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Mr. , MERITT. I don't think you understood me correctly. The impression I intended to convey to the committee was that the general council was the duly authorized council among the Chippewa Indians, but that there was a large number of Indians that were not in sympathy with the general council
, and that the general council was making recommendations for administrative and legislative mat-, ters, that the insurgents did not approve of in all particulars.
Mr. RHODES. That is all perfectly clear, but what I was getting at primarily was this, would you not think that the failure of the department to give its unqualified support to the general council only: tends to encourage both factions and to prolong the controversy?
Mr. MERITT. We recognize that there is a serious difference of opinion among the Chippeaw Indians, and, representing all of the Chippewa Indians, we feel that it is our duty to hear all the Chippewa Indians, at the same time recognizing the Chippewa General Council.
Mr. RHODES. That statement is too general to accomplish any definite results. The knowledge of the bureau must be such that the bureau has a definite opinion. It would be unthinkable to conceive that after all the years of administration of the affairs of the Indians of this country that the bureau to-day is without definite knowledge as to who should prevail in a controversy of this character.
Mr. MERITT. We have that knowledge.
Mr. RHODES. Just a moment. From what I have observed, it would appear that there is a substantial controversy between these factions, and that the department has recognized a legally constituted body as both a de facto and de jure body. After all
, you go on encouraging these irregulars to the extent that the result is indecision and a prolonged controversy. Now, I should like to know if you have a definite opinion which you will express to this committee as to the merits of this controversy. If there is no substantial merit on the part of these insurgents, then why not recognize the action of the so-called regular council for all purposes in handling the affairs of the tribe? As I understand the proposition the other day it was a sort of dual controversy as between the department, which you represent, and Mr. Ballinger, whom I assumed represented the regular council. This morning another gentleman appears and expresses very positive views, which resolves the question into a triangular proposition, with a good deal of doubt, so far as I have been able to see, as to who is right and who is wrong. Now, it is the intention of the department, I hope, to lend its good offices in such a way as to assist this committee in reporting legislation that will solve the trouble. Is that correct?
Mr. MERITT. That is in line with our intentions, and it is in line with our actions, as evidenced by the bill that we have taken great pains to redraft and which has been submitted to the committee for its consideration.
Thé CHAIRMAN. But we are up against this proposition, that while you and the representative of the general council agree upon twothirds of that legislation we have to listen to the third element who say that they are opposed to the whole thing.
Mr. MERITT. There is a faction among the Chippewa Indians that will oppose anything that is advocated by the present general council of the Chippewa Indians.
Mr. RHODEs. As a practical proposition, and as a member of the committee, disinterested and with only one object in view, and that is to accomplish substantial results in the interest of the tribe, I feel like insisting that the department take a positive position, and then as a member of the committee I should like to hear what each faction has to say and work out something tangible. I do not want to see this controversy go along in an indeterminable sort of way. I am bound to confess that I have seen indications that there might be a disposition on the part of some parties connected with this controversy to rather trifle with this committee. So far as I am concerned I do not want to be a party to encourage any such disposition. If certain members of this tribe, either of i. regular or insurgent bands do not know positively what this legislation is leading to I am certain the department does. We ought to have a definite and positive defining of the issues, and then govern ourselves accordingly. Mr. MERITT. Mr. Rhodes, that is exactly the position the department has taken. We have taken a positive position as to who constitutes the general council of the Čo Indians of Minnesota, and we have also taken a positive position as to what legislation should be enacted by Congress, and we have submitted that legislation here in concrete form. Mr. RHoDEs. But, as a matter of fact, your failure to adhere to the regular council, or, rather, in giving your unqualified support to the regular council, would encourage these bands of insurgents, which results in prolonging the controversy. Mr. MERITT. Not at all. We are not encouraging insurgents. That insurgency has been in the Chippewa country for years, and regardless of what action this committee or the Indian Office takes, that insurgency will still exist in the Chippewa country. It is impossible to bring them together. Mr. RHoDEs. The result must be that you must reach the point of decision and make the decision, or the controversy is unending. Mr. MERITT. We have reached the point of decision , and we have made that decision, but we can not control the Indians composing the actions in the Chippewa country. That is beyond our control and bond the control of Congress. r. RHoDEs. It may be beyond your authority to control this insurgent band, but, Mr. Meritt, it seems to me, with specific statutory authority, without some proof, I should be slow to accept your statement on that proposition. I thought the Indian Bureau was clothed with sufficient authority to control all factions. Mr. MERITT. You are mistaken about that. The Indian Bureau can not control factions on the Indian reservations. There are factions on every Indian reservation in this country. The CHAIRMAN. Have you expressed here your views fully? The chairman would like to have you express your views in as few words as possible as to the real issues between these two factions, aside from all legal technicalities. Mr. MERITT. We have expressed, I think, very clearly the differences between the Red Lakes and the Chippewas outside of the Red Lake and what they are contending for. The principal and big difference between the Idians in the Chippewa country is the legal question
as to title to lands within the Red Lake Reservation. The General Council of the Chippewa Indians takes the position that after the Red Lake Indians have been allotted on the Red Lake Reservation the surplus lands and property belong equally to all the Chippewa Indians; whereas the Red Lake Indians take the position that the entire Red Lake Reservation belongs to the Red Lake Indians and that the Indians of the other reservations have no right whatever to that property.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, then, to that extent the insurgents, so called, are sided with the Red Lake interests.
Mr. MERITT. I have not heard them express themselves on that point and I would prefer to have them express their own position.
The CHAIRMAN. We thought we possibly might get a little better view of how the bureau looks upon this controversy. Now, I think we better go on with the hearing, unless there is something pertinent some one wishes to ask at this point.
Mr. BALLINGER. I do not like to interrupt the hearing, but you have asked questions and some of the other members of the committee have asked some questions as to the real cause of this controversy. If you will permit me for two or three minutes, I want to state the real cause of the controversy between the gentlemen represented by Mr. McDonald and the members of the tribe represented by the general council.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ballinger, that would be largely the view of one side of the controversy.
Mr. BALLINGER. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN, I asked the question of Mr. Meritt because he would have a neutral view of the situation, and I think we better wait for that.
Mr. MERITT. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, on yesterday, at the conclusion of the very able and careful statement of Mr. Ballinger for the General Council of the Chippewa Indians, I followed with a short statement, when the time for adjournment was reached. In my statement yesterday I pointed out the very great frauds that had been perpetuated on the White Earth Reservation from legislation enacted by Congress. I had also pointed out that Mr. Ballinger was mistaken in his contention that the Indian Bureau was responsible for the legislation enacted in 1916, which set aside a forest reserve an the Red Lake Reservation. I also pointed out that the forest reserve created in the Chippewa country by the act of 1908 was not the result of legislation requested by the Indian Bureau. Mr. Ballinger laid great stress upon the fact that the agreement of 1902 and the resulting act of 1904 relating to the Red Lake Reservation was initiated by the Indian Bureau, and that Congress and the other Chippewa Indians were not responsible for that legislation.
I want to bring to the attention of the committee this morning some information that has not been brought out heretofore, which shows clearly that the Indian Bureau did not initiate the agreement with the Red Lake Indians resulting in the act of 1904 where Congress specifically recognized the rights of the Red Lake Indians to the entire Red Lake Reservation. This matter was first initiated by the citizens of Deep River Falls, Minn., and those citizens sent to Washington their mayor, Mr. Fred H. Kratka, who addressed a letter to the Secretary of the Interior under date of January 30, 1902, asking that a part
of the Red Lake Reservation be opened for homestead settlements. For the information of the committee I will ask that this letter be incorporated in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. It is so ordered.
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 30, 1902. Hon. E, A. HITCHCOCK,
Secretary of the Interior, DEAR SIR: The undersigned would respectfully represent that he has been authorized by the Council of Thief River Falls, Minn., to present this petition; that the western portion of the diminished Red Lake Indian Reservation lying in the vicinity of Thief River Falls, including all that portion west of the westerly line of Beltrami County, is composed entirely of agricultural and grass lands, containing in all about 11 townships; and that there is no pine timber upon any of said land; that said tract of land is occupied only by a few small bands of Indians, roaming about from place to place; that the opening of the lands to actual settlers, placing them in the hands of thrifty husbandmen, would be conducive to the best interests of the whites and Indians alike; and he therefore respectfully suggests that you appoint an Indian inspector to negotiate with the Indians upon the diminished Red Lake Indian Reservation, with the understanding that the moneys derived from the sale of same be devoted exclusively to the benefit of said Red Lake Indians, or the cession of all lands west of the westerly line of Beltrami County, to be subject to entry under the homestead laws of the United States: Provided, That the settler pay a price per acre not exceeding the price that the Government pays the Indians therefor; and respectively suggests that the authority to do so is found upon page 1077, No. 31, Statutes at Large of the United States. He further represents that there being no pine upon these lands, the opening of these lands is entirely separate and disconnected from any question involving the opening or other disposition of lands in Minnesota upon which there is standing pine timber. Very respectfully, yours,
F. H. KRATKA.
Mr. MERITT. Accompanying that letter was a statement from Senators and Representatives then in Congress from the State of Minnesota urging that the request of Mr. Pratgar be given consideration. That statement, signed by the Senators and Representatives from the State of Minnesota, reads as follows:
We, the undersigned Members of the Minnesota delegation in Congress, beg leave to suggest that we are well acquainted with Mr. F. H. Kratka, who is Mayor of the city of Thief River Falls, in the State of Minnesota; that we are advised, of our own knowledge, that he represents not only the sentiments of the city of Thief River Falls but of the people generally in that vicinity; and most heartily indorse and recommend his request to have the lands upon the diminished Red Lake Indian Reservation west of the westerly line of Beltrami County thrown open to settlement under the homestead laws of the United States. Very respectfully, yours,
Mr. MERITT. This paper is of very great importance in this controversy because it shows conclusively that Mr. Ballinger was mistaken in his statement to the committee that the Indian Bureau initiated this agreement and this legislation; and I have already pointed out that Mr. Ballinger was mistaken also in his statement to this committee that the Indian Bureau was responsible for the
legislation contained in the Indian appropriation act of 1916, wherein Congress recognized the rights of the Red Lake Indians to the property on the Red Lake Reservation and established a forest reserve. Mr. DALLINGER. To whom was that letter addressed ? Mr. MERITT. It was addressed to the Secretary of the Interior, or, rather, it accompanied a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Interior. Mr. DALLINGER. Do I understand that as a result of that letter the Secretary of the Interior, with the knowledge or at the suggestion of the Indian Bureau, recommended legislation to Congress' Mr. MERITT. As the result of this petition and this request of the Senators and Representatives of the State of Minnesota the Interior Department sent Inspector James McLaughlin to the Red Lake Reservation and negotiated an agreement with the Red Lake Indians, which was confirmed by Congress by the act of 1904, which I have placed in the record. In order that the committee might have the letter of instructions to Maj. McLaughlin before it I wisread it for the information of the committee. This letter is headed “Department of the Interior, Office of Commissioner of Indian Affairs,” and is dated “Washington, February 12, 1902.” You will note here that the letter of Mr. Kratka is dated January 30, 1902, and the letter that I am going to i. is dated February 12, 1902, two weeks after the receipt of the etter:
SIR: You are advised that the Secretary of the Interior on the 10th instant designated you to negotiate with the Red Lake and Pembina bands of Chippewa Indians of Minnesota for the cession of some 11 townships of land in the western portion of their reservation, under the provisions of the act of Congress of March 3, 1901 (31 Stats., 1077). The section of the act referred to provides as follows:
“That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, authorized, in his discretion, to negotiate, through any United States Indian inspector, agreements with any Indians for the cession to the United States of portions of their respective reservations or surplus unallotted lands, any agreements thus negotiated to be subject to subsequent ratification by Congress.”
The Secretary of the Interior has also directed this office to prepare proper instructions for your guidance in conducting said negotiations.
In obedience to this direction the following instructions are given you:
The diminished Red Lake Reservation as it now exists was created by agreement with the Indians under the provisions of the act of Congress of January 14, 1889 (25 Stats., 642). It contains about 800,000 acres. It is proposed for you to negotiate with said Indians for the cession and relinquishment of some 11 townships of land comprising the western portion of the reservation. The exact area and description of these lands can not now be stated. The negotiations with the Indians will determine the boundaries of the lands to be ceded; after the boundaries are known the area can be ascertained. The tract ceded, however, should lie in compact form and should comprise the western portion of the reservation.
The negotiations should be conducted, in the first place, for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not the Indians are willing to dispose of any portion of their reservation, and if so, to secure their consent and agreement to the cession of that portion of the reservation referred to, provided satisfactory terms and conditions can be agreed upon. The consideration to be paid the Indians should be a definite, fixed sum, based upon the number of acres included in the cession, the same to be paid the Indians in cash or to be expended for their benefit, as may be determined by the negotiations. It is not necessary that the entire cash consideration shall be paid in