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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?
Mr. STEENERSON. l'nless we had counsel to also represent them or like Mr. Henderson. Every item of his bill must be in accordance with agreement made with the Indians and approved by the Indian Office.
I made a mistake in read ng this letter, which I would like to correct. The CHAIRMAN. ('ertainly.
Mr. STEENERSON. Mr. Meritt ahnde:) me a letter which he wrote in response 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 th's 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 thority here.
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:1 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 Indians 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 recided 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 land 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 passed 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 Representatires
, Washington, D. c. Sir: Supplementary 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 CHAIRMAŅ. We thank you.
Mr. Henderson desires to make short statement, correcting a statement that he made Monday.
STATEMENT OF MR. D. B. HENDERSON.
Mr. HENDERSON. Mr. Chairm 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. Carian, 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. To be 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 Officè 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?
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?
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
two or three days expecting to go up to the commissioner and submit our matters. The boys did not seem to know. In a few days they asked me to go to Mr. Ballinger's office. I went up there, and Mr. Ballinger had a statement already made. He said, “ Boys, after you were here yesterday I got to thinking about a ffairs that we were talking about, and I made this statement." It was the statement that we took to the commissioner. I read it over. I thought in some respects it was not all right. All the other boys signed that statement; I did not, because a lot of things did not represent what we were after. In a few days we went up there. I could not understand what was between them, and afterwards it developed. Mr. Ballinger had prepared a bill—I forget now the number of the bill—perhaps to introduce in Congress, covering the entire affairs of the Chippewa Indians, by which it was proposed to take all of the trust property in the hands of the Department of the Interior that we had turned over to the Government, proposed to take it out of the slepartment, etc., with a provision for attorney fees of 10 per cent, and all that sort of stuff.
The CHAIRMAN. That 10 per cent provision was rather important?
Mr. COFFEY. Yes, sir; we believed so. If that had gone through it would have amounted to something like $1,800,000. I opposed it, because we had no authority to do that. I brought it to the attention of the trustees and several Members of Congress. It was never acted on. I then brought the matter to the attention of the general council.
Mr. JEFFERIS. After you 'went back home?
Mr. COFFEY. Yes, sir. Then the Indians all over Minnesota called a general council, to be held on the 25th of April, 1918, I think.
Mr. SWANK. What degree of Indian blood are you?
The CHAIRMAN. Have you not some claim or some bill you are trying to get through now to compensate you for the work you are doing down here?
Mr. COFFEY. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you not row approximately in the same position that Mr. Ballinger is in ?
Mr. COFFEY. No, sir.
Mr. COFFEY. I have been authorized to come here. I am under a regular salary just the same as any one of you gentlemen receives a salary.
The CHAIRMAN. I just wanted to get that clearly before the committee.
Mr. COFFEY. I submitted the bills that Mr. Ballinger had introduced and which he was trying to get passed in order to take all the Chippewa lands away from the Indians. Then they adopted a resolution removing John Morrison, John Fairbanks, removing him from the position of committeeman and removing Henry Warren-the general council removed the whole bunch.
Mr. JEFFERIS. Did they remove you?
Mr. COFFEY. No; they did not. They then went to work and filled the offices with other men that they had made vacant. I was elected the president then. At the next annual meeting of the general council, which was to be held in Bemidji, I had, as the president of the council, gone there and engaged the city hall, where we always held the meetings of the council. I engaged it for the next meeting and had the engagement put on record.
Mr. JEFFERIS. What date?
Mr. COFFEY. I think that was the 9th day of July, 1918. When I went to open up the hall I found that we could not get in. I went to the custodian of the hall and he said that Morrison secured the key to the hall. He said, * Mr. John Morrison came here two or three days ago and got the key.".
Mr. JEFFERIS. That was one of the fellows who had been turned out of office?
Mr. COFFEY. Who had been removed ; yes, sir. I went to look for Morrison. I told him that I had engaged that hall and that we wanted it. They told me that Morrison said it was for the general council, and they let him have it, that they thought it was all the same thing. I went to look for Morrison, but could not find him in Bermidji. Then we telephoned up to Red Lake, where he lives, but he was not there. Here were 135 delegates waiting to get into the
hall. They waited until 10.30 in the morning. We were to open up at 9 o'clock. Somebody suggested that we get another hall, and so I went over to the Elko, saw the man, and engaged the hall. Then we all went over there. After we got organized and started in in the Elko Theater hail Morrison showed up with his little bunch and went into the hall.
Dr. JEFFERIS. Into the city hall?
Mr. COFFEY. The city hall; yes, sir. The number was so depleted that they did not make even a decent showing. They sent down to our hall and asked me to go up there. Well, under the circumstances I did not think it was proper; we did not want to recognize them. They sent us word to come up there and hold a meeting with them.
Mr. Roach. Why did you not just go up; you had the biggest crowd?
Mr. COFFEY. We are not always as sharp as we ought to be. We ought to have done that. That is how the two arose, and ever since that time the Morrison bunch has been getting together. There are three or four families up on the reservation, the Morrison, Fairbanks, and Lawrence. They have meetings at all times, but they have no vested rights in the property of the Chippewa Indians. They are, however, on the roll. They have been living on the reservation for many years. They have no other place to meet and represent no other people except those right in that one village of White Earth.
The CHAIRMAN. When did they take away the recognition
The CHAIRMAN. The new administration went into office on the 4th of March ; do you think it was after that?
Mr. COFFEY. Along about that time.
The CHAIRMAN. And since then you claim the bureau has not recognized the so-called Chippewa crowd?
Mr. COFFEY. That is what they tell me. In Bemidji last July they broke up themselves and more than 50 per cent of them left their old council.
The CHAIRMAN. How do you calculate so that you can say more than 50 per cent?
Mr. COFFEY. I get that information by letters submitted from people up there.
The CHAIRMAN. You say 50 per cent or more. How do you come to the conclusion that it was 50 per cent or more" ?
Mr. COFFEY. From information received from up there.
The CHAIRMAN. You have no knowledge as to how many people were actually taking part in the ceremonies?
Mr. COFFEY. Only as I receive the information.
Mr. COFFEY. Those records are unreliable. I have watched that in and out. I can go through the records, because I have here a list of the delegates that have pretended to be elected. Many delegates selected by the local council do not go to the general council.
Mr. JEFFERIS. Does the Indian Bureau have any representative attend these councils?
Mr. COFFEY. Sometimes. We had one in 1919, to our sorrow.
Mr. JEFFERIS. Your contention is that Mr. Ballinger's claim should be wiped out?
Mr. COFFEY. He has no claim; we do not owe him one penny.
Mr. JEFFERIS. Is there any bill pending here looking to authorize compensation for you?
Mr. COFFEY. Yes, sir.