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Mr. MERITT. Our information is that contracts have been made, for example, with the Sioux Indians. The law now on the statute books regarding this matter requires that these contracts covering tribal Indian matters shall be made, executed, and approved in accordance with the provisions of law now on the statute books. We believe that a law of this kind should be obeyed; we believe that if these attorneys want to make contracts with Indians they should comply with the law. Our experience in the past has proven that it is dangerous for these
contracts to be gotten through without compliance with the law. There have been exceptions to this in the past when there was lobbied through Congress certain laws which enabled certain attorneys to go to the Court of Claims without having contracts approved, and what was the result. The younger Members of Congress may not be familiar with these scandals, but if the new members of this committee will take this matter up with such Members of Congress as Representative Mann of Illinois, and men who are familiar with the actual situation several years ago, they will find that there were great scandals in connection with certain Indian legislation enacted by Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. What about the last appropriation bill? Was there any law in there that provided for situations where scandals could be committed ?
Mr. MERITT. No, sir; I am very proud to say that since I have been connected with Indian legislation for the Indian Bureau I know of no legislation that has gone on the Indian bill that resulted in scandal, and there will not be without my calling it to the attention of the members of the Indian Committees.
The CHAIRMAN. You feel pretty safe in figuring that the committee would cooperate with you in thať direction?
Mr. MERITT. I feel quite sure, Mr. Chairman, this game that is being tried to be played now in connection with Indian Affairs will be a failure.
Mr. RHODES. In the light of your statement that older members of Congress are more conversant with affairs generally related to Indian legislation and Indian Affairs than are the younger Members of Congress, having their attention called to some of these scandals and remembering what you said awhile ago that there is apparently organized propaganda tending to reflect on the Indian Service, am I justified in drawing the conclusion that this propaganda is recent among the Indians and has arisen from white people ?
Mr. MERITT. My statement, Mr. Rhodes, was that the new members of Congress were not familiar with the scandals arising out of that particular legislation enacted several years ago. That is the reason why I referred to Representative Mann. He has made-
Mr. RHODES. I can see the truth in what you have said both as regards the experienced and inexperienced members, but what to be
Mr. Elston. Do you not think that the propaganda is to discredit the bureau rather than to operate on Members of Congress ?
Mr. Meritt. Both. In order to get this legislation through Congress they are attempting to break down the administrative function and influence of the Indian Bureau. Now, Mr. Chairman, in order to give a concrete example of the result of such 'legislation as I have indicated, I would call your attention to the fact that a few years ago there was gotten through certain Indian legislation not in
compliance with existing law, relating to attorneys’ contracts and as a result of that legislation one firm of attorneys received fees in the amount of $750,000. The Indian Bureau had nothing whatever to do with that attorney fee, but we have been very frequently criticized for it. Another fee amounted to $250,000. The CHAIRMAN. How much did the attorneys actually get? Mr. MERITT. They got the money. You can always depend upon the attorneys getting their fee. In this case the attorneys got their fee of $250,000 in cash and it was necessary for the Indian Bureau to come to Congress and get an appropriation for the judgment. Mr. RHODEs. Did they render service commensurate in any way with the fee received 2 Mr. MERITT. They undoubtedly rendered service but I would not say commensurate with that fee. I know of no service at all commensurate with the fee in this case. In fact the Indian Bureau and the Treasury Department were called upon to furnish the information necessary to bring about a conclusion of this case by the court. Mr. ELSTON. That law does not exist now that permits such thing? Mr. MERITT. No, sir; if the existing law is carried out without exception Mr. RHODEs. You did not tell me the source from which this organized propaganda came. MERITT. You will readily appreciate, Mr. Rhodes, that I do not wish to furnish names in that connection. Mr. RHODEs. I am not asking for names. I want to know if it has arisen among Indians or white people. Mr. MERITT. Both, but the principal offender, the man who will receive the greatest benefit if these contracts go through, a man who is exceedingly wealthy and quite able to carry on this propaganda, now has Indian representatives on a large number of reservations and also has Indian representatives here in Washington cooperating with him. He is not an Indian, but a white man; but he has Indians as his representatives. Mr. ELSTON. You would call him the “Master Mind” as the detective story says. Mr. MERITT. He is the “Master Mind,” with a long purse. Mr. BALLINGER. In view of the statement of Mr. Meritt, I would like to have him exonerate me. Mr. MERITT. I stated in the beginning of this statement that I had no reference to Mr. Ballinger. Mr. KELLY. There is something unfair about a blanket charge like this against the attorneys for the Indians, a large number of whom are giving good service, while it may be improper to name names, I think it improper to make a blanket charge of this character against all attorneys for the Indians. Mr. MERITT. I have not charged all attorneys and have no intention of charging all attorneys. In fact, I have stated that the Master Mind is one attorney, and I do not care to mention names, but that organization has extended to a number of reservations, and the machinery is in full operation here in Washington at this time. Mr. Chairman, in concluding my offhand, unprepared, extemporaneous statement in connection with these matters, I want to impress upon the committee and these Indians present what really has been accomplished for the Hndians of this country during the last half cen– tury. As I stated a few days ago, we should bear in mind that half a century ago a large majority of the Indians of this country were roaming the prairies of the west and were without any definite habitation. The CHAIRMAN. Let us not go into all that; let us confine ourselves to the Chippewas. Mr. MERITT. I am making my closing statement now, Mr. Chairma, and want to emphasize what has really been accomplished by the Indian Bureau for the benefit of the Indians. I want to show as a matter of credit to the Indian race itself that during the last 50 years there has been a greater advance in the progress of the Indian race than of any other race since the beginning of history. The CHAIRMAN. The only objection to that is that on three specific occasions during the last three months the commissioner has made that same speech; it is a matter of record here, and I do not think it should be put in here again. I have no doubt you can do it much o than he, but I think we should confine ourselves to the case in and. Mr. MERITT. I will confine myself to the closing statement that the progress of the Indians during the last 50 years has been very remarkable indeed, and we are very proud of the rapid advance that the Indians of this country are making. It is our desire that all Indians progress just as rapidly as possible so that they can go as quickly as possible out from under the jurisdiction of the Indian Bureau. It is not the desire of the Indian Bureau to retain a single Indian under its jurisdiction who is capable of handling his own property, and we want to distribute their property among them as quickly as possible, so that they may enjoy full, free, and independent American citizen
ship. 'He CHAIRMAN. Will you say now whether you recommend this legislation or not ? . MERITT. We do recommend this legislation. Mr. Chairman, it is not all we would like to have, but it is as nearly a just compromise measure as we believe it is possible to draft at this time, in view of the many complications in the Chippewa country, and the many different views as to what should be done. I believe that the legislation as recommended by the department with amendments sug. i. by the department is reasonably fair to all the Chippewa Jn. ians. Some provisions in the original bill were rather unfair, but as recommended by the department we believe that that legislation is just and should be enacted. I believe, however, that before it is finally enacted it should be gone over line by line, paragraph by paragraph, section by section, so that we may all have a thorough understanding as to its contents and make such changes as may be deemed wise in view of the facts brought out in this hearing. Mr. ELSTON. Mr. Chairman, I was wondering how far apart the bureau representative and the representatives of the different factions. of the Chippewas are with respect to this bill. The CHAIRMAN. I will make a short statement. I think perhaps you were not here at the time. It was agreed in the beginning between Mr. Meritt and Mr. Ballinger that the counsel and bureau agreed upon approximately two-thirds of the meat in this bill; on the balance they are wide apart. The Red Lake delegation, who are here, must necessarily be a party to it and are desirous of passing this legislation as it stands to-day. That is the position we are in at the present time. The whole thing surrounds a spoken agreement and
legislation enacted in 1889. We have with us a gentleman who made the agreement, Mr. McLaughlin, and it seems to me we should hear from him.
Mr. MERITT. I have requested Maj. McLaughlin to come to the committee room with me to be heard at your pleasure.
The CHAIRMAN. Does the statement I have just made correspond with your understanding, Mr. Ballinger?
Mr. BALLINGER. I have examined the text of the printed draft of the department's bill and will state that there is only about 5 per cent of the printed text in controversy.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you have changed your mind somewhat since reading the bill ? Mr. BALLINGER. Yes, sir; after carefully rereading the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to ask the gentleman from the Red Lake Reservation whether he has changed his mind?
Mr. McDonald. Mr. Henderson represents the Red Lake Indians and I represent them only as
The CHAIRMAN. Well, then I will ask Mr. Henderson; we have heard your statement which was that you were unalterably opposed to it.
Mr. McDONALD. May I state that at that time we had not the bill H. R. 12072, I believe. Yesterday afternoon we had that bill in our possession and went through it and examined it; spent most of the afternoon going through it, section by section and division by division, and so far as the sections relating to the Red Lake Indians are concerned, the Indians expressed themselves as being absolutely opposed to that. In reference to the other two matters they have objections to some features of these two matters.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to ask a general question. Since the department counsel and the counsel recognized by the department are within 5 per cent of an agreement, and since you have modified your opinion materially since your last statement, is there any possibility that if you three elements had a day or two to discuss this matter you might get together on it and bring us back an agreement ? I am not only asking that of you but of the other two interested parties as well.
Mr. McDONALD. In reference to the other bill it would seem as if there were matters in that bill that can not be reconciled. I did not know when speaking before that there were two bills. I thought it was all in one.
The CHAIRMAN. It is all in one; it is called a committee print.
Mr. McDONALD. As I understand it there are two bills, No. 12972 and No. 12973.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, there seems to be some confusion about the bill; the committee print is the original bill amended as per the agreement between counsel and the bureau and along with that is printed in sections 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 of the jurisdictional bill.
Mr. McDONALD. That is not my understanding; No. 12972 is materially different from No. 12973.
Mr. RHODES. Why would it not be well for you to take a copy of the committee print and review that?
Mr. McDONALD. We have done so, but find that No. 12972 is different, especially in reference to the Red Lake and other matters, and as I understand it these changes were made by Mr. Meritt.
Mr. RHODES. What are your objections to the committee print ?
!. Mr. McDonald. We object to the section giving authority to the Indian Bureau to add to the rolls of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota; also the means provided for the determination of compensation is wrong in many particulars. We think there are many people upon the Red Lake rolls who should not be there and that the first step should be to purge the rolls of these; we think some few, not many, who are off the rolls ought to be put on. The CHAIRMAN. Just a moment. We are carrying this answer to my question too far. Now, the thought in my mind was that if there was any possibility of o the conflicting elements together, it might be wise to give you a few days to do that but if you have all of these objections Mr. McDonald. May I state that the Chippewa Indians General Council reports that the question of competency should not be based upon blood status. We realize that there are many full-blood Indians most competent to administer their own affairs and that fullblood status is not the proper basis of establishing competency The CHAIRMAN. I have heard the statement made here that there were not any full bloods among the Red Lake Chippewas. Mr. McDon ALD. We take issue with that statement. Mr. BALLINGER. This turns them all loose without relation to the kind of blood. The CHAIRMAN. What is your opinion, Mr. Ballinger, as to whether or not the conflicting elements can be brought together by an intermission in this hearing for a couple of days? Mr. BALLINGER. I think there are but two differences left to be settled. Whether or not the Red Lake Indians should be allotted and the reservation opened up, or whether nor not it shall remain as it is and the Indians remain in their present status. Upon that I am sure the General Council will never agree with the Red Lake Indians. The other question is whether or not the General Council, or whoever it is up there should have any say as to the administration of the law at all. Mr. WILLIAM LUFKIN. That bill there is an agreement between the Red Lake Indians and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. There is a protection there for Red Lake. Now, if we have an agreement to come together with Leech Lake, so that the will will be all right, I think we can get along all right, because in this hearing there has been nothing said about protection for Leech Lake Indians. The CHAIRMAN. Your idea is that the bureau and the General Council agreed to protect Red Lake but did not agree to protect the Leech Lake Indians? Mr. LUFKIN. Yes, sir. Mr. BALLINGER. Leech Lake Reservation was ceded in 1889. The CHAIRMAN. I think under the circumstances we will call on Mr. McLaughlin and let him start to tell us about this.
STATEMENT OF MR. JAMES McLAUGHLIN, INSPECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
The CHAIRMAN. How many years have you been in the service, Mr. McLaughlin' Mr. McLAUGHLIN. Forty-nine consecutive years. The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. McLaughlin, you have heard all the testimony here and understand exactly what we want to clear up. 1737.31—20—13