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The CHAIRMAN. It is a check in the interest of the Indians, and the checkers are wholly in the pay of the bureau? Mr. MERITT. Yes, sir. It should be borne in mind that there is now in the Treasury of the United States more than $6,000,000 to the credit of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota, and the Red Lake Indians have a share in that money, and any judgment that might be rendered against the Red Lake Indians could undoubtedly be recovered from the property and the money interests of the Red Lake Indians, and the Federal Government would not likely be called upon to meet any of this judgment in the event that the judgment should be rendered against the Red Lake Indians, which we consider is a remote possibility. Mr. DALLINGER. Is that all based on information from Mr. Mahaffie, the solicitor of the department? Mr. MERITT. No, sir. The CHAIRMAN. In the checking up of this timber, when it leaves the hands of the bureau and goes into the hands of the company, just who does the checking? I do not mean the names of the men, but do the bureau's checkers and lumbermen's checkers work together or does the lumbermen's checker check it first and then that checking is done again by the bureau? Mr. DALLINGER. When is it done, and at what stage? Mr. MERITT. We have in the room a Red Lake Indian who was formerly employed on this work. I think that probably he could give you the exact information that you want. The CHAIRMAN. All I am interested in is, there was so much fraud apparently connected with the conversion of the property of the White Earth Indians that we want to be sure that nothing of that sort is coming in at this time or can get in with regard to the distribution of this property. Mr. MERITT. You may rest assured that the interests of the Red Lake Indians are being very carefully protected by the Indian Bureau. I believe all the Indians here will concede that. - . onammas. Will the gentleman tell us just how the checking 1S OIOne Mr. MERITT. Mr. Head is a Red Lake Indian who was employed on that work.
STATEMENT OF MR. NATHAN J. HEAD, MEMBER OF RED LAKE BAND, CHIPPEWA INDIANS,
The CHAIRMAN. In your own way just tell us how you turn over this lumber from the bureau or the Government to this lumber company and how is it charged up to them and checked out?
Mr. HEAD. It is authorized by act of Congress that all of the timber be cut and scaled under the acts adopted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
After the log is cut and it is numbered, a series of numbers from 1 up to 10,000, it is entered in the scale book, which corresponds with the number on the log, and the checker appointed by the Forest Bureau and the Indian Bureau goes in and inspects the scales and checks the number, say, a thousand logs, to the month, or probably less than that. The number of logs will amount to four or five million, possibly ten million feet in the season's cut. He checks every week or 10
days here and there. He looks over the scaler's book and checks it. If there is a difference he goes over it and checks where the mistake is made.
Mr. ELSTON. The scaler is an Indian Bureau official, and he makes an estimate of the number of feet in each log. Is that what you mean by scaling?
Mr. HEAD. Yes, sir.
Mr. MERITT. It is not estimated. They apply the scale rule that gives the number of feet in a log of a certain size.
Mr. Elston. That calls for the size of logs, a personal inspection of every log and the application of the scale figures which gives the number of feet.
Mr. DALLINGER. When is this done? For instance, the logs are cut by the company and then are they drawn on sleds to some places ?
Mr. HEAD. When the logs are cut they are hauled into the skidway on the roadside and he rides over to scale the logs.
Mr. DaLLINGER. Each pile of logs is brought from where they are cut. Each pile is scaled; is that right?
Mr. HEAD. That is right. Then, of course, the contractor has the right to go over the Government scaler's books. He has that right and he is looking out for it.
The CHAIRMAN. You are a Red Lake Indian?
The CHAIRMAN. You are there looking out for the interests of the Red Lake band ?
Mr. HEAD. As well as myself.
The CHAIRMAN. You are satisfied that the checking is honestly done?
Mr. HEAD. Yes, sir. That is about the only way to properly protect the sellers, who are the Indians.
Mr. MERITT. In the statement of Mr. Ballinger there were some remarks about the school system in the Chippewa country. Criticism was made of the Twin Lake Day School on the White Earth Reservation. My information is, and the records of the Indian Office show, that we have one teacher at a salary of $720 a year and one housekeeper at a salary of $300 a year employed at the Twin Lake Day School on the White Earth Reservation. The records also show that that school has an average attendance of 33 for the current year and an enrollment of 46. Compared with the indian schools throughout the country, I think that is a very satisfactory showing and that the cost is not excessive.
The CHAIRMAN. is that the one he referred to as having seven pupils at an expense of $8,000 ?
Mr. MERITT. He criticized this school, and this is the information that the records of our office show.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that the one who had the Government school in one end and the public school in the other?
Mr. MERITT. Yes, sir. There was also some comment made about the Government furnishing midday meals to those Indian children.
This is the first time that I have ever heard the Indian Bureau criticized for furnishing meals to Indian children. We have been complimented on our work along that line. I believe that if some of the white schools would follow our example it would be helpful to the children because it is shown that there are a great many white children attending the public schools that are undernourished. When it is remembered that these little Indian children come from homes a considerable distance away and the climate is exceedingly cold during the winter months, it is entirely the proper thing to o them with the midday meals. The CHAIRMAN. You do not feed anyone at these schools who is not regularly in attendance at the schools? Mr. MERITT. No, sir. The CHAIRMAN. What would be the average age, if you can tell us, of the average attendance of 36% Mr. MERITT. I have not that information, but I think it would average from 6 to 16 years of age. Mr. RANDALL. Do you happen to know how near the nearest public school is to this Indian school? The CHAIRMAN. There is one right in the same building. Mr. MERITT. We are ready to turn over these children to the public schools any time they will furnish facilities for educating these Indian children. It is our policy to get Indian children into public schools wherever it is possible. The CHAIRMAN. It is claimed by reason of the fact that the Govrenment runs a school in one end of the building and the State runs a school in the other end, and due to the fact that the Government furnishes a meal at noon, that it is competition which the State can not overcome, and, therefore, the larger number go to the Indian day school. Mr. DALLINGER. Mr. Ballinger brought out the fact that the instruction of the State schools was infinitely superior to the instruction given by the Government. Mr. MERITT. That I deny, because I think that the instruction furnished in the Indian schools is equal, if not superior, to the public schools of the country. However, it is our policy to get Indian children in public schools wherever it is possible, and we have now more than 30,000 Indian children in the public schools throughout the country. We have requested Congress in the last few years to very greatly increase the appropriation for paying tuition of Indian children in public schools. The CHAIRMAN. Which you would not have very much trouble to get, in the judgment of the chairman, if you managed the affairs of the day od boarding schools on the reservations in such a way that you did not furnish opportunity for so large a percentage that you can not provide for. Mr. MERITT. Also in connection with the alleged extravagant expenditures of the Chippewa funds, I wish to call the attention of the committee to what we are doing for the Chippewa Indians along hospital lines. We have four hospitals among the Chippewa Indians. We have one hospital at Fond du Lac and during the year 1919 there were admitted to the hospital 200 patients at a cost of $7,500. At the Leech Lake Agency, Minn., we have a hospital where there were admitted 428 Chippewa Indians at a cost of $2,085.76. At the Red Lake Reservation, Minn., there is a hos ital where there were admitted 243 Indians at a cost of $4,602. At White Earth we have a hospital where there were admitted during the year 255 Indians at a cost of $8,290.19. I believe that every one will concede that there is good work being done for the Chippewa Indians at a reasonable cost. The CHAIRMAN. The time for recess having arrived, if there is no objection we will adjourn until 10 o'clock to-morrow morning. (Thereupon, at 1 o'clock p. m., the committee adjourned to meet again at 10 o'clock a. m., Thursday, March 11, 1920.)
COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRs,
The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a.m., Hon. Homer P. Snyder (chairman) presiding. The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order and we will resume the hearing where we left off last night. Mr. Meritt, you can proceed in your own way. Mr. MERITT. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I have been in an off-hand and extemporaneous way endeavoring to answer some of the misleading statements in the very carefully prepared brief of the attorney for the general council of the Chippewa Indians. I have not been anble to answer all of these misleading statements because it would require too much time, but I have up to this point endeavored to answer some of the most important of the misleading and exaggerated statements. I shall finish my remarks in a very short while. There are only a few remaining items which I wish to bring to the attention of the committee. Mr. Ballinger, the attorney, in his statement referred to the long time it took Mr. Edward L. Rogers to get the money of his children, after he had been appointed their guardian. I believe the statement of Mr. Ballinger was to the effect that it took one or two years, and he called on Mr. Rogers to confirm that statement, and Mr. Rogers answered that it took about six months. The facts are that Mr. Edward L. Rogers was appointed guardian on March 27, 1918, and the balance of the funds belonging to his children was mailed by the superintendent to Mr. Rogers on April 5, 1918, less than 10 days after he was appointed guardian. This is only a samrle of the exaggerated statements that are made before this committee regarding Indian affairs. I shall not take time to answer all of these statements and am simply answering this one as an example of the statements that are brought to Members of Congress with a desire to prejudice the minds of the Members of Congress against officials of the Indian Service who are endeavoring to fulfill their duties to the best of their ability, duties that are exceedingly difficult to administer. Covering a period of nearly 100 years Congress has enacted probably 1,500 separate laws covering Indian matters, and there has been entered into between 200 and 300 treaties or agreements, and it is an exceedingly difficult matter to administer all of these laws and meet the requirements of all of these agreements and treaties. It should also be borne in mind that the Indian Service has supervision over a territory as large as
New York and the New England States combined and has under its supervision at this time approcximately 225,000 Indians, a large number of whom are incompetent to handle their own affairs. It should also be borne in mind that these Indians live in 26 different States and are scattered over a very wide area.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Meritt, I want to try to clear up one thing right there, as a matter of information. When you say you have in charge 225,000 Indians, does that mean competent and incompetent Indians? Those who have been declared competent and allotted, are they under your supervision?
Mr. MERITT. There are over 300,000 Indians in the United States. The Indian Bureau does not now have jurisdiction over a large number of Indians in the United States at this time because they have been given patents in fee and are not under the jurisdiction of the Indian Bureau because Congress has passed legislation removing their restrictions.
The CHAIRMAN. These 225,000 you speak of, these are all incompetent Indians ?
Mr. MERITT. Not all of them are incompetents.
The CHAIRMAN. But so far as the bureau is concerned they are under your supervision ?
Mr. MERITT. Yes, sir; under the supervision of the Indian Bureau.
The CHAIRMAN. Then the difference between that number and the 300,000 is made up of Indians who have been delared competent, or have gotten away from the service in some way or another, but many of them are still doing business with the bureau ?
Mr. MERITT. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. So that we can safely say that the bureau to-day is only directly in charge of 225,000 Indians ?
Mr. MERITT. That is approximately correct, with this reservation, that some of these Indians have received patents in fee
The CHAIRMAN. You are speaking of some of this 225,000 ?
Mr. MERITT. Some of the 100,000 who have gotten out from under the jurisdiction of the bureau. These Indians still have an interest in the undivided property and when that property is sold they are entitled to a share of the proceeds.
The CHAIRMAN. And the only control you have over that body is through your forced relations in the care of whatever interest they may have in some tribal fund that could not be distributed when they were declared competent?
Mr. MERITT. Yes, sir; take for example, Mr. Rogers here. He is an 'absolutely competent Indian, and we do not want jurisdiction over Indians of that class. However, he has received his patent in fee, but still has an interest in the Chippewa tribal funds now in the Treasury of the United States. We would like to pro rate this fund, pay him his share, and let him
way. the same as any other citizen of the United States, but under the laws of Congress we can not pro rate these funds at this time as we would like to do, reserving only sufficient to carry on the schools, so that these Chippewa Indians who are competent might get their share and no longer have any interest in any tribal moneys.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you allege as the reason Congress has not been willing to give you legislation which will permit you to do that very thing?