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testimony, and then referred it to the Court of Claims for hearing and decision. I looked into the matter and filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, on the ground that neither the department nor the court had jurisdiction of the subject matter nor power to do the things they were attempting to do. Lined up on the opposite side when that case came to hearing was quite an array of governmental and other attorneys. After hearing on the jurisdictional question the court sustained my motion and dismissed their bill.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Was that upon the distribution of this land?
Mr. BALLINGER. That was with reference to the rights of 89 enrolled Indians. They had already received their allotments. They had been in possession of their property for twenty and odd years, and this was an attempt to strike them froin the rolls under some pretext that their ancestors away back under the treaty of 1854 had received half-blood scrip. A rereference was made by the department of the matter to the Court of Claims, and I renewed my motion to that reference and the court again sustained it. The matter was again taken back to the department, where I again renewed my motion and the department sustained it. I want to say, in common fairness to the Indian Bureau, that I do not think the Indian Bureau ever had any sympathy with that movement. 'The effect of it would have been, if that complaint had been sustained, to have probably gone back and struck from the rolls the names of several thousand Indians who had been recognized as members of the tribe since their birth, who had been born into the tribe as members, and who had received their allotments and been in possession of their allotments for twenty and odd years.
These gentlemen came to me after that and said, “ Now, will you not go into our affairs, give us a statement of the condition of our estate?” I told them that that involved an immense amount of work, and they appealed to me on the ground that they were helpless. Our property is going; we can do nothing," they informed me. “We have got to have your assistance, and we assure you that we will obtain for you compensation."
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Who made that representation?
Mr. BALLINGER. The same individuals as heretofore and some additional who took the places of those previously here, and all duly accredited representatives of the Chippewa Tribe recognized by the department and the committees of Congress as such. Now, gentlemen, I then started in to make an examination. It is one of the biggest things that I have ever done in my life. When I had finished with that investigation I reported the results to them and the reports with their complaints were filed with the department, the first document being here [exhibiting document to committee] together with the answers of the department. Here is what I found and it is impossible to go into detail, but I will only touch a few of the high spots. I found that over 600,000 acres, much of it containing valuable stands of timber, as fine stands as could be found within the State of Minnesota, had been patented to the State of Minnesota supposedly or mistakedly under the general swamp-land donation act.
Mr. McCORMICK. How many acres?
Mr. BALLINGER. Over 600,000 acres. I found that the State had applications pending for approximately some three or four hundred thousand additional acres, roughly speaking. I went into that matter exhaustively and I might say that as a result of the repeated efforts, at least, the result in part of repeated efforts that I have made as their representative since then, the present Indian Commissioner has recommended the instiution of a suit against the State of Minnesota for the recovery of so much of that land as has not been disposed of, for the recovery of the proceeds received from the lands that have been sold, and for the cancellation of all existing applications.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Why limit it to that which has not been disposed of?
Mr. BALLINGER. Because, Congressmen, some of that land has been sold by the State to private individuals. It has passed down through a chain of title and it would unsettle conditions frightfully if an attempt was made to recover back the particular land.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. But they do seek the recovery of the proceeds of it?
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir. The proceeds. That suit when instituted can not only be maintained but it will recover back for these Indians somewhere from $6,000,000 to $12,000,000, and at the same time cut off a claim for a like amount against the United States. In that alone I feel that I have performed not only a valuable service to the Indians but a patriotic duty to my Government.
Mr. MERITT. You will be fair enough to state that the Indian Bureau for the last 15 years has been contending for that for the Indians and has been fighting for that and are still fighting for it.
Mr. BALLINGER. I want to be eminently fair to the Indian Bureau. My information is that the Indian Bureau took the same position that I had arrived at, but Mr. Commissioner, while that has been going on I failed to find a single protest from the Indian Bureau upstairs against the consummation of the transaction. I did not find it.
Mr. MERITT. That is the position of the Indian Bureau for the last 15 years.
Mr. BALLINGER. If that is the position they went on issuing patents while that was the position of the Indian Bureau just the same, as I found no protest against their issuance nor did I find anything of record with reference to the position of the Indian Bureau.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you a question or two?
The CHAIRMAN. On account of all this work you have done, what have you actually turned in to the Indians as the result of that service? I am not speaking now of what you contemplate turning in, but what has been turned in of value to them for your services up to the present time?
Mr. BALLINGER. Mr. Chairman-
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes; I understand the question. May I go a step further before answering it?
The CHAIRMAN. Answer it whenever you please. I want that question answered and then I will ask another one.
Mr. BALLINGER. I found also, gentlemen, a large area of their land had been included in forest reserves; one forest reserve created contained approximátely 500,000 acres of land. I found that compensation had been rendered for 90 per cent of the timber cut and no compensation had been rendered for 10 per cent of the timber that was left standing. I found that the Indians were entitled under the agreement to the market value of that land, not less than the appraised value, but that it was to be taken by the Government at $1.25 per acre, which was only a fractional part of what that land was actually worth. I found other reservations in operation in that country-I mean Indian reservations—that had been abolished by law in 1889, because in 1889 all reservations among the Chippewas except the White Earth and Red Lake Reservations were abolished, and I found on these reservations, being maintained without authority of law, agencies with all expenses of administration paid out of the Indian funds.
I am not going into detail any more than is necessary with reference to what I found. For instance, I found thousands of accounts of moneys that under the law the department was directed to pay directly to the Indians which had been withheld and those thousands of accounts in those various agencies necessitated the employment of a large number of bookkeepers and accountants. I have here--I happened to find in my office as I came out—a check for 3 cents drawn in favor of one Indian in settlement of his account, and there were many accounts of that kind for a few cents. I found that although that money was being improperly withheld and the Indians entitled to it under the law, that when the Indians wanted $10, $15, or $25 they had to make application and the officers then investigated the necessity of the Indian applying, and that the investigation in many instances cost more than the amount the Indian got. I took that matter up, brought the matter to the attention of the department, and with the assistance of Mr. Meritt he issued an order directing the disbursement of those funds. That order put into the hands of the Indians the moneys they were lawfully entitled to and cut off a heavy expense.
The CHAIRMAN. An expense to whom?
Mr. BALLINGER. To the Indians. I found also a very unsatisfactory condition in their schools.
Mr. Roach. Was it through your efforts that this order was made for the payment of these accounts ?
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir. Mr. Meritt is here. I am the only man, with the members of the council who were present here, that brought those accounts to his attention, and you will also find their protests in the hearings before the committees.
Mr. Roach. Just one further question to keep this clear in my mind as you go along. Do you contend that it was the results of your efforts and investigation that this suit was filed to recover the title of this land in Minnesota ?
Mr. BALLINGER. No suit has yet been filed, but one has been recommended to be brought. I do not think that there would ever have been anything done. I do not believe the matter would have ever come to suit if it had not been for my efforts and the efforts of this general council. Their representatives have been here year after year in the wintertime and that is one of the things they have been insistent upon year after year, and the present commissioner, who came in under this administration, is the first man who has actively gone behind it that I know of. Mr. Meritt has always sympathized with that and approved it, but Mr. Meritt has not at all times been the head of that office.
I found that large areas of their lands had been taken under the drainage laws of the State of Minnesota under a law passed by Congress. The Indians received only incidental benefits, the drainage districts of Minnesota being the primary beneficiaries. I found that very large quantities of their pine lands that had been cut over instead of being sold at the market price as their agreement provided for had been disposed of at $1.25 per acre under the homestead laws, resulting in heavy losses.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Was there any evidence that that went to the lumber interests?
Mr. BALLINGER. Congressman, that is one of the troubles that the Chippewa Indians are having and have had for years. The lumber interests do not want any inquiry into past conditions.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Did that crop out?
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir. I found also, but that was known before, because it was shown by the reports of the committees of Congress and also by the reports of the special agents of the department-I have one of them here that in the appraisal of that timber,
The CHAIRMAN. Put that in here—the number of it.
That report shows that the timber estimators underestimated the timber. Until 1902 the Indians received practically nothing from their timber, which resulted almost in war in that country. There was an insurrection. The result was that investigations were made by Congress and by the department, and the law was changed with reference to the appraisal. Two of the timber inspectors or estimators up in that country committed suicide to avoid impending exposure and prosecution. The Indians lost, conservatively, several millions of dollars by that undervaluation, of which the timber companies were the sole beneficiaries except what the appraisers got out of it.
Mr. MERITT. Did you state the date of that report?
Mr. BALLINGER. I just gave the number, Senate Document 85, by J. George Wright.
Mr. MERITT. The report is dated March 3, 1897.
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes; I said that I found these reports. I found where the property was disposed of in other and various ways to the loss and injury of the Indians. I found acts of Congress which are clearly in violation of the agreement, the terms and the conditions under which the Indians had passed this property to the United States, disposing of the property in other and different ways to their loss and injury. That is all set out in reports that I made. I have here a copy of The Tomahawk, an Indian paper, which contains one of the petitions filed with the Secretary of the Interior.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. What is the date?
Mr. BALLINGER. April 24, 1919. As I progressed with the work, which is shown by the files of the department, each separate subject covered in the omnibus complaints previously filed was su emented separate briefs elaborating upon each one of the particular matters so as to bring each matter more fully to the attention of the department.
The CHAIRMAN. What would be the expense of publishing that petition on such a scale as you have shown us in the paper before you and who paid for it?
Mr. BALLINGER. The general council-that is, the individual members of the general council, in order that their people might know exactly what they were doing, paid for the printing of it. I did not. But I want to tell you, gentlemen, that the preparation of that document cost me, not including my own time, probably $1,500.
The CHAIRMAN. Right at this point the committee will recess until 10.30 o'clock to-morrow morning. It is now 12 o'clock.
(Thereupon, at 12 o'clock noon, the committee recessed until 10.30 o'clock a. m. Friday, January 13, 1922.)
COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS,
Friday, January 13, 1922. The committee this day met, Hon. Homer P. Snyder (chairman) presiding. STATEMENT OF MR. WEBSTER BALLINGER, ATTORNEY, WASH
INGTON, D. C.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. I said to Mr. Ballinger last night that this matter has been before this committee so long that it is time for a decision, and we want to hear his side of the case.
Mr. SWANK. What claim is that?
The CHAIRMAN. It is a claim of his own against the Chippewa Indians, and we had the opening hearing on it yesterday. He has gotten along some distance in his remarks, and I am anxious to find out, as I presume other members of the committee are, just what he has in the way of a claim. He has done a lot of work. I wish to find out how much he has had for it. We will find out those things as we go along.
Mr. BALLINGER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I desire to refer to just a few additional things that I found during my investigation relating to conditions among the Chippewas of Minnesota. I found that under the agreement of 1889 the Indians of the Red Lake Reservation were to have been immediately allotted—that is, as soon as the surveys were completed— and the residue of the lands was to have passed, under the terms of the trust, to the United States and by it disposed of according to the terms of the trust and the net proceeds placed in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of all the Chippewa Indians in the State of Minnesota. The provision of law with reference to that is found in section 1 and section 7 of the act of January 14, 1889, 25 Stat., page 642.
I found that under laws enacted by Congress upon the recommendation of the department attempts have been made to confer the exclusive ownership of all of the lands within the Red Lake Reservation after the allotments have been made upon about 1,200 members of the Red Lake Band, to the exclusion of all the other Chippewas of Minnesota. There are about 12,000 members of the Chippewa Tribe. I found that not an allotment had been made, and the reservation was being held and conducted as it was in 1889. Some 33 years have now passed and not an allotment has been made on that reservation.
The CHAIRMAN. There has not been an allotment made up to this time?
Mr. BALLINGER. Not an allotment. Those Indians still remain there in their former condition.
The CHAIRMAN. Just what has your effort accomplished in bringing about the allotment of this property?
Mr. BALLINGER. It has not accomplished anything up to the present time toward allotments, although the department is now working on a schemea bill that will be submitted to Congress, that will provide, as I understand, for immediate allotments to those Indians,
The CHAIRMAN. I do not wish to break into your argument, but you recall that about a year ago we then had an intensive investigation and made a real effort to straighten that matter out?
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that the efforts we made at that time are going to assist in bringing about an understanding in the matter now?
Mr. BALLINGER. There is no question about that.
Mr. BALLINGER. And further than that, it is now conceded by all parties, the
of the ownership of the reservation must be referred to the court and decided by the court as to whether or not the Red Lakes are the exclusive owners or whether or not it belongs to all the Chippewas of Minnesota.
You will appreciate the importance of that, gentlemen, when I say that if the property had passed under the laws enacted by Congress since 1889 the Chippewas of Minnesota, the tribe, would have had a claim against the United States for their value.
The CHAIRMAN. Permit me to break in again?
The CHAIRMAN. There is a printed hearing that covers all that portion of the argument you are about to make. Will you refer to that hearing so that the members of the committee can get further information with regard to this matter from it, and then we will not have to print it over again?
Mr. BALLINGER. Here it is, entitled, “ The Chippewas of Minnesota, Hearings before Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives, Sixty-sixth Congress, Second Session, from January 21 to March 22, 1920.” That will be a sufficient designation ?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. BALLINGER. Gentlemen, I want to refer to these hearings for greater particularity and for probably a more accurate statement than I am making at the present time.
The CHAIRMAN. What we want you to do here, Mr. Ballinger, is, as concisely and as quickly as you can, tell us the things you did that warrant you in making this claim.
Mr. BALLINGER. Thank you. Gentlemen, I made an investigation of the school situation. I found a very unsatisfactory condition existing. I found normal Indian children who had been in Government boarding schools for as long as 8 and even 10 years who were still in the second and third grades, due to the conditions there. I found a worse condition than that. I do not care to go into detail at this time.
The CHAIRMAN. You can give us an outline of it. We want the facts.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. What is the condition that kept them in those particular grades so long?
Mr. BALLINGER. The condition was this, that under the practice in the schools the children received instructions during the morning hours for an hour or two. The rest of the time was spent in playing. The teachers were there, and all of the necessary employees, but the children were not in class nor in study during the afternoon. I also found that there was no effort being made to put the children into the public schools.
The progressive element among the Chippewas, the members of the general conucil, from whom I derive my authority to act, are progressive Indians. They are progressive people. They are not, in fact, Indians in its ordinary acceptation. Many of them are of a high order of intelligence. One man who recently died was worth several hundred thousand dollars, and I do not suppose that any man in the State of Minnesota stood higher than B. L. Fairbanks. He was the Santa Claus of the Chippewa people.
The CHAIRMAN. He is dead?
Mr. BALLINGER. He died last summer. It was one of the greatest losses they ever sustaineil. He fed more hungry Indians and clothed more Indians that needed clothes than any man who ever lived in that country. Those men had advocated and through me further advocated the extension of the public schools to the Indians. It was costing the tribe approximately $200 to $300 per annum per child in the Government boarding schools and they were not receiving proper educational facilities. Those men wanted the extension of the public school system of the State to the Indians so that every Indian residing within a public school district could go to the public schools. What would be the result? That is, what would be the effect of that? When they went to the public schools there was comparatively no expense to the tribe. In the Government boarding schools it was costing them from $200 to $300 per annum per child. The result of my work, gentlemen, and when I say my work, I mean my work in conjunction with the general council, with the officers of the general council, has resulted in the abolishment of some; I think, three of the Government boarding schools. There are three only left in that country and until I took up this work for the general council there had never been one abolished. There had been always an extension of the boarding schools in that country. At White Earth, where they had a Government boarding school with a capacity of as high as. approximately 200 children, the