Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

Mr. ELSTON. I think that Mr. Goslin has read the bill, and he desires to take the bill, would like to read it over and take it back to the council, and then tell us what they want. That should be done immediately, and we will expect when this March 1 hearing is held, to have some information on the subject.

Mr. GRAVES. I wish to tell Mr. Beaulieu that I have a copy of the bill and it is not my purpose to say anything with regard to the Minnesota Indians. Being from the State of Wisconsin, I do not see that it has anything to do with the Minnesota Indians.

Mr. ELSTON. I will tell you gentlemen, for these delegates here now, what we want to have, if you have any objections, specific objections, not general objections. Anybody can object generally. Anybody can find a little bit of fault with anything. We want you to bring specific instances here and we want to get right down to the bottom of the thing, and we want you gentlemen to come back here and say exactly what you want. We want you to consider this thing, and act like ordinary people, and we want to know what the majority think about this. When we get the facts we want to do the right thing, and we are going to do the fair thing, but somebody is going to be disappointed, if we are going to do anything at all. Now, we want you to come here and tell us just about as near as you can what ought to be done, and we will take it up from that standpoint.

Mr. Goslin. I just volunteered as an interpreter for the Indians, because they did not have anybody here from Minnesota, and that is why I offered my services in connection with this.

Mr. ELSTON. I think you have done very well, Mr. Goslin. What you ought to do is not to encourage these people to deal in small petty matters. Now, get at this thing and find out what it means, and come back here and tell us just exactly what it means. We have got a pretty fair idea of it to-day, and we will consider it pretty thoroughly.

(Whereupon, at 12.10 o'clock p. m., the committee adjourned.)

COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

Monday, March 8, 1920. The committee on this day met.

The CHAIRMAN. The time set for this hearing has arrived. We are here to listen to the statements of the authorized representatives upon and to consider bill No. 12103, which is a measure formulated for the closing up of many of the matters of the Chippewas of Minnesota. A few weeks ago members of various interests in that section of the country came before this committee to be heard on these matters, and it was decided that, as there were so many viewpoints, it would be well for all of the interests to consult with each other with a view to coming before the committee at this time with a unified arrangement, if possible, so that there might be less conflict in the interests of all parties concerned. The chairman has been presented this morning with a proposed bill for closing up these matters, but having so recently received it he has barely had the time to read it, and believes that it would be just as well, under the

circumstances, to listen to those who are here in authority with regard to the issues of all of the different interests there. With that end in view we are now ready to open the hearing and to have those who desire to be heard qualify. It is my understanding that the authorized representative of the Chippewa band at the present time is Mr. Webster Ballinger. If I am correct in that and he qualifies he probably will be the first witness heard. If he is here we will hear him now. Mr. Ballinger, will you qualify yourself by stating who you are and whom you represent?

STATEMENT OF MR. WEBSTER BALLINGER.

Mr. BaLLINGER. Mr. Chairman, my name is Webster Ballinger. I am an attorney of this city. I am the authorized attorney of the Chippewa general council. I have not with me this morning the records of the general council as I left them with the Indian Bureau week before last; but in this connection and at this point I wish to ask the committee for leave to insert the authorization of the general council under which I appear here in this matter as well as in other matters for them.

The CHAIRMAN. Can you bring that with you at the next hearing ? Mr. BALLINGER. I will bring it with me at the next hearing:

The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. Ballinger, how much time will you require for yourself in this matter, without considering interrogations which may enter into the discussion, with regard to such remarks as you may desire to make ?

Mr. BALLINGER. Mr. Chairman, this is a matter that covers a long series of years. Questions will arise in connection with this bill that will have a bearing upon other matters that will come before this committee at a later date; and it is the desire, my desire, and the desire of my clients, that we present to you the real questions which have been causing friction between the department and the Indians, and in order to do that, Mr. Chairman, it will probably consume two days.

Mr. KELLY. Do you mean that it will require two days for your testimony alone, or two days for your argument and testimony? Mr. BALLINGER. Two days for my argument and testimony.

The CHAIRMAN. What do you mean by two days? It is the intention of the committee to hold these hearings from 10.30 o'clock to-day until 1 o'clock; then if it is agreeable to the members we will meet at 10 o'clock after that until the hearing is completed.

Mr. BALLINGER. Then, Mr. Chairman, I think that I can conclude by to-morrow, by adjournment to-morrow. That is, my statement and all the testimony that will be offered for the general council, it will take until adjournment to-morrow.

The CHAIRMAN. That will probably be agreeable; but I will ask you, in the whole history of the thing to make your remarks just as concise as you can. What we are interested in is to correct the errors of the past, if there were errors, or if there were conditions that existed years ago and are modified by the current of events, and I would ask that

you confine your argument as much as possible to what can be done to correct the situation as it exists to-day and not to detail too much of the history.

Mr. BALLINGER. Precisely, Mr. Chairman. It is my desire to present to you the wrongs that have long been inflicted upon the Chippewas and the remedy; and in order to do that it will be necessary to deal with sufficient of the facts to lay the basis.

The CHAIRMAN. All right, you can proceed.

Mr. BALLINGER. I want to make this request of the committee, that if during the course of my argument I go too much into detail I should be very glad to have a suggestion from the committee. It is my desire to shorten this as much as possible and simply to lay the basic facts before the committee so that you may have them for your guidance.

The CHAIRMAN. All right, now proceed. Mr. BALLINGER. Mr. Chairman, in the inception of this hearing H. R. 6461 was designated as the bill. Thereafter upon the request of Congressman Ellsworth, H. R. 9924 was substituted. On that day or a day or two afterwards Congressman Ellsworth presented H. R. 12103, which is the bill the department considered in connection with the substitutes the department has submitted; and, in that connection, there are two separate bills submitted by the department, one a jurisdictional bill and one dealing with the administrative features, and I was going to ask to have those bills introduced so that they might be available. Now, Mr. Chairman, since our last meeting the general council and the Indian Bureau have made a very earnest effort to get together upon the proposed legislation. H. R. 12103 has been carefully scrutinized by the Indian Bureau. No jokers have been found, but in connection with the consideration of that bill some fundamental differences have arisen which I may briefly state.

The first one is as to the manner in which this corrective legislation shall be finally enacted. The general council insists that as this · estate was created and this property put in trust in the hands of the United States under an express agreement that any changes or modifications of that agreement should be with the assent and approval of the Indians. They suggest that for two reasons: First, they believe tbat it is only fair to the Indians; and, second, they believe that legislation by Congress direct without the assent of the Indians might lay the Government of the United States liable for any claims that might arise out of it. It would at least leave open a serious legal question as to the power of Congress to deal with this estate in the exercise of its plenary power. Now, the Indian Bureau takes the position that Congress alone without the assent of the Indians has the absolute power to do with this estate as it sees fit. The Indians take issue with the department upon that question. Now, the second, and one of the most important questions deals with the Red Lake Reservation. The Red Lake Reservation is one of the remnants of the property that was dealt with under the agreement of 1889. That reservation stands intact to-day with the exception of a cession of 260,000 acres made in 1904. Upon that reservation the Indians are to-day residing in their old tribal condition.

Not an allotment has been made in 31 years, in absolute violation of the agreement of 1889, and the Indian Bureau insists that those Indians shall be continued in their present deplorable and pitiful condition, as I shall later describe. The general council, on the other hand, insists that those Indians should be given their allotment

shall be put upon their feet and shall be given the opportunity to make men and women of themselves. Now, Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the committee, I will now deal with this question of title to the Red Lake Reservation, for that is one of the questions upon which the greatest difference of opinion has thus far existed. Mr. Meritt, so that we may have absolutely no difference of opinion, the Indian Bureau will concede, will it not, that in 1854 the Chippewa Tribe of Indians owned their property in common, and that under the treaty of 1854 came the great division between the Chippewas of Lake Superior and the Chippewas of the Mississippi, which now constitute the Chippewas of Minnesota? I pause, with the permission of the committee, to find out whether there is any difference there:

Mr. MERITT. I do not care to make any statement or answer any questions at this time or make any concessions on the argument of Mr. Ballinger. I believe, Mr. Chairman, that I could save a little time for the committee by simply making a short statement at the beginning of this argument.

The CHAIRMAN. Is that agreeable to Mr. Ballinger?

Mr. BALLINGER. Anything that will shorten the hearing is agreeable to me.

Mr. Meritt. Mr. Chairman, under date of January 16, 1920, we submitted a report to the chairman of this committee, inclosing a copy of the jurisdictional bill, which would enable the Chippewa Indians to go to the Court of Claims on any controverted questions. This bill is so broad that they can go into the Court of Claims and submit all their alleged claims against the Government. I believe it will be admitted by Mr. Ballinger that this jurisdictional bill is reasonably satisfactory to the Chippewa Indians.

The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask right there: Does Mr. Ballinger admit that that bill is reasonably satisfactory to the Indians ?

Mr. BALLINGER. There are some changes to be made, Mr. Chairman. The CHAIRMAN. Well, then, it is not reasonably satisfactory.

Mr. MERITT. There are a few proposed changes in the bill that I think we can get together on; and in order that they may appear in the record I will ask that this report and the bill be printed at this time. The CHAIRMAN. The jurisdictional bill ? Mr. MERITT. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. If there is no objection the report to which Mr. Meritt refers may be printed at this time.

(The report of the Indian Bureau to the chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs under date of January 16, 1920, follows :)

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

Washington, January 16, 1920. MY DEAR MR. SNYDER: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of October 16, 1919, submitting for an expression of my views a copy of H. R. 9924, a bill to aid in winding up the affairs of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota.

That portion of the bill which relates to the closing of the affairs of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota is being considered and will be the subject of a later communication. I see no objection, however, at this time to conferring jurisdiction on the Court of Claims, under reasonable and fair restrictions and limitations, to hear, determine, and render judgment on such claims as the Indians have against the United States.

I have accordingly prepared and transmit herewith a draft of a proper jurisdictional bill, conferring jurisdiction on the Court of Claims, with right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, to hear and determine any and all claims which the Indians may have against the Government.

I see no objection to the enactment of the legislation herein proposed, and recommend that the draft of the bill submitted be substituted for H. Ř. 9924. Cordially, yours,

FRANKLIN K. LANE, Secretary. Hon. HOMER P. SNYDER, Chairman Committee on Indian Affairs,

House of Representatives.

A BILL Authorizing the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota to submit claims to the Court of Claims, and for

other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all claims of whatsoever nature which the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota may have against the United States, which have not heretofore been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, may be submitted to the Court of Claims for determination of the amount, if any, due said tribe from the United States under any treaty or agreement, or for the misappropriation of any of the funds of said tribe, or for the failure of the United States to lawfully administer the property of said Indians held by it in trust; and jurisdiction is hereby conferred upon the said Court of Claims, with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States by either party, to hear and determine all legal and equitable claims which said tribe, or any band thereof, may have against the United States, it being the intention of this act to allow the said Court of Claims unrestricted latitude in adjusting and determining the claims submitted hereunder, so that the rights, legal and equitable, both of the United States and said Indians, or any band thereof, may be fully considered and determined, and to render judgment thereon.

Sec. 2. That if any claim or claims be submitted to said court, it shall settle the rights therein, of each and all the parties thereto, notwithstanding lapse of time or statutes of limitation, and any payment which may have been lawfully made upon any claim so submitted shall not be pleaded as an estoppel, but may be pleaded as a setoff in such suit or suits, and the United States shall be allowed credit for any sum or sums, including gratuities

, heretofore paid or expended for the benefit of said tribe or any band thereof. The claim or claims of the tribe, or band or bands thereof, may be presented separately or jointly by petition or petitions, subject, however, to amendment; suit or suits to be filed within three years after the passage of this act; and such suit or suits shall make the petitioners party plaintiff and the United States party defendant, and any band or bands of said tribe may be joined therein as the court may order. Such petition or petitions shall set forth all the facts on which the claims for recovery are based, and shall be signed by the attorney or attorneys employed, as herein authorized, and no other verification shall be necessary. Letters, papers, documents, and public records, or certified copies thereof, bearing upon the claims presented, may be used in evidence, and the departments of the Government shall give the attorney or attorneys of said tribe, or bands thereof, access to any such letters, papers, documents, or public records for the purpose of making copies thereof, as such attorney or attorneys may deem necessary:

Sec. 3. That if it be determined by the Court of Claims in the suit or suits herein authorized that the United States Government has wrongfully appropriated or disposed of any lands belonging to the said tribe of Chippewa Indians, or any band thereof, damages therefor shall be confined to the value of the lands and timber thereon at the time of such appropriation or disposal, together with interest thereon at 5 per centum per annum from the date thereof, and the decree of the court with reference thereto shall annul and cancel all claim, right, and title of the said Chippewa Tribe, or any band thereof, in and to such lands and timber, and settle all damages for any wrongs or injuries, if any, committed by the Government of the United States with reference thereto.

SEC. 4. That upon the final determination of such suit or suits the Court of Claims shall fix and determine such fees as it shall deem fair and reasonable for the services rendered and moneys expended in the prosecution of such suit or suits, to be paid the attorney or attorneys employed therein by said tribe or bands of Indians under contract or contracts made and approved as provided by existing law; but in no event shall the fee or fees and expenses decreed by said Court of Claims be in excess of 10 per centum of the amount recovered. The fees and expenses decreed by the court to the attorney or attorneys of record shall be paid out of any sum or sums recovered in such suit or suits; and the proceeds of all amounts recovered, after the pay

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »