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Mr. STEENERSON. Entirely.
The CHAIRMAN. And are opposed to Mr. Ballinger receiving any compensation in addition to what he has received ?
Mr. STEENERSON. Unless he goes through the regular proceeding that Mr. Henderson did, and is employed under the general statutes and his «contract approved.
The CHAIRMAN. I just want to bring it to a conclusion.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to ask a question while it is in my mind. It is my understanding you said that Mr. Ballinger had done the Indians he had been working for more harm than good ?
Mr. STEENERSON, I believe so.
Mr. STEENERSON. The value of his services depends on whether he served the interests he represented or whether he served people who did not need any help. If he worked in the interest of the White Earth faction, it was in hostility to the Chippewas as a whole.
In regard to his efforts as to the Red Lake Reservation, he claimed that 85,000 Indians were interested in us against 1,500 Red Lakes. The Red Lakers had over 3,000,000 acres of land when the made the treaty of 1889 and the other Indians, combined, only had about 500,000; they gave into the common pool for enlargement six or eight times as much.
Mr. JEFFERIS. The Red Lakers?
Mr. STEENERSON. The. Red Lakers, when they made the treaty. The act assigned commissioners to negotiate for the relinquishment of the land of these different bands. They did relinquish all except what they did not describe, about six or seven hundred thousand acres in the center, that had been described by metes and bounds, but all of this actually ceded, described in this document that I have here-beginning at a certain point and going in such and such a direction, nothing except what they did cede—the balance is not described. The contention out there from time immemorial has been that this large reservation included four or five million acres. My own town of Crookston, in the Red River Valley, was included in the original Red Lake Reservation. The reservation extended clear to Devils Lake, in North Dakota. The United States acquired title from the Red Lake, and nobody has ever questioned it until Mr. Ballinger brought forth his new theory. The act said that the commission shall negotiate with the different bands and tribes of Indians in Minnesota. They acquired a cession of all the reservations except the Red Lake and White Earth and so much of that reservation as is not needed for allotment. They reserved seven or eight hundred thousand acres out of three or four million.
Mr. JEFFERIS. That is, on the Red Lake?
Mr. STEENERSON. Yes, sir. This commission was a quasi judicial body created by the act, and they decided that the balance that they did not describe was not needed. They made a report to President Harrison, and Mr. Harrison transmitted it to Congress, and in this report the commissioners said that it may be contended that this diminished reservation is more than the Red Lakers need, but it should be borne in mind that it is a worthless instrument, and therefore it will eventually be only for the Red Lakers. They never signed an instrument to convey that land. That land was a part of the original reservation, and by means of occupancy from time immemorial it belongs to the occupants and they can not be deprived of their title, under the Supreme Court decision, without compensation.
The CHAIRMAN. As soon as we can, Mr. Steenerson, we ought to conclude these hearings.
Mr. STEENERSON. I have represented these Indians in Congress for nearly 20 years, and I never knew of this controversy until the Chippewa General Council brought it up-a stale claim that nobody ever heard of. They have owned these 2,500,000 acres, using probably 25,000,000 feet of pine that were sold years ago. "They got their share of the 2,500,000 acres. That was put into a common fund. That is where they got the $6,000,000 in the Treasury. In 1902 the Government sent an agent, Maj. McLaughlin, to negotiate with the Red Lakers, and not anybody else, for the 265,000 acres on the west border
of the Chippewa Reservation which had never been conveyed to the Government. They signed an agreement whereby that land was ceded
Mr. JEFFERIS (interposing). Two hundred and sixty-five thousand acres.
Mr. STEENERSON. Yes, sir; there was about $1,000,000 in the agreement. When they came to pass the act the Appropriations Committee would not report it without an amendment that it should be sold at the highest market price, subject to the homestead law, and it was sold for upward of $4 an acre. They have no complaint and they have been satisfied ever since.
Mr. JEFFERIS. That leaves for the Red Lakers land that has not been ceded to what extent?
Mr. STEENERSON. That leaves them about half a million acres, but largely swamp, and we have lately created a drainage district and spent perhaps $3 an acre to make it suitable. They could not farm it without that improvement. Mr. Ballinger set up a claim that they did not own this land; that is, it belongs to the United States; it has never been reliquished by the United States.
Mr. JEFFERIS. He set up the claim that the Chippewas owned it?
Mr. STEENERSON. One of the bills provided that if he was successful he was to have 10 per cent, making two or three hundred thousand dollars. It is not a very abstruse question, what the law meant.
When the act of 1902 was passed, in view of the contract with Mr. McLaughlin, the United States signed a contract as a consideration of ceding the 265.000 acres the Chippewa Indians shall hereafter own the remainder of the reservation free and clear and separate and apart from all other Indians. That is conclusive; no court would reverse it. Subsequently Senator Nelson endeavored to create a forest reserve of the Red Lake Reservation so as not to have these beautiful groves cut up and sold, but to preserve them for the use of the Indians. Senator Nelson was very anxious about it, and it was considered at great length before the committee. Congress passed it. In that act Congress again repeated the statement that the Red Lake Reservation should belong to the Red Lake Indians, separate and apart from all other Indians. The reason for that is that they had already given several times more to the common fund than the others. Some came from beyond Lake Superior originally and some from small lakes. They had all their alJotments. These men who have conveyed their reservations go the money and then they shared in the receipts millions of dollars which originally belonged to the Red Lakers.
The contention of Mr. Ballinger is that there is more land in the diminished l'eservation than is required for allotment, and one of the bills provides for homesteading on these timber lands. Some are probably worth $15,000 and any man lucky enough to draw that allotment would have an allotment to make him independently rich. The department, as I understand, has authority to allot these lands, but they have refused because of the inequitable result that would follow. Also, that these lands are unfit for agriculture until you get them drạined. That has been one of the works that I have labored in, for several years. They have just started to drain these lands because it involves assessment against the white man's land as well as against the Indian's land.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you going to conclude now?
The CHAIRMAN. That is right; we wanted to hear you. We have asked you some very pertinent questions.
Mr. STEENERSON. Nearly all of the Indians that are affected by the activities of the general council are in my district and they have taken a hostile attitude toward my position here for years. The Indians on the Red Lake Reservation in my district number, perhaps, 10 to 12 per cent of the 1,400, whereas the balance of them live in Mr. Knutson's district. Some people might say that I was influenced by political reasons, but if that were so I would take the other side. The inevitable result of the policy advocated by Mr. Ballinger would be to ruin their forest reserve and ruin their future. The Chippewas are forest Indians. They must preserve their necessary timber areas to prosper.
Mr. JEFFERIS. Are the Red Lake Indians now living in this diminished reservation citizens?
Mr. STEENERSON. They are not citizens and have never been allotted land. They can not vote. The men I am working for have no vote.
Mr. JEFFERIS. The men in this general council are largely citizens?
JEFFER. But thered akershave anybody to okut for them
I made a mistake in read ng this letter, which I would like to correct. The CRMAX Certainly MSTEEMERX Merittande etter which he wrote in respons to mine in regard to items relating to Gus Beaulieu. That is what I asked for. When I read this letter I inadvertently said Gus Beaulieu. The item in this letter is $539, Theodore H. Beaulieu. I want to correct that. I noticed in the hurry that there was one Beaulieu, but I did not notice the other. Gus Beaulieu had nothing to do with this item. That can be scratched out. I should like to read the authority here.
CRMroceed, Mršteners. Mr. STEENERSON (reading): “That the President of the United States is hereby authorized and directed, within 60 days after the passage of this act, to designate and appoint three commiss'oners, one of whom shall be a citizen of Minnesota, whose luty it shall be, as soon as practicable after their appointment to negotiate with all the different bands or tribes of Crippewa Indians in the State of Minnesota for the complete cession and relinquishment in Writing of all their title and interest in and to all the reservations of said Indians in the State of Minnesota, except the White Earth and Red Lake Reservations, and to all and so much of these two reservations as in the judgment of said commissioners is not require:l to make and fill the allotments required by this and existing acts."
The contention is that these commissioners were made a sort of quasi judicial body by this act and when they examined into the circumstances they decided that these 600,000 or 700,000 acres would be required in the allotment of the Red Lake In:lians and the other 2,500,000 acres should be described and ceded, the proceeds to go into the common fund, and that the remainder which the commissioners here decided was necessary for the allotment, although they say in their report
Mr. JEFFERIS (interposing) Not necessary?
Mr. STEENERSON. They ceded what was unnecessary and so the negative is the other way. They retained the lan:l that was necessary for making allotments as provided in the law. The commissioners decided how much was necessary and they said in their report that the area was large, but on account of the swampy land it would be unfit, there was no land suitable enough for agriculture to allot without including the 700,000 acres. There has never been a scratch of the pen in regard to the 700,000 acres except the 265,000. All of the rest remained without a scratch of the pen. Therefore, Congress can not take it away; even if it passe) an act, we can not give it to these other Indians because of the aboriginal title, the possessory title, you can not take the Indians' property without an agreement. They have never made an agreement and you can not compel them, but whatever happens they will own that until they wipe out the Indians' title, which they have not done. The Red Lakers have always been in exclusive possession of the tract. The other bands never occupied a foot of it.
Mr. JEFFERIS. That is what Mr. Ballinger has been trying to get?
Mr. STEENERSON. He has been instrumental in getting bills introduced to sell it, to sell what are surplus lands on the Red Lake Reservation for the benefit of all the Indians. That is about my recollection of this matter.
The following is an extract from the report of the Secretary of the Interior, transmitting the report of the Chippewa Commission in regard to the cessions of land under the act of January 14, 1889 (Nelson Act Executive Document 247, Fifty-first Congress, first session).
• The Red Lake Reservation, two-thirds of which at least is ceded to the United States, contains 3,200,000 acres, and the number of Indians occupying it is 1,168. The boundaries of the diminished reservation, from which allotments
to the Red Lake Chippewas are to be made, are given in the report. The commissioners report that
". This reservation is larger than will eventually be required, but as there are swamps and other untillable lands therein, it can not be reduced until after survey and allotments shall be made.'
* Whether the surplus lands that may remain after allotments shall have been completed as required by the law can be disposed of without further legislation is a question which will require consideration, but such consideration is not necessary at this time."
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D. C., January 18, 1922. Hon. HALVOR STEENERSON,
House of Representatives, W’ashington, D. C. SIR: Şupplementary to my letter of the 16th instant, I have to inform you that the following lumber companies have paid the total amount set opposite their names, in settlement of claims made against them by the Government, on behalf of White Earth Indians, for timber purchased from the Indians at an insufficient consideration : Nichol-Chisolm Lumber Co
$75, 176. 20 Carpenter Lumber Co.-
15, 737.08 Park Rapids Lumber Co-
24, 628. 38 Respectfully,
W. D. RITER,
Assistant Attorney General. The CHAIRMAN. We thank you.
Mr. Henderson desires to make a short statement, correcting a statement that he made Monday.
STATEMENT OF MR. D. B. HENDERSON.
Mr. HENDERSON. Mr. Chairman, when asked on Monday how many of the individual Indians I represented in the White Earth enrollment case, I replied all but one. I should have added that in representing a part of these 85 persons I am associated with another lawyer, Mr. W. B. Carman, a prominent lawyer of Detroit, Minn., who gave a great deal of time to the case. Mr. R. J. Powell, a very prominent lawyer of Minneapolis, was first interested in the case and represented, I think, perhaps 8 or 10 of them and, afterwards, Mr. Powell's cases came to me. Associated with me in practically all of the cases I had Mr. William P. Carman, of Detroit, Minn.
My statement was correct, but it was not complete.
STATEMENT OF MR. JAMES I. COFFEY.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you desire to be heard on this matter?
Mr. COFFEY. Yes, sir. I represent the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota-85 per cent of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota or more.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that the regularly constituted council which you represent?
Mr. COFFEY. I represent the council, the incorporated general council, incorporated under the laws of the State of Minnesota.
Mr. GENSMAN. I thought Mr. Ballinger represented them?
The CHAIRMAN. Then we have three propositions. We have a delegation that bolted the convention, then we have the regularly constituted counc l, and then we have Mr. Coffey here, claiming to represent 85 per cent of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota. You can proceed to make your statement, Mr. Coffey, and we will see whether we want to receive your brief or not.
Mr. COFFEY. I understand that this hearing is to consider a claim that is made by Mr. Ballinger of $20,500.
The CHAIRMAN. That is immaterial.
Mr. COFFEY. Toʻbe taken from the tribal funds of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota. We claim that we do not owe Mr. Ballinger anything. We claim that Mr. Ballinger has rendered no service for the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota. I was the man who first put Mr. Ballinger in contact with the
tribe on March 10, 1917. I was here in Washington as a delegate. Mr. Ballinger came to me at that time and said that Congress had made an appropriation, through a joint resolution, of about $150,000 or $160,000 of the Chippewas' money, that Congress had no authority to do that, and that the Indian Office could be prevented from expending that money. I said that we were in favor of preventing the expenditure of that money or any other money in the way our money had been expended theretofore; that I had no authority to engage anybody or any attorney; that I was here alone, representing the entire tribe. I saw and believed that what Mr. Ballinger was telling me was along the line of what we had believed before. I told him this : If you will take action to prevent the Indian Bureau from spending that money, you can go ahead, and I will submit the matter to the general council when I get home, and I think they will sustain me. They did agree to that. Through that agreement I submitted the matter to the general council, and they authorized it.
The CHAIRMAN. You say that was in April, 1917?
The CHAIRMAN. Was not Mr. Ballinger employed before that by some of the Chippewas?
Mr. COFFEY. Not that I know of; by individuals, perhaps.
The CHAIRMAN. This is an additional council to the one Mr. Ballinger represents ?
Mr. COFFEY. We do not recognize that.
The CHAIRMAN. It has been stated here that they had a regularly called convention in 1918, that the full bloods withdrew from that convention, and those who remained elected a council that is now running the business, at least that of the White Earth and Chippewas; is that correct, that the full bloods bolted the convention?
Mr. COFFEY. No, sir ; they did not.
The CHAIRMAN. It has been stated that 60 per cent of the Indians elected and selected that council. What do you say as to that?
Mr. COFFEY. You have not the correct information on that.
The CHAIRMAN. We got that information from the assistant commissioner here.
Mr. COFFEY. I will explain how these two councils arose. In 1917 I came here as a legislative committeeman with three or four others.
We were instructed by resolution of the general council. There was one general council at that time, and all our acts were controlled by this resolution. We had no authority to do anything except what was contained in that resolution. I came down here with the other members. We went to the office of the commissioner. The commissioner asked us to submit a statement of our mission here, what we came for, within a certain time. So we organized the legislative committeewe were stopping at one of the hotels-and appointed a chairman and secretary.
The CHAIRMAN. Who appointed the chairman and secretary?
The CHAIRMAN. Are not some of those men now representing the regular Chippewa Council?
Mr. COFFEY. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I am trying to ascertain where you got your authority, these men you call “we,” to constitute yourselves a committee to select a secretary and chairman of your delegation here in Washington.
Mr. COFFEY. We got our authority during that time; our authority all came from the same source. Mr. JEFFERIS. There was only one council in 1917? Mr. COFFEY. At that time. Mr. JEFFERIS. None of these others had sprung up? Mr. COFFEY. None of them.
The CHAIRMAN. You were here, as I understand, the men you call “we,” representing the only general council that you had in 1917?
Mr. COFFEY. Yes, sir. I expected that we were going to go on with our work and formulate our papers and submit them to the commissioner. I waited some