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time, are these: That out of some 11,000 or 12,000 Chippewa Indians in Minnesota, approximately that, probably 25 or 30 per cent of these have severed their relations, not with the tribe, but have gone into other States and quit the business of being Indians so that perhars two-thirds are now residents of Minnesota, yet practically 11,000 or 12,000 Chippewa Indians have been provided for each year in annual appropriations out of the principal fund now held in the Treasury for the benefit and in trust for the Indians, probably 90 per cent of those Indians are as competent as are the white people of Minnesota. Following the agreement of 1889, which was ratified by the several bands, and therefore by all the Chippewas, and became in fact an agreement. By that agreement it was provided that the lands should be classified exclusively as timber and agricultural lands and members of the tribe given allotments out of the land.
The Chippewa Indians ceded all they then claimed in Minnesota to the United States, a sufficient amount being held back to make allotments on the White Earth and Red Lake Reservations on the lands ceded those who so desire could take their allotments on land where they were then living if they wished, but all the lands unallotted to the individual members of the tribe were to be disposed of, the amount received to be paid into the Treasury in trust for the Indians and all other amounts received for lands sold under the homestead or other acts to be put into the Treasury in trust for the Indians. The present situation is that instead of being administered for all alike, the Red Lake band of Chippewas, of which there are about 1,500, have received certain special benefits out of that part which was to be held in reserve in the Red Lake Reservation over and above the benefits received by all other members of the tribe from the general fund.
The CHAIRMAN. Was that by reason of allotments or sales?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. By reason of sales. The greater part of the lands ceded to the Government was sold elsewhere than on Red Lake and was put into the Treasury and went to the benefit of all. Now, this is not solely a contest between the Red Lake and the Chippewa Indians at all
. The Red Lake Indians are perhaps more in need of legislation of this kind than the others because they are less advanced, because they have been kept segregated; kept and held as Indians, while the Indians on the White Earth Reservation are perhaps no different from white people in that section of the State. In fact, their people intermingle with the whites and you can not tell when you get on the White Earth Reservation or off it, alike are they except in so far as Indian affairs are concerned. But on the Red Lake Reservation they still live as reservation Indians, and I believe instead of making progress, from what I have been told, instead of making progress they are in a state of retrogression. There are about 1,500 of them, and because of the effect of the control of the Indian Bureau-I am not criticizing the Indian Bureau at all, because I think they are honest in their purpose—something should be done for these Red Lake Indians.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. Ellsworth, I want to get this into the record through you. What part of the Chippewa Indians does this delegation here this morning represent? There are apparently two sides of this question, and have always been since I have known anything about Indian affairs. Now, what part of the Chippewa
Indians does this delegation here this morning represent? Tell us about that, will you?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. There has been some contention in years past about the authority of certain members to represent the tribe. There was a time at which, as I understand it, the bureau disputed the authority of those who now constitute the general counsel of the Chippewa Indians to represent the majority of those who constituted the council or their predecessors. It is my understanding that last summer they were specifically recognized by letter from Hon. Cato Sells, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, as having authority to represent the Chippewa Indians in tribal affairs. Now, just as prior to an election anywhere else in our country, there were certain factions against those who are elected, as it should be if it is a true and free democracy.
The CHAIRMAN. You stated that the Chippewa Indians approximate about 12,000. Now, what part of that 12,000 does this delegation here this morning represent?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. Do you mean by that how many participated in the election?
The CHAIRMAN. Not only those who participated, but those who participated and represent somebody.
Mr. ELLSWORTH. I should say they represent the whole Chippewa tribe. These men represent all the Chippewas.
The CHAIRMAN. The reason I asked this question is that there is another party to this question who have asked for a hearing,
Mr. ELLSWORTH. There is absolutely no objection to any one who takes an interest in Indian affairs in Minnesota having a full hearing.
The CHAIRMAN. Then this committee, as I understand it, this delegation appearing here this morning represents the full band, and is appearing here represented by counsel and this committee is supposed to listen to them with the thought and belief that they are the legally elected representatives of the Chippewas? You stated a few moments ago that there was no contest between the Red Lake Band and other bands of Chippewa Indians. Is there any contest between any of the bands, or is there any, contest at all on this legislation ?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. I should not have stated that there is no contest. What I intended to say was when I spoke of this matter of contest between the bands, that that was primarily the purpose of this legislation.
Mr. Elston. Has the Minnesota delegation in Congress agreed upon this legislation ? Mr. ELLSWORTH. I can not say.
The CHAIRMAN. Are all these gentlemen here this morning on one side of the case or on two sides?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. I can not tell you that until they testify; I do not know.
The CHAIRMAN. We are here this morning for the purpose of listening to the duly elected representatives of the Chippewa Indians. The other side, if there is another side, it will be heard later.
Mr. ELSTON. How much is involved in this claim, Mr. Ellsworth? Mr. ELLSWORTH. There are many, many different things. If you will allow me to proceed, this was not a matter of contest between the two bands, but a matter of settling their estate and referring to the Court of Claims for determination their claims against the Government. The general purpose of this legislation is this: To take all the tribal lands and all the lands ceded remaining unsold and dispose of them; to settle all contested claims between the different bands of Chippewas; all claims between the United States Government and the Chippewas; and all claims between the United States and the State of Minnesota and to wind up as nearly as possible all the affairs of the Chippewa Indians and put them out in the world on their own responsibility, giving them what money is coming to them and having them look out for themselves in the future. It contemplated the naming of a commission; one to be named by the President of the United States; one by the Secretary of the Interior, and one by the general counsel of the Chippewa Indians. That commission which is provided for to be appointed in this bill is first to make rolls of the Chippewa Indians and add to the rolls all those who ought to have their names on the rolls and entitled to an allotment of land or to participate in the division of the trust funds held by the United States for the Indians, which contemplates children born since, and whose names are not on the rolls. They would first regularly do all this outside the Red Lake Band, and as there has never been an authentic roll of the Red Lake Band at all, would make a roll of the Red Lake Band and show who are entitled to receive the benefits when the allotments are made.
Mr. CARTER. There has never been any roll of the Red Lake Chippewas?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. There has been but it is not complete.
Mr. CARTER. They are operating at present under a treaty which expires in 50 years
Mr. ELLSWORTH. Yes.
Mr. ELLSWORTH. January 14, 1889, Nelson act. Then this commission is to make a roll of the incompetents. A great objection to winding up Indian affairs has always been this, and there is good reason to believe it might occur; an incompetent Indian parts with his land for little or nothing. It gets into the hands of white men and opens the way for fraud. That is the great objection, if there is any objection, and so in this bill it is attempted to provide against fraud and require that this commission of three make a roll of the incompetent Indians, children, etc., and to make allottments to the rest of the Indians and then to the incompetent Indians. After doing that they are supposed to prepare a list of the incompetent Indians to provide against fraud and file the list with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and a certified copy of that list in every recording office in each county where allottments are made so that everyone who deals in the Indian land can obtain a record in the county in which the said list is filed and so learn whether or not the Indian is an incompetent and so be put upon his guard. It provides a precaution where they have been adjudged competent afterwards and seek to convey, and in order to convey they must have an acknowledgement before a notary, or a court of record, so that someone having authority would be on record as to the validity and bona fides of the proposed transaction. Then as to schools this bill provides -now the present situation is that under the agreement of 1889 most of the timber lands sold and most of the money at interest yields about $300,000,
or 5 per cent per annum, and of that one-fourth is to be devoted entirely to school purposes.
It is not the desire in this bill that while providing—and I might speak of the other first, as it provides $300 to be set aside and paid to them individually at this time or within a short time after this bill becomes a law-it is not the desire that the schools shall in any way suffer. It is believed that if you take away the Indian schools, the Indian in one year or two years would be assimilated in the public schools of America, no doubt, and there is no objection anywhere to their going into the public schools and it would probably make better citizens of them. It is not the desire of this bill to take
from the bureau their right to the $75,000, which is the amount provided under the act of 1889 for the benefit of the schools. It also provides that those amounts which may be taken for schools shall be onefourth of all of the interest on funds left in the Treasury and in addition to that amount a fair share of the principal if not sufficient to make up the $75,000. Then this bill in addition proposes that the school buildings and school property be transferred to the State of Minnesota, the State of Minnesota to take care of the school business. Now, up in that country you will find in the reservations large bodies of reservation lands which should be disposed of, and this bill provides for the selling of all timber and agricultural lands and the payment of $300 per capita, to be paid to the individual Indians. They propose that town sites be platted; not to exceed 320'or 640 acres, and those who now have improvements on what is to be platted have six months preference to buy the lot; thus providing for the maintaining of villages now established in that country. This bill carries an appropriation of $15,000 for the general council for the work they do. It is worth that, and if it was provided that they receive $15,000 each it would not be sufficient to compensate them for the work done in supervising all this work in behalf of their tribe.
The CHAIRMAN. That is outside this commission?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. Yes; outside the commission itself. Now, the courts must determine the ownership of the swamp lands. The surveyor general, in making the surveys, mapped the land as agricultural, swamp, and timber lands, and included probably 1,400,000 acres as swamp lands, much of which was agricultural and timber. Under the swamp-land donation act of 1860, upon application the State of Minnesota procured 700,000 acres of which I have forgotten the features, but Mr. Ballinger will explain that point. It is proposed here to authorize the Attorney General of the United States to institute suit against the State of Minnesota to recover the swamp lands patented by the United States to that State, or the value of the lands sold. Then it is proposed to refer to the Court of Claims and give jurisdiction to the Court of Claims to determine and make an accounting between the Government and the Chippewa Indians of the amount taken out of the Chippewa funds for the alleged purpose of support and civilization; to determine what such moneys have been devoted to support and civilization, and make an accounting between the Government and the tribe of the amounts devoted to other purposes which, under the act, were not actually for support or civilization. It is then proposed also to refer to the Court of Claims all other claims. It then provides for the determination of the ownership of the funds received from the sale of property on the Red
Lake Reservation, and holds these funds apart from the general funds that go to all others, including the Red Lake, and for a general accounting between all the Chippewas and especially between the Red Lake Band and the other Chippewas. It then provides general jurisdiction and proposes to refer to the Court of Claims all claims arising out of all transactions had between the Government and the Indians.
The CHAIRMAN. A blanket authority to sue for anything?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. I would not say that, because I do not think that anything of that kind will be needed. It is authority to get a general accounting for the tribe of all things concerning their lands and tribal funds, especially between the Government and the tribe, the State and the tribe, and the State and the Government.
The CHAIRMAN. Would it be possible to define in the bill these items for each individual claim to be put in?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. I think the authority given covers that now.
Mr. ELSTON. Was this bill drawn up under the direction of the Indian Bureau ?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. No. I am glad you asked that question. It is perfectly apparent that there is not a single man in Minnesota to-day who thoroughly understands the Chippewa Indian affairs. It is perfectly apparent that outside the Indian Bureau, and aside from Mr. Ballinger down here in Washington, no one can give all the technicalities which have to do with the Chippewa Indian affairs in Minnesota and the history of the tribe and the litigation going on before 1889 and all the regulations and rulings of the Indian u. I would not attempt for a minute to say I could thoroughly explain all these things.
The CHAIRMAN. I wish you would read section 9. Mr. ELLSWORTH. Section 9 reads as follows: That the Attorney General of the United States is hereby authorized and directed to institute a suit in the Supreme Court of the United States against the State of Minnesota for the value of all lands and timber thereon ceded to the United States in trust under the provisions of the act of January 14, 1889 (25 Stat. L., p. 642), and which were subsequently patented to the State of Minnesota upon the erroneous assumption by the administrative officers of the United States that the State was entitled thereto under the provisions of the laws of the United States relating to the donation of swamp and overflowed lands to certain States, and the moneys recovered from the State of Minnesota shall be deposited in the principal fund of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota standing to their credit in the Treasury of the United States.
The rest simply provides how suit shall be instituted, the scope of it is very narrow, simply provides for the institution of any suit by the Chippewa Indians against the Government.
The CHAIRMAN. It must be within that agreement?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. Yes, sir; it must be within the agreement. I. have a petition here which I would like to submit at this hearing. This petition is signed by Indian boys who were in France helping fight the battles of this country, and I must confess that while introducing a petition of this kind is entirely aside from argument or debate on the merits of the proposition, that this feature does appeal to me. That if from the body politic these boys or men of the Chippewa Indians of Minnesota took their places with the rank and file of the citizens of this country to help fight its battles, if they want to receive the benefits of what we say is the great democracy, it seems to me that here and now in this committee of the House of