« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
There are some that are and some that are not. The question then is would you turn over the management of the affairs of those who are not advanced enough to those that are advanced and as shrewd business men as there are in the country; whether it would not be like turning the lamb over to the wolf.
Mr. RHODES. Has the time come when the affairs of this tribe should be turned over to the tribe itself or should the Government still continue to exercise dominion over them?
Mr. STEENERSON. That is also based upon an erroneous assumption, in my mind. You say turn over to the tribe itself. The work of all this legislation for the past 16 years has been to wipe out the tribal relations and make them American citizens, and still for the purpose of this thing you are going to recognize the tribal Indians. As long as there are tribal relations, it seems to me that the United States is the guardian and must manage the affairs. I never heard of the tribal relations being continued after the purpose for which it exists has ceased. This council seems to represent the tribes.
Mr. RHODES. Do you think the time has come when the Government ought to wind up the affairs of these Indians-discharge them?
Mr. STEENERSON. Some of them, most emphatically.
Mr. STEENERSON. I don't know, I don't think so, as to the Minnesota Chippewas. Of course they have authority to grant a man a certificate that he is competent to dispose of his property, but there should be, perhaps, some further legislation on relieving these competent Indians from Government jurisdiction, and when they are relieved they should not be at the same time taking charge of the furloughed Indians who are incompetent.
Mr. RHODES. Then your opinion is, as a whole, that they have not reached the point where they should be adjudged competent ?
Mr. STEENERSON. I don't think that the Red Lake Indians, with whom I have had more to do than any other tribe—I don't think they are competent. I don't believe they think so themselves. They think that these same White Earth Indians will come up there and get the best of them. That has been the burden of their song every time I have seen them. They say, “Don't give the White Earth Indians a chance any more to beat us, the same as they handled the affairs of the White Earth.”
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Steenerson, Mr. Meritt desires to make a short statement here with regard to the questions Mr. Rhodes has just been asking, thinking there has been some misunderstanding which he would like to clear up.
Mr. MERITT. I did not want to create the impression in the mind of any member of the committee that in recognizing the general council, we converted any administrative jurisdiction on that council whatever. We would oppose absolutely the general council having any administrative functions over the Indians of the Chippewa country, and I think that Mr. Steenerson has expressed very clearly what would happen if that were done.
The CHAIRMAN, Now, Mr. Steenerson, a moment ago you suggested the sending of a commission up there on the ground. Now, I just want to call your attention to the fact that in 1892 the Government sent out the best man in the service at that time, and a con
cededly able man, to make an agreement, which agreement was made, which was supposed at that time to straighten out the difficulties for the future, and in reality it is the difficulty that is here before us to-day—that very agreement which was so made. Now, what reason would we have to expect that we, if we sent another commission there, that it would be any more efficient in bringing about a more satisfactory agreement than that one? Mr. STEENERSON. Well, I did not suppose that you were havin in mind a commission to make contracts with the Indians. What had in mind was an inspector, or somebody to go up there and find out the facts that are in dispute here. The CHAIRMAN. That same thing has occurred to practically every member of this committee, but it seems hopeless because there are so many conflicting interests and it seems to me that we will never be able to get legislation that will work out satisfactorily to all the parties. Mr. STEENERson. Well, the question was asked me about the representatives of the Red Lake Indians claiming to represent 85 and the council representing 15, and I was asked to express my views on that, and I told them I did not know what percentage each one represented, and that the question, if it was necessary to determine it, should be found out by an investigation on the ground. The CHAIRMAN. When the council comes down here, you mean you recognize it as containing the ablest men among the Indians, and then the Red Lake Band comes here with a representation which probably is as representative of the higher type of men of the band—as high type members of the band as you could get together—and why is not the testimony that we would get from them just as competent as any that we could get from anybody else, even if we could be up there 2 Mr. STEENERSON. Then the question before you is a question of credibility, which side is right and which side is wrong? The CHAIRMAN. That is the only way it seems to me that this committee can operate, and if it does do anything, it must legislate upon the best information it can get. Mr. STEENERSON. Well, I believe that you could, by sending an inspector up there, you could find out where the truth was as between those two statements. The CHAIRMAN. Well, perhaps you could. Is there anything further you desire to say on the question ? Mr. STEENERSON. No; I did not prepare for this occasion. The CHAIRMAN. Do you want to give us a final word in conclusion as to what you think you should do with regard to this legislation now Ż Mr. STEENERSON. No; I don’t think I am competent to do that. I was only aware of this bill yesterday, and I understand now it is not really the last version of the bill, but I saw at once that it would affect adversely the interests of northern Minnesota. It would tie up the titles, and the bill provides, I think, for adding names to the list of Chippewa Indians. While I have lived there now all of these 40 years, P have never heard of any occasion for bringing in any new Indians on this roll. They took a census under the Nelson Act of everybody, and it seems to me that would open a very wide door, and
then they would have perhaps 400 or 500 claiming they belonged to that and admit them, and then each would get 160 acres of these lands here. That seems to be an unsafe proposition. I would rather leave that to the Interior Department, and they have to determine the applications in addition to the rolls there. I should think that would be a very dangerous proposition. I only came here because I thought this would adversely affect the interests of that whole country, not only the Indians but the advancement of the whole region there and indirectly affect the Indians.
The CHAIRMAN. When you say this, you refer to proposed legislation ?
Mr. STEENERSON. Yes; beclouding all of these titles. I would rather have it proceed under existing law.
Mr. RHODES. Before Mr. Steenerson goes, I would like to ask Mr. Meritt one question, if he can answer it. Would you state briefly, Mr. Meritt, just how far the department goes in recognizing the action of this general council in the affairs of the tribe?
Mr. MERITT. We simply recognize the general council to the extent of making recommendations. Our experience has been that the general council are making recommendations that are opposed by a very large percentage of the Chippewa Indians, and are against the best interests of a large percentage of those Indians. We will consider their recommendations at any time, but we will oppose vigorously any lesislation that would place administrative functions in that general council.
Mr. RHODES. Then you do not rely upon the general council for your information in dealing with all questions affecting the tribe?
Mr. MERITT. We do not, and under no circumstances would we do it.
Mr. RHODES. Then, what are some of the questions on which you get information from other sources ?
Mr. MERITT. We get information from the superintendents of the reservation, also from all Indians of the Chippewa country who are constantly writing the çndian Bureau, and they have this right to
We are glad to have them furnish us any information. We also get information by sending inspectors in the Chippewa country, but, Mr. Rhodes, we want to make it perfectly clear that the general
uncil has no administrative functions and we would not permit with our consent that they should have.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, you simply consult with the council.
Mr. MERITT. We are glad to consult with them and glad to have their views, but their views are not controlling with the Interior Department by any means.
The CHAIRMAN. You would not want to state that you consider their recommendations on the same basis as the President considers the recommendations of the Secretary of State?
Mr. MERITT. I would not want to make any comment as to that statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Who is the next witness that desires to appear?
STATEMENT OF MR. FRANK B. BEAULIEU.
Mr. BEAULIEU. Mr. Chairman, my name is Frank B. Beaulieu. I live at White Earth, Minn.
I want to state here that the general council, with which I have been connected a good many years, has been the object of a lot of slurs and reflecting remarks upon the integrity of the people who compose—who are the leaders of this council-and it has gotten to such an extent that nearly everybody who don't know the situation hears from some one that has been displaced. It is what we call the minority comes in here and makes these statements. Now, I know Mr. Steenerson. He lives in my district, and I have worked hard for the man, and while I believe that he has done what I thought was best for the Indians while I have known him, I am amazed at his attitude this morning. I want to say that I take exception to a good many things he has said regarding the personnel of this council.
Now, we are here, and if Mr. Steenerson thinks there is anything wrong he ought to sit up right here at this table until it is over with. We always show our hand. We don't go behind in any way, and we have convinced the Indian Bureau within the last two years that a great number of the administrative services up there in the schools have been a waste of Chippewa funds and unnecessary, and on our recommendations those things have been abolished, and upon our recommendation great changes have taken place in the last three or
Now, I want to say I take exception myself, as one member of that legislative committee, to any remarks or insinuations that have been 'made here this morning. I think if Mr. Steenerson has any doubt about these things it is his duty to sit here at this table and listen to the discussion of this bill.
Mr. STEENERSON. What bill is it, the one introduced by Ellsworth?
Mr. BEAULIEU, Mr. Knutson's bill. Mr. Knutson introduced the bill. Ellsworth introduced the bill first.
Mr. STEENERSON. H. R. 12103 is the one I referred to.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order, and if Mr. Beaulieu has made the statement that he desires to make, we won't pursue that matter any further.
Mr. STEENERSON. No; I would like to say the bill I was talking about is this bill that was handed me yesterday. - The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Steenerson, if you are just going to attempt to answer his statement
Mr. STEENERSON. No; I am simply explaining that I have not read the other bill. He admits that I sit here—I don't-I had better go and read the bill before I criticize it. I understand this is not the bill you are considering.
The CHAIRMAN. In a measure we are considering a determination of the Ellsworth bill, and the results of the efforts of the council which has been in session here with the bureau.
Mr. STEENERSON. I suppose I may be permitted to say that I did not intend to reflect upon the gentlemen.
The CHAIRMAN. As chairman of the committee. I would like to say he does not cast any reflection upon the integrity of the council in any way. In fact, you spoke of them as being the most able men.
Mr. BEAULIEU. He said something about turning the sheep over to the wolves.
The CHAIRMAN. You ought not to take that too seriously. I think that was just a slip of the tongue. Gentlemen, we will conduct the hearing in a regular way, with quietness, or we will adjournit—one or the other. We will at least ask the spectators to pay us the compliment of letting us proceed in an orderly way. Mr. KELLY. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask Mr. Beaulieu, a member of this general council, a question or two. - The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Beaulieu, we would like to have you come over here as a witness. - - - Mr. KELLY. You are a member of the general council of the Chippewa Tribe - - o BEAULIEU. I am. Mr. KELLY. How is that council elected 2 Mr. BEAULIEU. This so-called general council was incorporated as a voluntary association in 1913, in May, at Cass Lake, Minn. In Minnesota we have—we had at one time 11 different tribes or bands that were all of the Chippewas of Minnesota, but there are 11 bands living at different points. It was difficult in those days to get legislation. We were trying for years to get certain legislation to correct conditions up there. One band would send a delegate down and another band would send a delegate down, and there was all conflicting views when we got to Washington, so we never got anywhere; so we conceived the idea that these bands ought to all get together in one body, similar to Congress, where all the conflicting views could be heard in the meeting and discussed, so that the majority might arrive at a proper conclusion and a proper course to take with legislation, or for anything that might be for the welfare of the Chippewa Indians. This council, as I say, was organized in May, 1913. A call was sent out to each reservation, requesting that they send delegates. Mr. KELLY. That included the Red Lake Indians? Mr. BEAULIEU. That included the Red Lake Indians, White Earth, Cass Lake, Portage, and others. I was in school at that time. Mr. KELLY. And the call was sent out to the reservation ? Mr. BEAULIEU. Yes. They met and they discussed the advisability of forming this council. ... " . KELLY. How were the representatives elected in the various tribes? Mr. BEAULIEU. On each reservation a local council was held, at which all of the Indians on that reservation were notified that on a certain date delegates would be selected to send to this general council to be held. So the local reservation—for instance, White Earth was notified that they should send delegates. I do not think at that time there had been any special number of delegates that were selected to be sent from each reservation. Each reservation sent so many, but the organization met with these various delegates and formed the constitution and the by-laws. Then after the constitution and bylaws were formulated and agreed upon by the council, the representation was this, that every band or tribe should have one delegate for every hundred or a fraction thereof of population on their local reservations. For instance, the White Earth reservation, which is the largest reservation in Minnesota, has somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,200 Indians; so they will be entitled to one delegate for