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HOMER P. SNYDER, New York, Chairman. PHILIP B. CAMPBELL, Kansas.
CARL HAYDEN, Arizona. ROYAL C. JOHNSON, South Dakota.
WILLIAM J. SEARS, Florida. FREDERICK W. DALLINGER, Massachusetts. ZEBULON WEAVER, North Carolina. ALBERT W. JEFFERIS, Nebraska.
F. B. SWANK, Oklahoma. R. CLINT COLE, Ohio.
ROSS A. COLLINS, Mississippi. JOHN REBER, Pennsylvania.
HAMPTON P. FULMER, South Carolina. ALICE M. ROBERTSON, Oklahoma.
MORGAN G. SANDERS, Texas.
H. E. DEVENDORF, Clerk.
CLAIMS AGAINST CERTAIN CHIPPEWA BANDS.
COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Thursday, January 12, 1922. The CHAIRMAN. The committee this day met, Hon. Homer P. Snyder (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. The matter before us is H. R. 6872, a bill by Mr. Davis of Minnesota.
On this bill I have a report from the Interior Department dated January 7, 1922. I will ask Mr. Meritt to read that and it can be put into the record later. Mr. MERITT. Yes, sir. [Reading:]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, January , 1922. Hon. HOMER P. SNYDER,
Chairman Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. SNYDER: I have your letter of November 17 requesting a report on H. R. 6872, a bill to defray expenses of litigation and proceedings instituted by direction of the General Council of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota.
The purpose of the bill is to pay the attorney for services and expenses alleged to have been rendered at the instance of the general council of the said Chippewa Indians of Minnesota. The only attorney that has filed any claini in this department against the Chippewa Indians is Mr. Webster Ballinger, of Washington, D. C.
Mr. Ballinger has asserted that he has represented the Chippewa Indians for a number of years in matters before the department and committees of Congress and that there is a balance due him, for services and expenses, of the amount stated in the pending bill. Not having any approved contract, this account has not been paid. He has, however, during a period of years assumed to represent these Indians, and has been quite active in matters in which they are concerned with the Indian Bureau and the department.
At present there is a division in the tribe of the Chippewa Indians; they are divided into two distinct factions. One protests and objects to any moneys being expended on account of the other. The department refuses to recognize any expenses incurred by either faction. Mr. Ballinger represents that the services rendered and expenses incurred for which he is seeking payment were mostly before the present factional differences existed.
For the reasons stated, I am unable to recommend the enactment of H. R. 6872, though, if the Congress finds that the services of Mr. Ballinger have been legally rendered and that he has not been fully compensated and should see fit to authorize an expenditure of the funds of the Chippewa Indians for the purposes of paying him, I shall offer no objection thereto. Sincerely,
E. C. FINNEY, Acting Secretary.
STATEMENT OF MR. WEBSTER BALLINGER, ATTORNEY, WASH
INGTON, D, C.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ballinger is here and I think we should give him a few moments, say 10 minutes, to tell us what there is on this claim, and what the claim is, and how much there is involved in the proposition. If agreeable to the committee he may proceed now.
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a matter you are deeply interested in and if you have not time enough now we will give you more time later.
Mr. BALLINGER. I am deeply interested in this matter for it represents not only the compensation that I may receive for 8 or 10 years of servce to these people, but this $21,000 represents in part money actually paid out of my pocket in defraying the expenses of the matters that I have handled for these Indians.
I want to call your attention to the fact that the bill now before you does nothing more than to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to investigate this matter and to approve an account for such an amount as he may deem proper. That is the plain effect of the bill. Now, that being the case and the committees of Congress not having time to inquire into the matter, it is necessary that the matter should be referred to some individual or tribunal that may go fully into it and do even-handed justice. That is all that I ask. I would not take from those Indians one penny that I am not honestly entitled to. Now, gentlemen of the committee, the report submitted by the department is a little ambiguous to me. It is necessary for me to state the facts so that you gentlemen may arrive at your own conclusions.
In 1889 the United States entered into an agreement with the Chippewa Indians by which Indian allotments were to be made to all of the members of the tribe, and the residue of the property was conveyed to the United States in trust and that trust was an expressed trust. It provided that the land should be classified into pine lands and into agricultural lands. No other classification was authorized. The pine lands were to be appraised and the timber and the lands sold at not less than the appraised value, but at public auction for as much as they would bring. The agricultural land was to be disposed of under the homestead law of the United States at $1.25 per acre. In the administration of that estate the Indians found that they were receiving but little. The property was being disposed of, but the Indians were receiving but little. In 1913—that was 24 years after the agreement of 1889—the Indians, for their own protection, got together and organized a volunteer association known as the General Council of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota, adopted a constitution and by-laws. When their representatives first came to Washington they got no information, even with the aid of the Representatives from that State. Congressman C. B. Miller, who passed away the other day, and who was one of the dearest and most devoted friends of these Indians, made repeated attempts to obtain information with reference to the condition of their affairs from the department, but without success, and the hearings before this committee in past years will show his repeated and his constant demands upon the department made before the committee for information. The Indians found themselves helpless without the aid and assistance of some man who could go into the entire matter and get at the facts. They came to me in the winter of 1913–14. At that time a proceeding had been instituted at the instance of a man by the name of Burch, a Government employee, who had gone out there, the logical result of which would have been a dismemberment of the tribal rolls. It was an attack upon 89 members of the tribe and that was to be followed by other lists embracing a thousand or two thousand additional names. That proceeding had been running for a number of years. Large volumes of testimony were taken in it and these Indians came to me and asked my advice. I told them I did not care to handle the matter, that I had had some experience in Indian matters and I had been unable to obtain my compensation except after years of effort. I knew some of the men personally and they were among the respectable men of the State of Minnesota ; some of them stood as high in their localities as any man within the State of Minnesota. They appealed to me and assured me that if I would assist them that they would in turn ultimately secure my compensation from trust funds. They asked me to fix a price and I told them that I would not do it, that when the work was done and the value of the services was known then we could agree upon it.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you state right there who those men were who came to you and asked you to do this?
Mr. BALLINGER. One of them was Gus. H. Beaulieu, a representative of the general council, and another was B. L. Fairbanks, a representative of the general council, and other representatives who were here.
The CHAIRMAN. Were they regularly elected members of the council?
Mr. BALLINGER. They were; and not only that, but regularly recognized as delegates by the department and committees of Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. They were delegated at that time to come to see you with regard to that matter?
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir. Upon their authorization I went into that case, The department had had it for a number of years, had taken a large volume of