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The question of the disposition of the lands ceded is properly one for the Department and the Commissioner of the General Land Office to determine. It is suggested that either the Department or the General Land Office prepare an additional section to the bill submitted herewith, providing for the disposition of the lands. Besides the draft of the bill (in duplicate) there are transmitted herewith two copies of the agreement, two copies of the council pool. two copies of Inspector McLaughlin's report, and two excerpt copies of the map of Minnesota, showing the lands ceded by the agreement, with the recommendation that one copy of each be submitted to the respective Houses of Congress with recommendation for favorable action on the agreement. . . . - The original agreement, Inspector McLaughlin's report, and the report of the council proceedings are also submitted herewith, with the request that they be returned to the files of this office when they shall have served their purpose before the Department. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, - - - W. A. Jon Es, Commissioner. The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR., . -
DEPARTMENT of THE INTERIOR,
UNITED STATES INDIAN SERVICE, *.
St. Paul, Minn., March 18, 1902. SIR: Under instructions prepared in the Indian Office, dated Febru 12, 1902, #}. by you February 14, 1902, and transmitted to me in Indian §e letter of ebruary 21, 1902, I have the honor to transmit herewith an agreement, dated the 10th instant, entered into by me as United States Indian inspector, on the part of the United States, with the #.Lake and Pembina bands of Chippewa Indians belonging on the Red Lake Reservation, Minnesota, by which the said Indians cede to the United States all that portion of their reservation lying west of the range line between ranges 38 and 39 west of the fifth principal meridian. - The tract thus ceded comprises 256,152.28 acres, and is situated in 19 townships (7 full townships and 12 fractional townships), as shown by\!. of the respective townships prepared in the office of the surveyor general of Minnesota, tabulated as
follows: Township. Range. Meridian. Acreage.
151 north----------------------------------------------------------- West....] Fi 1,021.37 152 north----------------------------------------------------------- do. . . . do. . . . 21,876.05 153 north. -- - ---- 23,061.91 154 north. 22,590.93 152 north. 18,723.85 153 north. 22,909.73 154 north. 23,100.36 155 north 170.71 151 north 14.00 152 north. 19,026.41 153 north. 22,732.37 154 north. 22,874.61 155 north. 273.72 152 north. 3,703.26 153 north 18,398.72 154 north 22,456.33 155 north. 511.81 153 north. 1,146.27 154 north 11,557.87
Total acreage 256,152.28
In going to the Red Lake Agency to enter upon negotiations for the cession of these lands, I traveled by team from o River Falls, Minn., through about the center of the tract from west to east, and thus obtained a very general knowledge of the character of the country and quality of the land. The tract included in the cession, taken as a whole, is excellent agricultural lard. There are some marshes within the tract, the most of which, however, afford good grass, and with drainage, which is quite feasible, most of those lands could be brought under cultivation, and all the isol that would not be brought under cultivation by cutting the numerous beaver dams in the said marshy tracts would be thus sufficiently drained to become good meadows, which would yield large Crops of hay annually, and the native grass on these marsh lands is of excellent quality. There are a great many extensive beaver dams in good repair throughout the tract, which hold back the waters of winter snows and summer rains, thus submerging the
marshy portions and lower lands, which, if removed, would drain the greater portion of the marsh lands and make them 'equal in value, for cultivation, to the higher and more desirable portions at the present time.
There is no pine timber on this ceded portion, but there are a good many scattering, small-sized trees, chiefly poplar and oak, throughout the tract, each section of the land containing more or less of this character of timber, and sufficient on almost every quarter section to provide the homesteader with necessary fuel.
The consideration allowed the Indians for the cession is a fraction over $3.90 per acre, which I regard as a fair and reasonable price. It is true that some of the choicest portions could be sold at a much higher price, ranging from $5 to $15 per acre, and some select tracts adjacent to Thief River Falls would doubtless bring from $20 to $25 per acre; but taking the entire cession as a whole, with its numerous marshes and undrained tracts, I regard the consideration, also manner of payment, as fair and just both to the Indians and to the United States.
The people of the Red River Valley are anxiously looking forward to the opening of these lands, and from the number of settlers now seeking homes throughout this section of the country these ceded Red Lake Reservation lands are certain to be in great demand as soon as they are opened to settlement.
The Indians received ine very cordially, but were at first strongly opposed to considering any proposition for the cession of any portion of their reservation. They expressed themselves as suspicious of every person sent out to talk with them about their lands; that their past experience, especially from the act of January 14, 1889, had caused them to be distrustful of everybody; that they had many grievances and just claims which they wanted adjusted before entertaining any proposition for the cession of more lands.
After they had stated their many grievances, all of which I assured them would appear in the minutes of our councils and thus submitted to the Department, I reasoned with them very patiently, satisfactorily answered their questions, and explained the status of their many contentions, thus gaining their confidence, and eventually concluding the agreement, which was accepted by all those present at the closing council and concurred in by 220 of the 334 Indians belonging on the reservation..
The signature of every Indian of the agency could doubtless have been obtained if they could have been reached, as concurrence was practically unanimous after we had reached an agreement. The Indians were unanimous in desiring those of their people who reside on the ceded tract to come within the diminished reservation, and those of said Indians residing on the ceded tract who were present in the council announced their intention to remove within the reduced reservation, and thus announced their election in open council.
Payment for the improvements of those abandoning their locations on the ceded tract, also for removal of their dead, is to be made by the Indians of the reservation to the respective claimants, as provided by Article 1 of the agreement, after full discussion of the matter as shown by the minutes of the councils. The following is a list of Indians belonging on the Red Lake Agency now residing on the ceded tract who will remove to the diminished reservation, viz:
1 As sin e wa cum ig ish king. 2 Kay she bah o sake. 3 Ain du o ke zhig. 4 Ke ne we guah nay aush. 5 Pe waush. 6 Way oon dah Cumigish king. 7 Nah wah cumig.... 8 Omah yah wah je waib.. 9 May zhuske e ans se gaik. 10
Sho ne yah quay, 11 Bay baum e ke zhig waish king 12 Shay nah wish king. 13 | Kah pe she shish. 14 Nah gah nah quah ung.. 15 Gay bay gah bow. 16 Bay de dway we dung. 17 Kah ke gay ke zhig ..
Shah wun ah cum ig ish king 19 Undah wah we zoonce. 20 O mush kow ah cumig oke. 21 Mis quah dais aince. 22 Kah ke gay be nise..
23 She na we yah bow eke.
Be wah be co we nay..
2 2 3 2
My trip by team from Thief River Falls to Red Lake Agency, about 26 miles of by which was through the ceded tract and the Indians residing thereon being located along or adjacent to the road, I was enabled to see most of their houses and character of improvements, and estimated them at an average of $100 each—$4,200 for the improvements of the 42 families to be paid to the said persons in proportion to the value of their respective improvements, some of which are not worth to exceed $25, others $50, others $100, while some of them are worth $300. To this $4,200 is to be added $800 for payment of removal of the dead to the diminished reservation, who are buried within the ceded tract; which payment for improvements and removal of the dead to be paid for by the Indians through their agent out of the first payment made to them from the proceeds of the cession.
I regard the agreement as fair and just and the best that could be concluded with the Indians; that the manner of payment provided is best for the Indians of any that could be devised that they would consent to; that it is also in the interests of the service, and I respectfully recommend its approval. Minutes of councils transmitted herewith. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. Indian Inspector. The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, D. C.
PROCEEDINGS OF A COUNCIL HELD BY JAMES MCLAUGHLIN, UNITED STATES INDIAN
INSPECTOR AT RED LAKE AGENCY, MINN., WITH THE CHIPPEWA INDIANS BELONGING ON THE RED LAKE RESERVATION, MINN., WITH REFERENCE TO THE CESSION OF THE WESTERN PORTION OF THEIR RESERVATION.
Council convened March 4, 1902, at 1 o'clock p. m., with about 120 Indians in attendance. Peter Graves interpreting,
R. E. L. DANIEL, clerk in charge of agency. My friends, it is with very great pleasure that I introduce to you Mr. James McLaughlin, United States Indian inspector, who comes among you representing the United States Government on business which he himself will explain to you. I desire further to congratulate you upon having Mr. McLaughlin, a man who has spent his life among the Indians and whose knowledge of your people, your interests, and your needs is greater than any other man whom it has been my good fortune to meet in Indian work; arid as your friend, for your own welfare, I ask you to consider well what he will say to you in this council.
Inspector McLAUGHLIN. My friends, an act of Congress of March 3, 1901, authorized the Secretary of the Interior, 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 ratifications by Congress, and I, being one of the United States inspectors, have been sent here by the Secretary of the Interior to negotiate with you Indians of the Red Lake Agency for a portion of your reservation, which portion it is believed you do not need, and from which you are deriving no benefit. The tract of land that I am directed to negotiate for is the western portion of your reservation, and is situated in 19 townships, only 7 of which are full townships, the other 12 being fractional, lying along the boundary lines. The total acreage of the tract referred to is 256,152.28 acres, which is only a little over 11 full townships, about 11f townships.
The tract of land that our negotiations will include is that portion of your reservation lying in Red Lake County, situated west of the boundary line between Red Lake and Beltrami counties, which line is about 14 miles in a direct line west from the most westerly point of Red Lake, as shown by the sectional maps prepared from the Government survey. The entire tract has been surveyed, and we therefore know the actual acreage that it contains, which is, as I have already stated, 256,152.28 acres. Plats showing the acreage of each of said townships and fractional townships have been furnished by the surveyor-general of Minnesota, and I have them with me; there is therefore no guesswork of approximate acreage, but we know the actual acreage as ascertained by survey.
Your present reservation approximates 800,000 acres, and the cession by you of the portion referred to would leave you about 544,000 acres, which is more than
ample for your needs. In order to obtain a personal knowledge of the land, I came here by way of Thief River Falls, and therefore drove through about the middle of the tract from west to east, a distance of about 26 miles, and thus obtained a very general knowledge of the character of the country and quality of the land, and my trip across the country, together with what I have learned from persons familiar with it convinces me that the greater portion of that land is good agricultural land, but there is considerable low, damp land, also some marshes, which portions are of comparatively little value unless the lands can be successfully drained.
There is also very little timber of any commercial value upon the tract; it is true there are numerous groves of small trees, mostly poplar, with some scattering small sized oak, which would provide abundance of fuel for settlers, also some material for log houses, but the chief value of that portion of your reservation lies in its being agricultural land.
I am not talking disparagingly of that tract, for I regard it above the average quality of land in such a low and comparatively level section of country, I simply say that it is not all good land, containing as it does, some marsh and damp land, and that the timber upon it is of very little commercial value, so that in considering the price per acre that the entire tract should bring, these facts should not be overlooked.
In the first place; I desire to ascertain your wishes, as to whether or not you are willing to dispose of this tract and if you consent to its cession we will then take up the question of price and manner of payment.
Now, my friends, I am here to get an expression from you as to your wishes in this matter, and having some discretionary powers vested in me by the Secretary in negotiations of this character, I will meet you fairly as to price and conditions of payment, but I desire to impress upon you that any agreement concluded by us has to be ratified by Congress before it is binding upon either the Indians or the United States, and must therefore be in accordance with the policy of the Government. Many of you doubtless understand the status of Indian-reservation lands, but that all of you may know, I will explain to you the nature of the Indian title to lands. The right of Indians to their reservations is that of occupancy alone; the vested right is in the United States, subject only to the right of occupancy by the Indians. This applies to reservation lands that are unallotted and held in common as your Red Lake Reservation lands are; allotted lands are different; they belong to the allottee and are held in trust for him or her by the Government for the period of twenty-five years from the date of allotment, and are exempt from taxation during the trust period, after which the allotment belongs to the allottee, with the right to do what he pleased with it.
Indian reservation lands held in common by Indians can not be sold or disposed of except to the United States; and while the fee or vested right to the lands is in the United States the right of the Indians to the occupany is as sacred as that of the Government to the fee. Indians have a right to the use of their reservation and benefits of what it produces, whether from the results of their own labor or of natural growth, so that they do not commit waste. They are therefore simply tenants for life, having free use of the lands during their lives, and the same right passes down to their children and grandchildren, if not sooner relinquished to the Government, but, as I said before, they can not sell any such lands except to the United States, which sale is called extinguishment of the Indian title, and it is for the extinguishment of your title to the western portion of your present reservation that I am now here to negotiate with you.
My friends, the surplus lands of every Indian reservation will sooner or later be opened to settlement, and it is only a question of time until such will be consummated. It is coming as sure as the day succeeds the night, and the best course for Indians to pursue in every such instance is to make the best bargain possible in disposing of lands they do not need and provide for their wants from the proceeds. The Department who has charge of Indian affairs, and even the President who is our Chief Executive, are, owing to the pressing demand for homes for new settlers, powerless to prevent the opening of the surplus lands of Indian reservations, which the Indians do not actually need and can not make proper use of. Public opinion demands it and popular sentiment can not be overcome, and all that the Department can do in the matter is to protect the Indians by obtaining for them reasonable compensation for their surplus land. If you needed this tract of land that I am talking to you about it would be quite different, but you have no need of it and are deriving little or no benefit from it, and you old men should grasp the opportunity of profiting by the proceeds of its cession, which would provide for your comforts in your declining years; and you young men would thus be given a start that should, with reasonable industry on your part, place you in comfortable circumstances and on the road to independence.
It may be proper for me to state that I have made a great many agreements with Indians for the cession of lands during the past six years, and every agreement that I have made has been approved by the Department and ratified by Congress, except seven, which I have made the past year, which are now before Congress and will doubtless be ratified during the present session, and every agreement that I have made has been carried out to the letter as written. I am exceedingly careful in wording agreements, avoiding ambiguous expressions, so as to leave no possible chance for misinterpretation or misunderstanding as to the meaning of any word, and I believe this to be the prinicpal reason why I am assigned to this class of work. I am also very particular in the wording of my agreements so as to properly protect the Indians and the Government in the transaction. This is my first visit to the Chippewa country. I have never visited any of the Chippewa agencies before, although I know of the Chippewa very well and have met many of your people in the past, and many of you doubtless know of me, and those of you who have heard of me must have learned that I am a firm friend of the Indians, having been continuously among the Indians in an official capacity for over thirty years, and I am glad to be here among you Red Lake Chippewas to negotiate with you for this tract of land. We have met as friends and we must discuss this matter in a friendly way, and if we can not reach an agreement we will part as friends, so that if we ever meet again it will be as friends. I am in a position to give you a good bargain and will meet you fairly upon any reasonable proposition. I wish to add that in case we conclude an agreement for that tract of land, those now residing thereon may take allotments where they now reside, or they may abandon those locations and remove within the diminished reservation, which latter course I would regard much the better for them, in which event a provision would be made in the agreement allowing them a fair price for the improvements that they would thus be obliged to leave on the portion ceded. I have now explained the object of my presence here at this time and any of you desiring to speak I will be glad to listen to you, but if you desire time to consider the matter we will adjourn for that purpose. I am here to treat with you for the tract of land I have described, and will not hurry you in your deliberations, but will give you all the time you need to discuss the matter among yourselves. If you are not ready to reply now, I will hold myself in readiness to respond to your call and will meet you at any time you notify me to appear to receive your reply, or answer any questions regarding the matter which you may wish to know. I will now hear anything you wish to say, or we will adjourn for a time so as to give you an opportunity to consider the matter in council by yourselves, as having presented the matter for your consideration I am through for the present. Koi BAY No GIN. We have now heard you, what you came to see us for. These Red Lake Indians have now understood what your mission is. We do not propose to answer you just now, we want to hold a council here in this building. Mr. McLAUGHLIN. Very well, we will adjourn, and I will hold myself in readiness respond to your call at any time you send for me. I will be at Spear's Hotel or at the agency office. Council adjourned subject to call.
Council reconvened Tuesday evening, March 4, 1902, at 7.45 o'clock.
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. I am advised that you have sent for me, and I am ready to hear anything you have to say.
Koi BAY No GIN. We have authorized Mays ko ko nay ay, one of our chiefs, to speak to you for us.
MAYs ko Ko NAY Ay. My friend, I will now tell you what all of us Indians here want me to say to you. The mission that you have come upon I don't mean to be contrary to. There are lots of matters behind that is blocking me, which the Government has done to me. When any official has been sent here to see me the . talk they make to me is very nice and I have been cheated every time, and the Government is the one that has been sending these parties to me. I have been looking in that direction and expecting our wishes fulfilled and to receive what we have been promised. I know what has been promised me, and I know that the Government owes me considerable. I am still looking for those promises that the Government has made and expect them, and therefore I don't accept and we will not agree to what you propose. When the Government comes and hands me what has been promised me, and I know what the Government owes me, then I will consider. I am in fear now. The Government has caused me to be distrustful, and that is why your mission is a failure.