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We now have some sixteen families of Polanders settled bere since this reservation was thrown open, and excepting about three they are far inferior in civilization and Americanism to the average Indian. Under such conditions is there any wonder that the Indian is dissatisfied! Has he not a right to complain of injustice? While I believe in the full honesty of purpose in the present allotment law, and have no doubt of its wisdom as applied to many of the Indians, yet it is altogether too rigid, and in my judgment would conserve the best interest of the Indians if made more pliable, leaving a discretionary power with the honorable Commissioner to at least grant patents in fee simple to such Indians as bad shown a proper advancement. Still another evil of the system is the large amount of land coming into the hands of the few by the death of relatives, yet I am not prepared to say how this might be remedied to best advantage. Very respectfully,
T. JAY BUFORD,
LA POINTE INDIAN AGENCY,
Ashland, Wis., April 22, 1898. Mr. E. WHITTLESEY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioner's, Washington, D. C. SIR: I am in receipt of your communication of the 5th instant, asking to be informed as to the results of the policy of allotting lands in severalty to the Indians of this agency.
The following are my replies to the questions asked in your letter:
The lands on the reservations belonging to this agency are selected by the Indians for the pine upon it, and not taken by them for agricultural purposes. Some, however, have cleared up a part of their allotments and farm them to a very limited extent. After the pine is all cut and the proceeds used up, I think many of them will do better.
5. There is practically no leasing of their lands, owing to the fact that the timber is what they derivė their revenue from, and the land is unfit for grazing purposes and not cleared for farming.
6. The system of allotting lands in severalty meets my approval. It is the only way the Indians can be taken from under tribal government, which is the greatest draw back to civilization the Government has to contend with. It is only through ignorance and superstition that the chiefs are able to hold their people together and exact obedience to their mandates as supreme rulers. Such influence can not be otherwise than pernicious, and anything tending to change this condition is a step in the right direction.. The allotment of land in severalty, I believe, will in time wholly eradicate this influence. Pagan rites and ceremonies will gradually die out and the “medicine men” will only exist in memory. Very respectfully,
G. L. SCOTT,
WARM SPRING AGENCY,
Warmspring, Oreg., April 22, 1898. Hon. E. WHITTLESEY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioners, Washington, D.C. SIR: In reply to your letter of April 5, 1898, I have to report as follows: 1. Nine hundred and seventy-nine allotments. 2. Nine hundred and forty-eight patents issued. 3. The greater part of the Indians are residing on their allotments. 4. They are cultivating almost all lands susceptible to cultivation. 5. No leases upon this reservation.
6. It is my opinion that the allotting system will prove of the greatest advantage to all Indians, from the fact that the individual holding prompts them to greater industry, and to constructing and maintaining better improvements. In fact, I think it adds energy and self-reliance, and also prevents active leading men from dictating the possessions of individual Indians.
I find great objection among the Indians to accepting and receipting for their
JAMES L. CORRAN,
Fort Simcoe, Wash., April 19, 1898. Hon. E. WHITTLESEY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioners, Washington, D. C. Sir: As requested in your letter of April 5, asking me to report the results of the policy of allotting lands in severalty to Indians, and to answer questions from No.1 to 6
1. There has been 1,851 allotments made on this reservation, and there will be about 250 more made during this summer.
2. This office has received 1,812 what are termed patents. They are being delivered as fast as called for.
3, 4, 5, and 6 I will answer in a general way, as to answer direct without some explanation would be misleading. The number of Indians living on allotted lands, I will say practically all, but not on the land that has been allotted to them each individually, as it should be borne in mind, of the 1,851 allotments there are only about 500 men or heads of families, and a family of five or six may be living on one allotment where they have a house and some improved land.
This home for the family may be allotted to either mother or father of a family of five or six, but is used as a farm to support the family, while the mother and five children may have wild unimproved sagebrush land allotted to them in another part of the reservation or it may be adjoining the home place. So I will state there are about 500 families on the reservation, practically all living on lands allotted to some one of their family. They are farming and improving the home place, while the balance of the land allotted to them is not being improved or cultivated.
There are, of course, some exceptions, but as a rule this is the case. Nearly all of the heads of families have fenced and have some kind of a house on their farms, and are cultivating from 10 to 80 acres of land. Wheat and hay are the principal products. Nearly all raise a fairly good garden, where water for irrigation can be obtained. But little leasing has been done here, in fact none to speak of until this spring the Indians have leased some wild sagebrush land.
A great deal might be said in favor of the allotment policy; many good results follow, and also much trouble and difficult problems. No one can realize it so much as the agent on whose shoulders the load and responsibility rests, who is brought face to face with the difficult problems every day, as the Indians have no one to go to for advice, protection, or assistance of any kind, except the agent, and only a strong constitution can long stand the work of an agent that tries to do his duty. Especially here he has to look after the wants of the school, but I am wandering from the subject, and will refer to some of the difficulties facing us here.
Of the 1,851 allotments made on this reservation, of those there has at least 350 died since land was allotted to them. No correct record has been kept of deaths or births. Not a single estate has been settled according to the laws of the State or any other law. As the land can not be sold I do not see how the local courts can have any jurisdiction under the State law settling estates of deceased Indians.
It is a great expense to probate estates of white people, and even the most intelligent business men employ lawyers to see that their estates are properly probated, and after all costs are paid what is remaining after all to be divided up among the legal heirs. Indians can not do this even if they were educated to it. I do not believe the State courts have jurisdiction or can settle these matters unless they have power to order sale.
Under the allotment laws land can not be sold for twenty-five years. If the death rate continues at thọ rate of 125 per year, think what will be the condition of things at the end of ten years.
By what means will one be able to tell who is the rightful owners of the lands that have been allotted? I am now giving out the patents to the Indians; at least onehalf of them do not know or have forgotten their names they gave to the allotting agent.
When they ask for their patents they give an entirely different name from that designated in their papers or in the schedule of allotments.
They may want the patents for some deceased relative but do not know the name of the person, and the agent has to hunt it up. It often takes not only hours but days to ascertain for certainty by what name they were allotted.
I find the giving out of these patents and placing them in the hands of parties entitled to them is the hardest work I ever undertook to do. I am continually asking myself what will it be in twenty-five years when the final patents are issued ?
I am of the opinion that unimproved land belonging to minors and Indians that are not financially or physically able to improve their lands should be leased. I quote from my report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, July 28, 1893. I have not materially changed my views on the subject:
“The Indians have exercised in the most part great discretion in the selection of their land, the major portion being very desirable, arable lands, easily watered and
prepared for cultivation, and now the question arises, how best and most speedily to make these lands contribute to their support? To clear, fence, plow, and get water on the land will require some money, to say nothing about houses, barns, farming implements, fruit and shade trees. The larger portion of the Indians are very poor, having neither money or other requisites for improving or developing a farm.
“It would seem that some plan could be adopted, which, if properly executed, would enable them to their lands self-supporting and profitable; that is, a portion of their land should be made as capital for the immediate development and improvement of the remainder. It seems there are only two ways to accomplish this—that is, either to sell a portion or lease.
“Under the existing circumstances upon this reservation, I should favor leasing upon a plan that would enable them to lease a portion of their allotted lands for a term of from eight to ten years, for the improvement and development of the whole, or, in other words, the leasing for a term of years of 40 acres for the clearing, fencing, plowing, and irrigating of the 80 acres, and the 80 to revert and belong to the Indian exclusively at the expiration of the lease.
“I am satisfied leases could be made to responsible white men upon these terms, provided the leases could be made for a term of from seven to ten years. A three-years Iease upon this reservation is practically a probibition upon leasing unimproved lands upon any terms that would be of any benefit to the Indians. It is certain that in leasing unimproved land, covered as it is with sagebrush, and without water for irrigation or for house use, that the longer time for which the lease is granted the greater the compensation for the use of the land, and a more enterprising and desirable class of people could be induced to avail themselves of the opportunity of leasing lands upon a lease of from seven to ten years than upon term of three years, as under the present laws.
“I am so thoroughly imbued with the importance of this matter that if, under the existing laws, leases can be made for a longer period than three years, I would most earnestly recommend that the necessary legislation be obtained permitting Indians to lease their allotted lands, or at least a portion of them, for a term of not less than seven years, under such rules and restrictions as may be prescribed by the honorable Secretary of the Interior,
“Records.—Some provision should be made whereby the estate of a deceased Indian could be probatod, without going through the forms prescribed by the State law, as it will be a long time before the Indians can be educated to the importance of having clear titles to their lands; and if some steps are not taken in this direction at once, within a few years there will be an endless amount of trouble in the adjustment of estates of deceased Indians, as the Indians themselves will pay no attention to this matter until a dispute arises among the heirs as to the rightful ownership of the land.
“There is already too much devolving upon the agent to perform the duties now required of him to be burdened with this additional and important work. In fact, with the present limited force of employees allowed at this agency, it is utterly impossible for the agent to give this matter the attention its great importance demands. It seems there should be some person appointed and laws enacted regulating the administration of Indian estates, without expense to the heirs. Without some such provision is made and executed it is my opinion that the expected benefits which these people are to derive from the allotting of lands in severalty will, to a great extent, prove a failure.”
It should be borne in mind that I do not consider the conditions on all reservations the same as here. The lands on this reservation, with the exceptions of timber land in the mountains, can be classed as desert land, and must be irrigated to pro
To build ditches and place the land in condition, clearing, leveling, etc., entails an expense and an outlay of money and labor that is not required upon some other reservations. Respectfully submitted.
JAY LYNCH, United States Indian Agent.
PUEBLO AND JICARILLA AGENCY,
Santa Fe, N. Mex., April 18, 1898. E. WHITTLESEY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioners, Washington, D. C. Sir: In compliance with your letter of the 5th instant, I have the honor to inclose report of result of policy of allotting lands in severalty to Indians, so far as the Jicarilla Apache Indians at Dulce, N. Mex., are concerned, which evidently covers the grounds of your inquiry.
The Pueblo Indians under my charge have not been allotted lands in severalty, as they yet live in communities, as has been their custom for the past three hundred years, and it is probable such will be their system for some time to come. Very respectfully,
CHARLES L. COOPER, Captain, Tenth Cavalry, Acting Indian Agent.
Dulce, N. Mex., April 13, 1898. Capt. CHARLES L. COOPER, Tenth Cavalry, Acting United States Indian Agent,
Pueblo and Jicarilla Agency, Santa Fe, N. Mex. Sir: In compliance with instructions in your communication of April 9, inclosing letter from honorable secretary of Board of Indian Commissioners, I have the honor to submit the following report:
1. Number of allotments made to Indians of this reservation, 847.
4. Approximately the number of acres cultivated by each Indian living on their respective allotment is 4 acres.
5. No land on this reservation is formally leased, but as the greater portion is principally grazing land, many of the Indians rent their unfenced ground in the spring, during lambing season, to sheep raisers, for a period of twenty to sixty days, deriving quite an income therefrom.
6. The alloting of lands on this reservation has been beneficial to some of the Indians and detrimental to others, and for the reason that the water supply as well as agricultural land is very limited. In many cases one spring of water on a certain allotment has to furnish water for from five to twenty neighboring allottees. During the summer season the water supply at all springs is usually very limited, and in many cases to such an extent that the Indian who owns the spring cuts off the water supply from his neighbors; therefore the latter are compelled to take their families and stock and go to the mountains. It is also a fact that in many cases an Indian has on his allotinent not more than 3 or 4 acres of land suitable for cultivation, while his neighbor may have from 20 to 50 acres of good tillable land. Therefore thé allotment of land under the existing circumstances has caused a jealous and envious feeling among these Indians, which is hard to overcome. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
John L. GAYLORD,
Clerk in Charge.
Nez PERCES AGENCY,
Spaulding, Idaho, April 15, 1898. Gen. E. WHITTLESY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioners, Washington, D. C. Sir: Replying to your communication of 5th instant, I have the honor to submit the following:
1. There have been 1,997 trust patents issued to these people; 109 of this number have been canceled, disallowed, or relinquished, 17 of which were duplicates (two allotments made to the same person under different names).
2. The patents have all been issued and are now in the bands of the allottees. 3. About four-fifths are living on their allotments or some portion of the same. Many of the allotments embrace separate parcels of land, usually the smaller portion lying along or bordering the streams, the balance being situated on the high benches or table-lands.
4. The Indians do not cultivate to exceed one-tenth of their land, and even in this they hire white men to do most of the work. But few full-blood Indians confine themselves to steady hard work. This order of things may be changed to some extent after the expiration of the semiannual payments, which now amount to about $200 per annum to every man, woman, and child.
5. There is at present about 100 farming leases in force, aggregating some 15,000 acres, at an average rental of about $1.50 per acre; adding to this the dozen business leases gives a revenue from this source of about $23,000 per annum, which amount would be materially increased were the able-bodied members of the tribe allowed to lease their allotments.
6. I would enumerate the benefits as follows: It gives the Indian a chance to become a man among men; it gives the Government and the white race in general an opportunity to ascertain whether or not the Indian can become an American citi
zen in the full sense of the word. It is true that some of them will go to the wall," but it is too early yet to say what the proportion will be. Owing to former environments, the proportion may exceed that of the white race for a generation or two, but it will give those who are composed of the right material a chance to get out of bondage, and show to the world that the color of a man's skin or former conditions does not necessarily make him a loafer and mendicant.
It is doubtless true that quite a proportion-possibly one-fourth-of these people were not materially benefited by the change, but it would be an injustice to hold back three-fourths of a tribe for the real or imaginary benefit of the one-fourth.
Another very important fact is, that allotment helps to break up tribal relations; it curtails the power of the so-called chiefs, sorcerers, and conjurers; it throws thé Indian in closer contact and relation with the whites. The latter, even in the wild and woolly West”-many assertions to the contrary notwithstanding-are morally and intellectually far ahead of the average “noble red man " of to-day.
With allotment and the surplus lands thrown open to settlement, the Indian's next-door neighbor—the homesteader, is as a rule a hard-working farmer, whose circumstances demand care, thrift, and economy-has his house, barn, stable, sheds, corral, etc., which may be small and rude, but they are substantial and conveniently arranged; his team, cows, pigs, and chickens are housed and cared for; the inside of his house as a rule is neat and tidy; all of which his neighbor, Mr. Indian and his wife, notice closely and in many instances pattern after. A district school is soon established in the neighborhood in which, as is already the case in several instances here, the white and Indian children sit side by side, vying with each other for the mastery of their lessons; in this school the Indian youth is quickly taught to speak English; a church soon follows the schoolhouse, and it is only a matter of a short time when the worshipers will be composed of both races.
The only disadvantages that I can call to mind, in my desire to be impartial and unbiased, is that the range for stock is materially reduced thereby, causing inconvenience to a very few of the Indians who have large herds of cattle and horses. The allotment policy, if carried to a finish, will also work a hardship on my friend Cody, by soon depriving him of suitable material for his “ Wild West” shows. Very respectfully,
S. G. FISHER, United States Indian Agent.
SAC AND Fox AGENCY,
Toledo, Iowa, April 9, 1898. The BOARD OF INDIAN COMMISSIONERS,
Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: I am in receipt of your letter of April 5, relative to the results of the policy of alloting Indian lands. In reply, will say that the Indians at this agency own their land in common, having purchased it from white settlers, and that no allotments have been made and none are contemplated under the present legal status. Our Indians, however, are making considerable progress in agriculture, in the raising of wheat, oats, corn, and vegetables for their own use.
I do not believe it would be wise to institute a policy among the Sac and Fox Indians of Iowa for the allotment of their lands, but two years ago I recommended to the Department the creation of a commission for the purpose of apportioving the Indian lands for agricultural purposes for a period of ten years. I believe that would materially advance the interests of our people, give independence and encouragement to such as desire to enjoy the rewards of their own labor, and finally prepare them for the allotment of their lands in severalty, but this final problem I believe to be removed as much as twenty-five years from us. I would be glad to cooperate with the honorable Board of Indian Commissioners and the Indian Depart. ment in a plan for a more systematic and satisfactory apportionment of our lands for the reasons above stated. Very respectfully,
HORACE M. REBOK,
United States Indian Agent.
POTTAWATOMIE AND GREAT NEMAHA AGENCY,
Nadeau, Kans., dpril 9, 1898. Hon. E. WHITTLESEY,
Secretary Board of Indian Commissioners, Washington, D. C. SIR: Replying to your letter of the 5th instant, in reference to the results of allotting lands in severalty to Indians, and submitting certain queries pertaining to the subject for answer, I have the honor to submit the following, viz:
1. One thousand and sixty-six allotments have been made.