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Mr. RAKER. You forget the fact that the overhead charge is about 50 per cent. The CHAIRMAN. That would come into it. Mr. RAKER. Sure that would be taken out of the annuities paid. Mr. MERITT. The overhead charge is just as necessary for the support of the Indians in their civilization as anything else.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not mean to say, Judge Raker, that running a school like the Sherman Institute, that the faculty, the property, and all of that sort of thing, is not a part of the education of the child just the same as the food he eats while there? Mr. RAKER. Sure; but that is not an annuity to the Indians.
The CHAIRMAN. I know, but that is the expense that we are talking about that is going to be offset. Mr. RAKER. I don't think so. The CHAIRMAN. Well, I am not a lawyer. Mr. Roach. If you go back 50 years and figure the overhead off they will still be in debt to the Government.
The CHAIRMAN. If you will go back far enough.
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Now, Judge, you certainly will have to admit that when we put into the Indian bill $1,700,000 for general expenses for schools, if any part of that is spent in California, in addition to the amount that is specifically appropriated for schools, that that would be a clear offset? Mr. RAKER. Why, that is not really an annuity.
The ChaIRMAN. Oh, well, it is any money that is spent there for the purpose of schooling the children. Now, we come down to the question of support and care, like hospitals and field work, and all that sort of thing that comes out of the general fund. You do not mean to say that that would be a charge that would be an offset? Now, in this $4,000,000 calculation no part, up to two nights ago, of any moneys that had been spent from the general fund had ever been calculated at all as an offset. Now, we find all these new figures.
Mr. MERITT. Now, Mr. Chairman, it was stated that we had no hospitals in the State of California for the California Indians.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Just one minute, so that I will not be confused. This general Indian appropriation that Mr. Meritt has referred to was a lump sum, I take it, appropriated from time to time for the Indians generally over the country without allocating it to any particular tribe?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir. Mr. MERITT. Yes, sir.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. And out of that was allocated funds to these Indians for the several amounts?
Mr. MERITT. Yes, sir. For instance, in "Support of Indian schools" we have an appropriation of $1,700,000 covering for Indian day schools and boarding schools all over the United States. We are using over $80,000 of that appropriation this year for the payment of tuition of Indian children in public schools in the State of California.
Now, it was stated that there were no hospitals in the State of California for the Indians. I want to advise you what the records show. At the Bishop Agency we have one frame hospital with a capacity of six patients; at the Fort Bidwell School we have one frame hospital with a capacity of 12 patients. At the Fort Yuma School we have an agency hospital with a capacity of 24 patients. At the Greenville School we have a school and agency hospital with a capacity of 9 patients. At the Hoopa Valley School we have a school and agency hospital with 20 patients. At the Sherman Institute we have a brick hospital, with a capacity of 56. So you see, we are furnishing not only schools for the Indians of California, but we are furnishing hospital facili
Now, I believe we should furnish more schools for the children of California. I believe that we should furnish more hospitals for the Indians of California. I believe that we should furnish more doctors for the Indians of California, and we are going to do those very things when we can get the appropriations from Congress to meet this situation
We have in mind right now the converting of an agency building in southern California into a hospital, providing we can get the money from Congress to repair this building and also to maintain this hospital. It costs in the neighborhood of $10,000 or $15,000 a year to maintain a small hospital.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to make an observation right here just a minute. My thought goes back to a few moments ago, when it was shown that each one of these representatives here from the various tribes stated that they had some education and some of their children were in Indian schools. The amount of money that it cost
the Government to educate those men and their children was stated. The saddest part of this whole proposition to me is that here are men, pretty well educated, who come here with the knowledge that they have had this assistance from the Government and stand up here and state that the Government had done nothing for the Indians of (alifornia. I believe they believed what they said. That is the saddest commentary of the whole thing to me.
Mr. Roach. They asked us to pass a law here
The CHAIRMAN. It simply shows that this is falling upon deaf ears, or that they are being educated to disregard the things that the Government is actually doing for them that are of value. For what have we spent hundreds and hundreds and millions of dollars for educating the Indians if they come back here after they have gotten an education and gotten rich through that education they have received and come here and deliberately tell us that we have not done anything for them?
Mr. MONTOYA. That is an official record you are quoting from?
The CHAIRMAN. Now, you would not state that the State of California had done nothing for you?
Mr. Řaķer. No. The construction that the chairman places on this is not what these people intend, but the contention I am trying to present here is the legal claim for property. Now, if the Government or the State does its duty in educating its people that ought not to be taken from them for the value of their property that has been taken. That is the petition I am putting in.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, if that statement is correct, and I question whether it is a legal claim or not-there is nothing legal about it-it may be a moral claim, but there is no record to show.
Mr. RAKER. I want to ask Mr. Meritt one question.
Mr. Meritt, what tribe of Indians have been dispossessed of their land that the Government has not compensated, save except the California Indians?
Mr. MERITT. The Indians of Alabama and Mississippi-
Mr. MERITT. And North Carolina. Indians of those three States were required to move west. They were furnished land out West and those lands have proven to be of more value than their old original lands.
Mr. RAKER. Well, they have their lands or have gotten other lands? '
Mr. RAKER. But there are not other tribes of Indians that claimed a particular tract of land by virtue of the law that were removed from that land and the land taken from them but what the Government has compensated them either in annuities-not annuities but payments or getting other lands?
Mr. MERITT. I would not like to answer that question offhand.
Mr. MERITT. Now, Mr. Chairman, something was said here in regard to propaganda and the collection of funds from these California Indians. I have no criticism to make of anyone connected with this claim or their actions while they have been here. The conduct of these Indians, as I have stated, has been commendable.
We have certain Indians who are hanging around Washington all the time, who are living off the other Indians of the United States. They are collecting money all the time from these poor, misguided Indians, and they are here pretending to be fighting the Government and protecting the rights of the Indians, when they are simply grafting on the Indians of this country. Some of these impostors should be in the penitentiary. They are not only harassing the Indian Bureau but are trying to defeat the very purpose for which Congress makes appropriations of about $12,000,000 annually for the benefit of the Indians of this country. They are constantly inflaming the minds of these poor, ignorant Indians and making them believe that the officials of the Government are trying to rob them of their property, and they are sending out propaganda all over this country all the time. I am sorry to say that some of those very Indians who are doing that very thing have been educated in Indian schools and have had their children educated in Indian schools. We have Indians traveling over this country, going into the churches of this country, dressed up as Indians, wearing Indian garb, and denouncing the Indian Bureau, and trying to make the public believe that the Indians are being robbed, and at the close of the meetings they invariably take up collections. They are not only fleecing the white people of this country but they are doing a great injustice to the Indians.
These California Indians, I want to say to their credit, have not played that kind of a game. Their conduct here has been very commendable, but I am not going to
say that the office approves the propaganda that has been going on in the State of California, for this reason: It places in the minds of the Indians of that State the thought that they have large amounts of money coming to them, and some Indians, as long as they believe they have money coming to them from the Government, and there is a possibility of getting that money, will lessen in their endeavor to earn a living. We have that all over the Indian country. The same condition would apply to certain white people. I do not say it applies to all Indians; it applies to certain classes of Indians. * Now, this propaganda may have misled these Indians of California. One of these intelligent Indians who got up here to-day said he thought that he had coming to him anywhere from $500 to $5,000.
Mr. Roach. And it is clear to my mind that he said that would be coming to him under this bill; that if the bill was enacted into law--will you just pardon this suggestion? He said that that amount would be coming to him, in his opinion, if this bill was enacted into law. It is clear to my mind that if this bill were enacted into law and the claim submitted to the Court of Claims under the claims provisions of this bill, that every Indian in California would be brought out in debt to the Government under the provisions of this very bill that all this propaganda has been going on over.
The CHAIRMAN. I was about to make the same statement. Now, we have got to close this hearing somewhere.
Mr. MERITT. There is just one other statement I desire to make. Now, if these people had devoted this propaganda to the State of California and tried to get the State of California, one of the richest States of this Union, the citizens of which State have gotten the land which belonged to these Indians, people who have profited by these Indians being deprived of their land--if they had used this propaganda on the State legislature and the officials of California to get California to do its share toward the Indians of California, they would have accomplished something. The Federal Government is doing more than its share for these California Indians. All these Indians you have heard here to-day are not wards of the Government. They are citizens of the State of California, and California should do something for these Indians. The citizens of ('alifornia have profited by these Indians being dispossessed of their ‘lands, therefore they should go to the State of California and insist on California furnishing schools for those Indians, furnishing hospitals for those Indians, furnishing medical attention for those citizen Indians, and if necessary furnishing the money to put them into decent homes. I suggest that the propaganda that they are wasting on the Federal Government be applied somewhat to the State, so that the State of California will do its share toward these Indians. I made that statement to a California audience in San Francisco at the Palace Hotel. I believe it is what they ought to do. They have plenty of money. They have plenty of resources, and California should bear its share in settling this Indian problem in the State of California.
The Federal Government is doing a liberal share at this time, and I hope they will continue to do a liberal share, and do more in the future than it has in the past. We will be glad to cooperate with these Indians from California and do everything that we can to help them. I believe that Doctor Collett will tell you that so far as my work is concerned during the last eight years I have done everything that I possibly could to help those California Indians, and I know that Commissioner Burke feels the same way about it. We will continue to do everything tlıat we possibly can in our power to help the California Indians along practical lines, but I believe that it is a waste of time for these men to be here in Washington, day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, trying to get something through Congress in the face of an adverse report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and the Secretary of the Interior. It is absolutely impossible to get this bill through Congress in the face of those adverse reports. I speak from an experience of more than 12 years in handling Indian legislation before the committees of Congress, and I believe this hearing should close this matter so far as the California Indians are concerned, and that they should go back home and devote their energies to their business there and cooperate with the Federal Government in pointing out to us what we can do for the California Indians and also pointing out to the State of California what they can do for the California Indians and get the State's cooperation and assistance. I thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, there are no other witnesses to be heard, and I do not think we want to ask Mr. Meritt any more questions.
HELEN DARE. May I ask two very short questions?
The CHAIRMAN. Well, I think we have had all the questions and answers that we require.
HELEN DARE. But these are in relation to his statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Unless the committee wants to go into further investigation I desire to say about six words myself on this question and then the hearing will close.
Doctor COLLETT. I would like to have a word before you close, if I may.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, as I say, we have gotten away past the time that we should operate. We have operated here all Saturday afternoon.
Doctor ('OLLETT. I will confine myself to any number of minutes you may say. The CHAIRMAx. Does the committee desire to hear Doctor Collett any further?
Mr. Roach. I think we have given a very full hearing to all the witnesses and if we keep rehashing the matter will never get through.
Mr. Raker. There are always two sides to every question. In the presentation of the other side with reference to Mr. Meritt's statement on behalf of the Department of the Interior relative to the merits of the California ('ourt of Claims bill (Ú. R. 4383), certain statements have been made and conclusions reached that are not fair to the California Indians nor to their Court of Claims bill. In his statement as to the offsets that could be pleaded by the Government, should the Indians be permitted to go to the ('ourt of Claims, he sought to convey that under the terms of the bill instead of recovering a substantial amount the Indians would be after all indebted to the Government for a considerable amount. By way of illustration, he stated that the Federal Government was now under contract with the public-school authorities of California to pay $80,473 for the ensuing year. In this connection it should be noted that while the Government contracts in round numbers provide for $80,473 as a maximum, the entire amount will not be paid to the school authorities. The contracts require that payment be made on the average daily attendance of the Indian pupils concerned. Public-school records and the records of the Federal schools evidence that the average attendance of Indian pupils is always at least 20 per cent less than the enrollment. It is upon the enrollment upon which the maximum figure of the contracts are based. It is therefore impossible for the public-school authorities of California to recover more than 80 per cent of the $80,473. This would mean that about $16,000 of the amount named could not be correctly charged to the Indians.
The appropriations that are being made for the construction of the WeitchpecHoopa wagon road were stated as another example of the amounts that would be counted as an offset to any amount that might be found due from the Federal Government. In this case we should note that the records show that the appropriations for the Weitchpec-Hoopa road are reimbursable out of any funds that the Indians of the Hoopa Reservation may now or hereafter have in the United States Treasury, and that the records submitted by the Department of the Interior to congressional committees evidence that the present property of the Indians of that reservation is adequate to meet all required payments for the construction of the road. To date the appropriations made for that purpose have amounted to $48,500. None of the expenses of this road, under the circumstances, could be correctly pleaded as an offset.
It was further indicated that the expenditures for the establishment and maintenance of the Sherman Institute, Riverside, Calif., would number among the large sums that the Government could plead as an offset to any amount that might be found due the Indians. It is my understanding from a careful inquiry that about 80 or 90 per cent of the benefits of that school have gone to Indians of other States, but for the sake of the argument we will use Mr. Meritt's estimate, that about 50 per cent of the enrollment are Indians of other States. We would also note that the Federal financial aid extended to the California Indians for the purchase of seed, animals, machinery, tools, implements, and other equipment necessary to assist them to become self-sustaining has been given under the reimbursable plan which requires the Indians to pay the money back to the Government in installments within a given limited period. The Indians have been required to return these amounts to the Federal Government. As to the amounts that could not properly be charged to the Indians, these items will serve as examples among many others of a like nature. No snap judgment, therefore, as to these offsets should govern the decision of your committee concerning the advisability of the enactment of the proposed legislation.
The plea in the instances enumerated is strikingly contrary to the one given under date of March 23, 1920, before the subcommittee of the Committee on Indian Affairs of the House of Representatives, in response to the inquiry from a member of that Committee, the Hon. M. E. Rhodes. The Department's reply was: “Undoubtedly the California Indians will win a judgment under this leglislation, if passed, and there will be a considerable amount of money awarded to them, because they relinquished, at the time these treaties were made, a large acreage of land, and the terms of those treaties were not carried out--at least not entirely-by the Federal Government.”
The needs of the California Indians require a liberal judgment and a substantial appropriation. The amount that would be recovered, however, is not of so much consequence as to have the legal and equitable questions involved decided once and for all by a court of justice. The spiritual and moral effect of such a decision can not be computed in dollars and cents. A judicial and final decision of the legal and equitable questions involved in the California Indians case would materially clear the atmosphere as to the responsibility of the Federal Government, and as to that of the State of California. If the legal and equitable questions were properly disposed of the California Legislature and the people of the State would not be slow to do for the Indians what might be justly expected of them.
The solution of the California Indian situation requires relief from the perplexity as to the Federal Government responsibility in the premises. The confusions and misunderstandings that arise concerning the legal status of the Indians, the source from which they should receive educational and other advantages, should be eliminated. As to this confusion and the ill it works, we cite you a recent specific instance at Manchester, Mendocino County, Calif. Here, when influenza was raging, the Indians asked the county authorities for medicine and food for the sick. They claimed that the Indians were wards of the Federal Government and would have to obtain aid from that source. However, one of the officials phoned to the nearest Government agent at Round Valley, who responded to the call. This trip to interview the Indians and to ascertain their needs could only be made by a round trip of four full days and three nights, involving 160 miles by stage, 14 miles by livery, and 56 miles by rail. With expenses of $47 and allowing four days' salary at $3 per day (the rate given in 1913) the cost would come to about $59. Please note that this expenditure of time and money was only for an interview, and that the superintendent, arriving after five Indians had died, as he was neither a practicing physician nor an undertaker, could do nothing. He had not even the authority to pay the funeral expenses or doctors' bills, and left saying he would see what he could get the Government to do, especially in regard to the funeral expenses of the father and mother of two minor orphans left to the care of Indian friends.
The impression given out by the assistant commissioner was that the Indian delegates from California, in their plea for their people, had shown themselves ungrateful. It was shown by the assistant commissioner (without any opportunity on the part of the Indians to explain their position) that they had all been to Government schools and that their statements concerning the needs of the ('alifornia Indians were not fair to the Department of the Interior, and represent gross unappreciation. It should be remembered that the California Indian delegates were not representing themselves in their statements to the committee, but that they were representing the Indian population of California, and that in the limited time allotted to them to present their case, they were continuously interrupted by questions. It is a fact that can not be successfully disputed that many of the California Indians have not received educational or other advantages from the Federal Government
The assistant commissioner in the hearings referred to, under date of March 23, 1920, page 77, said: “Yes, sir; we feel that the California Indians have not been treated fairly by the Government; that they have a just claim against the Government; that they ought to have the opportunity to go to the Court of Claims to have that claim tried out, with the understanding that if either side is not satisfied with the judgment of the Court of ('laims they may appeal to the Supreme Court."
The assistant commissioner said to the same committee (p. 69 of the hearings above referred to): “We are very glad to cooperate in the preparation of this legislation, so that they might go to the Court of (laims and have their claims against the Government adjudicated. We are not at all in sympathy with the treatment that the California Indians have received in the past, in the remote past. During the last few years we have done everything that we could for these Indians with the appropriations available.”
In the department's statement the table on page 69 of the hearings was quoted to show that the California Indian population had materially increased between 1905 and 1919 because of the beneficent activity of the Office of Indian Affairs. Although the activities of the office have been of benefit to the California Indians the increase shown is not so much an increase in population as it is the recording of some Indians who previously had been overlooked. For example: One of the California Indian delegates, Stephen Knight, made a roll of the Ukiah Indians for the Office of Indian Affairs in 1912. There were about 100 Indians in this band who had never before been recorded on the rolls made by Government officials.
The Indians of California and their friends do not advocate that the Office of Indian Affairs should cease its necessary activities for the California Indians in the event the Court of Claims bill is enacted and judgment obtained, and appropriations awarded to the Indians. The ('ongress in making appropriations to satisfy any judgment that might be found due the (alifornia Indians, has the power to provide for the safeguarding of any money found due incompetent Indians. The interests of these