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Indians could be protected at the will of ('ongress through the Office of Indian Affairs. Besides this, the State of ('alifornia also has laws that would enable the courte of that State to determine incompetency and to appoint a guardian to look after any property that might be involved.
If the provisions of H. R. 4383 do not provide adequately for a just settlement of the claims of the California Indians, then it is entirely within the power of Congress and its committees to make the amendments that may be necessary. The two (alifornia Senators and eight of its Representatives, with reference to this bill, in a joint letter to the Secretary of the Interior, under date of April 2, 1922, said:
“A proper investigation and determination of these claims involves a detail of work that will necessarily extend beyond the life of any one Congress. We believe the Court of Claims to be the only established Government agency qualified to reach such a determination. We feel that any just disposal of the matter is impossible without the aid of the United States (ourt of (laims. It is but reasonable and just that the California Indians should be given the opportunity to fully present their claims to that court. The precedent of the Court of Claims precedure is a long established one."
The CHAIRMAN. I think, unless there is objection on the part of the committee, we will hear no more witnesses, and I desire to say just one word myself.
This is the second time in my connection with this committee that I have given very careful consideration to this question. I have never attempted to hold any particular views on this question or any other. Neither have I by any means been biased one way or the other on any proposition that I have attempted to determine or to get my mind fixed on. I am not a lawyer, but I think I understand this problem here. I have made the study that the commissioner has made and I also believe the figures that he has given are accurate because I have some knowledge of them myself. I am convinced that in this matter, as it stands here to-day, if the bill should become a law, the offset against the Indians' claim would at least wipe out their claim entirely if it was not even worse than that; if the Indians did not find themselves in debt to the Government based on the bill as it is printed I would be surprised. So I agree with the commissioner that the best thing that these men can do who are here in behalf of this bill, if they have any business or any occupation, to get home as quickly as they can and get busy with that, because, if you are going to continue to spend your money and time in the hope that this bill is going to bring you any income and you are waiting for that, you will spend a great deal more money in the meantime by hanging around here than you will ever recover from the moneys that may be recovered by this act. And so, having stated to you what I am sure you will find is a fact, in all fairness it is my judgment that there is absolutely nothing in this bill for you anyway, in any spot or place. With that statement, unless some member of the committee desires to make further inquiry we will consider the hearing closed.
(Thereupon, at 5.30 o'clock, the committee went into executive session.)