. The charge was that this property legally belonged to the members of the Red Lake Band, and that the general council was attempting to take from them their property and confer it upon all the members of the Chippewa tribe. The statement is fallacious when the facts are inquired into. In Chippewa hearings before this committee, 1920, commencing at page 65, this matter is fully covered. The facts are succinctly stated under paragraph "2. The illegal disposition of the estate; subheading (c)” of this reply, to which reference is here made. The Red Lake Band has no shadow of title to the entire Red Lake Reservation, and when the matter goes to the court the courts will so hold.
6. The charge that the general council had provided in bills its attorney had drawn for exorbitant fees is without foundation :
Every bill prepared at the instance of the general council for suits to be prosecuted in the courts provided for contingent fees, not to exceed 10 per cent of the amount recovered or saved to the Indians, the amount of the fee to be fixed by the court after the work was done, but in no event to be in excess of 10 per cent. The fees provided for in the bills are the lowest fees provided for in any bill enacted by Congress in recent years where the work was to be done on a contingent basis. There is, therefore, no basis for this charge.
7. The charge that the general council and its attorney had taken but little part in the swamp-land controversy is unfounded :
In my investigation of the Chippewa situation I found that under date of November 19, 1913 (Chippewas of Minnesota hearings, 1920, pp. 89-90), the then Assistant Secretary, on the complaint of the Northern Minnesota Development Association, had issued an order suspending the issuance of further patents. The complaint was based upon the ground that the State was not complying with the conditions of the swamp-land act of September 28, 1850 (9 Stat., 519), as extended by the act of March 12, 1860 (12 Stat., 3), in that section 2 of the act expressly required " that the proceeds of said land, whether from sale or by direct appropriation in kind, shall be applied exclusively, as far as necessary, for the purpose of reclaiming said lands by means of said levies and drains aforesaid." There had been no suspension on the ground that the Indians were the owners. At the time of the suspension about 600,000 acres had been patented to the State. Mr. Meritt has produced two communications of the Indian Office to the Secretary written in 1906, protesting against the applications of the State for certain lands within the former Leech Lake Reservation, which was only one of eight reservations, but he has produced no protest by the Indian Bureau written at any time against the general patenting of the lands to the State. When the protests of the general council were filed with the department and the committees of Congress against the illegal patenting of these lands to the State in 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, and 1921, some of the officers of the Indian Bureau agreed with the contention of the council, but in the spring of 1921, when the State was about to obtain a rescission of the order of suspension and the balance of the lands applied for, the then Commissioner of Indian Affairs declined to join with the officers of the general council in their protest against the action requested by the State officers. It was not until the present Commissioner of Indian Affairs came into office that any of the Chippewa matters, including the swamp-land situation, received serious consideration calculated to produce results. Had it not been for the vigorous action taken by the council this swamp-land situation would in all human probability have never been brought to the front in time to recover from the State, and the result would have been that the United States would sooner or later have been called upon to reimburse the Indians for their losses.
8. Neither the general council nor its attorney were in any wise responsible for the timber and land frauds referred to by Congressman Steenerson. The State delegation in Congress and the Indian Bureau were primarily responsible for those frauds, if frauds existed or occurred :
Great land frauds were referred to by Congressman Steenerson. tlemen should understand the facts and the blame should be put on those responsible. By the act of June 21, 1906 (34 Stat. L., 353), all restrictions upon allotments of mixed-blood adult Indians allotted on the White Earth Reservation were removed. Congressman Steenerson was a Member of Congress when that act was passed. At that time there were no authentic rolls in existence showing the allottees who were mixed bloods and the allottees who were full bloods. The department and the members of the delegation who either advocated or permitted that bill to become a law should have known the condition and should have made provision for the classification of the Indians before the law became operative. The result was that after the passage of the law the purchaser bought on the strength of the affidavits of the Indians as to their status. After about 2,000 of the Indians or more had sold their lands, each Indian making an affidavit that he or she was a mixed blood, they later, and in some instances at the instance of Government employees who wanted to make jobs for themselves, made other affidavits that they were full bloods. On the strength of the latter affidavits the entire White Earth Reservation became a hotbed of litigation as the result of suits brought by the United States. Later on there was a classification of the Indians allotted on the White Earth Reservation, and that classification showed 156 of the about 7,000 Indians allotted on
the White Earth Reservation to be full bloods—that is, without any pronounced discernible trace of white or other admixed blood. That litigation went on for years, and many purchasers of Indian lands from mixed-blood allottees found it cheaper in the long run to settle with the Government than to fight the cases. This entire situation was produced by the failure of the Indian Bureau and the advocates of that legislation to provide for the classification of the Indians before the law became operative. If the general council had been in existence then this law would not have been enacted in the form in which it was.
Congressman Steenerson pointed out, from the hearings before the Graham investigation committee, that B. L. Fairbanks was the owner of approximately 20,000 acres of land in Mahnomen County. That represented 250 80-acre allotments purchased by him. After searching the records, with the aid of an attorney from the Department of Justice, he found where eight suits had been brought against B. L. Fairbanks, involving the purchase of eight allotments, and that B. L. Fairbanks made settlement with the Government, paying about $9,000 or $10,000. If out of all the 250 allotments purchased by B. L. Fairbanks the Government officers could only find eight cases where it was claimed there had been an inadequacy of consideration, I submit that B. L. Fairbanks must have dealt honestly with his Indian folks. It would have been a most remarkable coincidence if in the purchase of 250 tracts of Indian land some one, either the Indian after he had received his money, or the Government employees who were hunting for cases, had not found some cases in which it was claimed there had been an inadequacy of consideration.
The name of Theo. H. Beaulieu was also mentioned by Congressman Steenerson as one of those against whom suit had been brought. He could find only one case where a suit had been brought against Theo. H. Beaulieu. There a lack of consideration was claimed and settlement was made.
Reference was made to a hearing before the Graham committee wherein it appeared that Gus H. Beaulieu and B. L. Fairbanks had at one time been in the employ of one of the lumber companies. Ben Fairbanks and Gus H. Beaulieu started out in life without a dollar. In their younger days they had to seek employment where they could find it. The lumbering interests offered employment. But neither of these men, both of whom have passed over the great divide, and who can not now defend their good names, ever had any connection, directly or indirectly, with any lumber company after the organization of the general council, and it was Ben L. Fairbanks and Gus H. Beaulieu who insisted at all times that the lumber interests should make restitution to the Indians for the timber they had improperly obtained. No man stood higher in that country than did Ben L. Fairbanks. He was the one man to whom all Indians in distress turned, and he was the one man who always afforded them aid. Ben L. Fairbanks and Gus H. Beaulieu were honorable men and did much for the Chippewas. It was Gus H. Beaulieu back in 1906 who brought to light the Mille Lac situation which resulted in the Mille Lac Indians recovering approximately $800,000 from the United States for the taking of a part of the trust estate under conditions not dissimilar to the taking of the lands placed in the forest reserves, the lands handed over to the State of Minnesota mistakenly under the swamp-land donation act. Theo. H. Beaulieu is an honorable man and is an important factor in the affairs of that section of the country. He is a member of the Republican State Central Committee, and I understand is supporting another man for the seat now occupied by Congressman Steenerson. This probably accounts for the attack made upon him by Mr. Steenerson. If Congressman Steenerson had pursued his examination of the Graham investigation further he would have found on pages 1806–7 where Halvor Steenerson sought to obtain a valuable timber allotment of the Indian land by adoption into the tribe.
I know nothing of the facts, but it would appear that the same men who made the charges against Ben L. Fairbanks and Gus H. Beaulieu, to which he referred, made like charges against him appearing in the same report from which he read.
9. Correction of statement made to committee :
When I was before the committee I was asked whether in receipting for moneys received from the general council and paid through the Indian Bureau, the receipts were on account,” or were “in full.” When I went before the committee I did not expect to be called upon for a detailed accounting of accounts extending over seven and one-half years, the details of which were not fresh in my mind, but all of which were of record in the department. I had expected the accounting to occur when the matter reached the Secretary.
My answer to the question asked was that “the payments were on account.” That statement, I find upon inquiry, was slightly inaccurate. The payments were either on account or in full for certain specified services prior to 1919, representing a part only of the services rendered. After that time they were all on account. The resolutions of the general council as well as every account paid or filed are on file in the department, and the Secretary would, of course, scrutinize these accounts in passing upon the question of final settlement. No imposition could possibly occur.
10. The Red Lake Indians are paying their attorneys from the funds belonging to all the Chippewas of Minnesota :
As the result of the work of the general council, particularly in bringing to light the Red Lake situation, the department authorized the employment of an attorney by the Red Lake Band. The salary of that attorney is being paid from funds received from the sale of property on the Red Lake Reservation, which property belongs to all the Chippewa Indians in Minnesota. The Red Lake Indians are opposed to the payment of an attorney's fee for the attorney representing the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota. If the payment of the fee to their attorney was legal, it is legal to do what the bill now before the committee provides. It is not fair to allow one side to a controversy an attorney and deny the same privilege to the other side.
11. All of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota have been beneficiaries of the work done by the general council and its attorney :
All of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota would be benefited by the recovery of the swamp lands, by the abolishment of the forest reserves, and by all the work done by the general council, with one exception. The controversy between the general council and the Red Lake Band is a controversy between all the Chippewa Indians in Minnesota, except the Red Lake Band on the one side and the members of that band on the other. That relates solely to the ownership of the Red Lake Reservation. As to all other matters raised by the general council the Red Lakes would be beneficiaries to the same extent per capita as all the other Chippewa Indians in Minnesota. Therefore, the work of the general council has materially benefited the Red Lake Indians.
12. Misunderstanding with Congressman Knutson :
Congressman Harold Knutson of the sixth district of Minnesota charged me, when he was before the committee, with bad faith. The specific charge was that I went to him and represented that the Commissioner of Indian Affairs was in favor of the bill and that the commissioner would be glad to go down and put it through ; that before he could call up the Commissioner of Indian Affairs I left his office, and that when he called up the commissioner the commissioner stated that he had made no such statement. The facts are as follows: I went to Congressman Knutson's office, advised him that the bill was under consideration by the committee. I gave him a copy of the bill. I stated to him the substance of the report made by the department which left the decision of the matter to Congress. I did inform him that my information was that the commissioner was in favor of allowing me just compensation for my work, and that I had been advised by Frank D. Beaulieu, a member of the legislative committee of the general council, that the commissioner would come before the committee and advocate the bill, which was true. I further advised him that such was my understanding after a personal talk with the commissioner. I asked Mr. Knutson to see the commissioner and talk with him about the matter. Mr. Knutson told me to see him, Knutson, the following Monday morning. I then left his office. What I stated to him was true. From Mr. Knutson's statement the commissioner informed him that he was against the bill. I am firmly of the opinion that there must be some mistake as the commissioner knows from the records in the department that I did an immense amount of work, and, being a fair man I still believe I correctly stated his position when I told Mr. Knutson that the commissioner was in favor of allowing me just compensation, and that he would appear before the committee if called upon and I believed support the bill.
Neither the general council nor its attorney had anything to do with the timber frauds to which he refers, as they occurred years before the general council was organized, and it was to prevent the repetition of such frauds that the general council was organized. Those frauds were the direct result of immature legislation enacted without a proper 'understanding of the Indian situation. The then State delegation in Congress was responsible for that legislation, which occurred before Congressman Knutson came to Congress. No frauds have been perpetrated since the general council commenced to function. The only real
cause of grievance Mr: Knutson has against the general council is that the gen. eral council insists upon the pfoperty on the Red Lake Reservation being administered in conformity with the agreement of 1889. Mr. Knutson insists that all the property on that reservation shall go to the Red Lake Band, which would be a violation of the agreement. The Red Lake Band is in Mr. Knutson's district. If what he insists upon should be effectuated it would, in my judgment, lay the United States liable to the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota for property of the value of several million dollars. Even the department now admits that this claim must be referred to the courts for decision. If it had no solid foundation the department would not concede the necessity of referring the matter to the courts for decision.
Mr. MERITT. I understood you to state to the committee that H. R. 6872 left it within the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior as to the amount of money you would recover under this bill?
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir.
Mr. MERITT. Being under that impression I gave the committee my views on the bill and stated that it was left largely to the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, because of the language contained in the bill, reading as follows: “Said accounts to be first approved by the president and secretary of said General Council and certified to the Secretary of the Interior for approval, and when approved by him to be paid.”
I suppose is a fair interpretation of the bill that it would leave the dis. cretion in the Secretary of the Interior. But I would like to invite attention of the committee that that is the language contained in the item appropriating $10,000 for the Chippewa council.
Mr. BALLINGER. No.
Mr. MERITT. And we interpreted that language to mean that we had a discretion in passing on these accounts, but when the accounts went to the Treasury Department, notwithstanding our disapproval of the accounts of Mr. Webster Ballinger, the Treasury Department paid those accounts. I think that inasmuch as Mr. Steenerson took a different view of the interpretation of this bill from the way we interpret it that we ought to get that matter cleared up before the committee so that there can be no misunderstanding.
Mr. BURTNESS. That can be very easily done, and if we decide to report it out I shall move an amendment to add the words, “In the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior.”
STATEMENT OF HON. HAROLD KNUTSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA.
Mr. KNUTSON. I would like to make a brief statement. In the first place, this bill is introduced by Mr. Davis of Minnesota, who lives 300 miles from the Indian country. There are other Members of Congress who have Chippewa Indians in their districts—Steenerson, Larson, and myself. I have always made it a practice since coming to Congress to allow every Member to look after his own district. I think it is a good practice. It has been in vogue since the establishment of the Republic. I think it is a bad precedent for outsiders to introduce bills on a subject of which they know little or nothing. The preceding speaker made some very disparaging remarks about Mr. Coffey. Mr. Coffey has been coming to my office for five years. He has never yet deceived me, and I can not say as much for Mr. Ballinger. I do not think that people who live in glass houses should throw stones. Why, the other day Mr. Ballinger came to me and assured me that this bill had the approval of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and that he had stated to him that he would be glad to go down and put it through. So I instructed my secretary to call Mr. Burke, and while he was calling Mr. Burke on the phone Mr. Ballinger had left. Mr. Burke said he had made no such statement.
I am not prepared to go into the merits of this measure, but I believe in taking it up for consideration that the veracity of the claimant should be taken into consideration. If the committee finds that Mr. Ballinger is entitled to certain compensation for services rendered—I do not know just what the services consist of—then it is all right. But I do not think that the Red Lake Indians, whose land he is trying to steal away from them, should be compelled to pay a part of this attorney's fee, and I am going to protest against assessing