Testimony taken by the Committee on Indian Affairs - 1885
Testimony taken by the Committee on Indian Affairs
1885


LABAN J. MILES.

LABAN J. MILES sworn and examined.
By the Chairman:
Question. What is your Christian name, Mr. Miles?—Answer. Laban J.
Q. What is your business?—A. I am Indian agent at Osage Agency, Indian Territory.
Q. How long have you been there?—A. Since the summer of 1878.
Q. Are there any other Indians there except the Osagel—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What Indians?—A. The Kaws.
Q. Do you know what the title of the Osages was to their land?—A. Yes, sir; it consists of a deed of trust to the United States given by the Cherokee Nation.
Q. It is held in trust for these Indians?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Expressed?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was the title given to the United States?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Has not their land been leased?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. How much of it?—About 350,000 or 400,000 acres.
Q. How much remains?—A. About 1,500,000.
Q. Is it all leased to one party?—A. No, sir; there are nine different leases.
Q. Will you give us the names of the parties to each lease in the way in which they were effected?—A. The first lease was to Mr. Gilbert.
Q. How much land did he get?—A. About 50,000 acres of the Kaws. Mr. Florer and Mr. Pollock got about 70,000 acres of the Osage land. The leases were all made at the same time at the council held in .NovemĀ­ber, 1883; but I wish to correct myself here. There are seven leases, and two pastures are fenced off besides these by citizens of the tribe.
Q. Citizens of the Usage tribe?—A. Yes, sir; one of them is fenced off by authority of the council and the other without authority.
Q. When were the first leases made?—A. I think in August, 1883, the two first were made, and the last were made in November, 1883.
Q. And then all were made between August and November, 1883?—A. Yes, sir; but I am not sure of the first.
Q. Were the leases made for ten years?—A. Yes, sir; ten years.
Q. Each lease?—A. Well, sir, the first were made for ten years, and I think the others are perhaps for five years, with the privilege of continuing ten years.
Q. Have you the leases with you?—A. I have them at my room, sir.
Q. What made you leave them down at your room when you were to testify up here? You have them with you in the city?—A. Yes, sir; I have both of the first leases.
Q. Original leases?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are they in print?—A. No, sir.
Q. Is there a copy in the Interior Department?—A. Well, sir, I submitted a copy of the first to the Interior Department.
Q. They are in duplicate?—A. I submitted the original and duplicate, and they were returned to me with a copy of a circular letter which was written to Mr. Fallon, which has been alluded to.
Q. Was anything else sent with the leases? Any letter except that circular letter?—A. No, sir; nothing but that letter which stated the position of the Interior Department in reference to leases.
Q. What did you send the leases to the Interior Department for?—A. For approval.
Q. Did you have any previous communication with the Department on the subject of leases?—A. I think I did.
Q. Did it occur to you that if the title was in the United States, you had no business to make these leases or allow them to be made?—A. The Indians claimed that right.
Q. Did you negotiate that lease?—A. No, sir; I only witnessed it; that is all.
Q. You were present and knew what was going on?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. There were white men there?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. With your permission?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. They could not have staid an hour without your permission?—A. No, sir; probably not.
Q. You knew what they were there for?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And that this land belonged to the United States?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you not communicate with the Indians what the white men were there for? You did not know whether the United States approved or disapproved of these leases?—A. No, sir.
Q. Previous to that you knew that the Secretary of the Interior had ordered people off the reservation?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You did not know at the time of making the lease whether the Secretary had decided in favor or against the lease?—A. No, sir; the leases were made under a section of the Revised Statutes, which permits a contract for certain things subject to the approval of the Department.
Q. Was it 2117?—A. I believe so, sir.
Q. You did it under that?—A. Yes, sir; that was the statute which I thought authorized it.
Q. To whom was the first lease made?—A. Mr. Gilbert.
Q. Where does Mr. Gilbert reside?—A. His residence is at Arkansas City, in the State of Kansas.
Q. How much land did he lease?—A. About 52,000 acres.
Q. At what price?—A. At 4 cents an acre.
Q. For ten years?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did the lease give exclusive occupancy of the land?—A. With the exception of two or three citizens who lived there.
Q. So the terms of the lease gave him the exclusive occupation of the land?—A. Yes, sir; as I have said, with the exception of these citizens.
Q. You say he paid these Indians 4 cents an acre?—A. He was to pay it to the agent in charge of the Indians for the benefit of the Indians.
Q. Was there no limit to what he was to do with the money?—A. With the understanding that it would be paid per capita.
Q. You did not inquire of the Department if they approved of that way of distributing it or not ?—A. Well, sir, the Indians assumed that responsibility, and I permitted it.
Q. You stood by, consenting?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Like the man who stood by, holding the clothes, while the others stoned the prophet? Then you sent it to the Department, and the Department did not approve it?—A. No, sir; the Department did not approve it.
Q. The Department left you to take care of yourself?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You sent it on to the Department after the lease had been made?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was the reply of the Department?—A. I had no return from the Department, until the other leases were made.
Q. Your Indians, with your knowledge and consent, had leased over 300,000 acres of their land for a term of years, from five to ten, to particular individuals, with exclusive privileges, without knowing whether the Department approved it or not?—A. Yes, sir. I had not, as I have said, received any instructions from the Department before the leases were made.
Q. This was not a part of your duty?—A. No, sir.
Q. It was a gratuity on your part?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who is this Mr. Pollock?—A. Mr. Pollock had been an inspector.
Q. Where does Mr. Pollock live?—A. He is a resident of Illinois.
Q. How long since he ceased to be an inspector?—A. I think since about the 1st of April; previous to his making the leases.
Q. About the 1st of April previous to his appearing there and assuming charge of a portion of the reservation?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. How did be come to cease to be inspector?—A. I heard that he had trouble with the agent at Pine Ridge Agency, Dakota, and had been suspended, and afterwards resigned.
Q. When did you hear that?—A. I heard it in the spring or summer after it occurred.
Q. So he came to you with that recommendation?—A. Yes, sir; I had known him for a number of years.
Q. Then you knew him?—A. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Harrison:

Q. Did you ever have any business relations with him of any kind previous to that?—A. No, sir.

By the Chairman:

Q. His partner was Mr. John Florer; who was he?—A. He used to be a trader at the agency.
Q. When did he cease to be a trader?—A. I think he ceased to be a trader in December, 1883.
Q. December, 1883?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. That was after his lease?—A. Yes, sir; after his lease.
Q. Then when he and Mr. Pollock leased this land he was the licensed trader at your agency?—A. Yes, sir; I think he was.
Q. You think he was? Did you inquire at the Department whether that was just the thing to do—this man being a licensed trader at the time?—A. No, sir; I did not.
Q. What was your own opinion in the matter?—A. Mr. Florer resigned his position after he got his lease, but before it took effect.
The Chairman. Exactly. But at the time the lease was made he was holding the office of trader under the authority of the United States. Was he the sole trader?
The Witness. No, sir; there were three others.
Q. But he was licensed to trade with the Indians, and you had control of the Indians?—A. Yes, air.
Q. Then you and the Indians together set apart how much land for Mr. Pollock's exclusive use?—A No, sir; I did not do it; the Indians did.
Q. And you stood by and saw it done?—A. Yes, sir; I saw it done.
Q. How much land was set apart ?—A. About 70,000 acres.
Q. About 70,000 acres; how near 70,000 acres?—A. Well, sir, it was not really surveyed as others were. It was run by the lines of the original survey. Their surveyor reported 70,000 acres.
Q. Whose surveyor?—A. The surveyor employed by these gentle. men. He was the surveyor of one of the border counties of Kansas.
Q. In whose employ was he?—A. He was in the employ of these gentlemen, Mr. Florer and Mr. Pollock.
Q. They brought you the surveyor who had run these lines, and he told you how much?—A. No, sir; they never brought him at all. They brought me a paper signed by this surveyor.
Q. You did not see him at all, then?—A. No, sir; they brought the paper signed by the surveyor. I did not see him.
Q. They stated to you what they proposed to take contained so many acres?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You do not know the character of the land?—A. I had been over the reservation, but I was not looking after their leases at the time. I am familiar with the entire reservation.
Q. What is the character of this land contained in the lease of 70,000 acres?—A. It is on a bend of the Arkansas River. There are one or two good valleys, but the rest of it is upland and broken prairie land.
Q. Is Mr. Pollock down there now?—A. He was there a short time ago, sir.
Q. In personal charge?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. In frequent communication with these Indians?—A. I can't say that, sir.
Q. Did you not look after matters yourself?—A. I have only seen Mr. Po lock two or three times.
Q. But did you look after this matter yourself?—A. Yes, sir; I had supervision of the matter.
By the Chairman:
Q. The lessees are under obligation to pay you this amount of money to be distributed among the Indians?—A. No, sir.
Q. How is that?—A. The money for the Osages leases is paid directly to the treasury of the nation.
Q. These parties have exclusive use of this large tract of land for ten years?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And they pay this money into the treasury of the Osage Nation?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you allowed these leases to be made without knowing whether the United States Government approved them or disapproved them—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you had any communication with the Interior Department in reference to this matter?— A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you been there personally?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did the Department tell you?—A. They could not give any definite instructions in reference to the matter. They just left it without giving any instructions.
Q. Why do you say could not?—A. I asked the Secretary of the Interior if I should submit the other contracts, and I was told that it was not necessary.
Q. Well, did the Department express any opinion!—A. No, sir.
Q. They refused to express any opinion as to whether leases were wise or unwise?—A. The idea I got was that they did not think that they could give any opinion in reference to the matter.
Q. Do you think they did not have as much authority as you had? Don't you think they had more?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. If they did not have authority to express an opinion, what was your authority?—A. Well, sir, these people made the leases with the Indians.
Q. And you gave your permission?—A. Yes, sir; the leases were made with my permission.
Q. Well, it could have been stopped in a minute by you, could it not?—A. Probably so.
Q. You could have led the men off, could you not?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. It is a part of your duty to order white men off the reservation, who have not your permission or the permission of the Department to be there?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You have led men off, have you not?—A. Yes, sir; I have ordered them off.
Q. Then why did you not order these men off?—A. I concluded that their business was legitimate under the statute; that was my opinion.
Q. Even after the Department declined to express an opinion one way or the other, did you go on and finish the other leases?—A. I had no expression of opinion, sir, at all, until after two of the leases were consummated.
Q. Were they all made at the same rate?—A. No, sir; Mr. Gilbert pays 4 cents per acre, Mr. Florer and Mr. Pollock pay 3 cents, and Mr. Hewing also has a piece of the land for which he pays 3½ cents.
Q. So, then, the first lease was for 4 cents an acre, the next for 3 cents, and the last for 3½ cents?—A. The second was for 3 cents, and then for 3½. For the first five years 3 cents was to be paid, and for the second five years 3½, if the parties wished to retain the land.
Q. Was anybody else trying to get a lease?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who?—A. A large number of parties were at the agency at the time the leases were given.
Q. Then there was competition?—A. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Harrison:

Q. Can not you give us the names of the parties? Give us the names of the other parties who asked for leases?—A. There were some parties at Fort Smith represented there by an attorney, and there was also a Mr. Marks.
Q. Who were the parties at Fort Smith ?—A. I do not know.
Q. Who was the attorney?—A. I do not remember that.
Q. Who was Mr. Marks?—A. Mr. Marks was at the time a deputy marshal of the United States, at Fort Smith.
Q. Was he deputy marshal at the time you speak of?—A. Yes, sir; I think he held his commission at the time.
Q. Did he want to get a lease?—A. He represented, as I understand it, other parties from Fort Smith.
Q. Were there any other Government officers there I—A. I think not, sir.
Q. Do you think of anybody else outside of those you have named?—A. Yes, sir; there was Mr. Burnett, of Cedarville, in the State of Kansas.
Q. What was his full name?—A. James Burnett.
Q. Where is Cedarville?—A. It is north of the agency.
Q. Do you not think of anybody else?—A. There were several other parties there.
Q. Can not you call the name of any more of them?—A. Mr. Skinner
Q. Where did he live?—A. Well, he was from Missouri.
Q. What place in Missouri?—A. I think be was from Sedalia.
Q. What was his full name?—A. John Skinner. Nobody else that I think of who wanted leases. There were several others who lived on the border of Kansas.
Q. You can not remember any other names?—A. No, sir.
Q. Did they all appear before the council?—A. I could not tell you, sir. I was not present at the council when the leases were made.
Q. Was the council held at the agency?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did these men go in before the council and negotiate for the leases?—A. They submitted their applications to the council in writing.
Q. How did it happen that you were not there?—A. I never did go before the council in reference to any of their business. I submitted it in writing to them and let them make a report.

By the Chairman:

Q. This man Marks we were speaking of. Did he try to get a lease?—A. He told me that was his business there.
Q. What did he offer?—A. I do not remember.
Q. Do you know a man named B. M. Matthews?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Or James Bigheart or Paul Aken?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who were they? Do you know who they were?—A. They were Cherokee Indians.
Q. Did they have anything to do with this matter?—A. Mr. Matthews was secretary of the council and Mr. Aken was interpreter and Mr. Bigheart was Chairman of the council, I think.
Q. Do you know anything about the dealings of this man Marks with these men?—A. No, sir.
Q. Did you not know that they agreed for the sum of $200 to let him have a lease?—A. No sir; I did not know that.
Q. And that he went to Little Rock and deposited the $200 in a bank?—A. No, sir. He left the agency but I did not know that he went to Little Rock. I do not think that I remember his returning to the agency. I do not remember whether he was at the council or not.
Q. You did not inquire about these things did you? You took the first lease and sent it for approval to the Secretary of the Interior without inquiring whether it was the voice of the body of the Indians or not?—A. Yes sir; but I knew it was the voice of the Indians. I knew that, because I was present at the Kaw council.
The Chairman . I am speaking of these men, Bigheart and others. Who is "Sassy Chief"?
The Witness. He was a member of the council.
Q. Did you hear or know that there was a difficulty about the lease, and that Sassy Chief wanted $200 more from Marks before he could get the lease?—A. I did not, sir.
Q. If you had been in there and had seen whether it was a fair transaction you could likely answer that question, could you not?—A. Well, I suppose so. The councils are open.
Q. You did not inquire whether anybody else would give more for the lease than the parties who got it, did you?—A. No sir, I did not.
Q. You did not urge these men on to close up this lease, did you?—A. I do not think I said anything to the council.
Q. I did not mean to ask that. But did you not urge these men to close up the lease?—A. I do not remember that I did.
Q. Do you not remember that Marks complained and wanted to know why the matter was hurried up, and they told him that Agent Miles urged them to hurry it up?—A. I do not know anything of the kind.
Q. Is it true?—A. I do not think it is, sir. All I said to the council or to the Indians generally was that I wanted them to be perfectly satisfied themselves. It was their business, transacted among themselves, and I should not interfere at all.
Q. Did you know why they gave the reason that they had been hurried up?—A. No, sir.
Q. You swear you do not know that any money or other valuable thing was paid?—A. I do.
Q. You did not receive anything, did yon?—A. I did not.
Q. You did all this outside of your duty as agent?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Without consulting with the Department at all until afterwards?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. But after consulting with the Department they declined to approve or disapprove the leases?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You had set apart for the exclusive use of these parties three hundred and odd thousand acres for from five to ten years?—A. The Indians did it.
Q. But you approved of it?—A. Yes, sir; I approved of it.
Q. I understand you to say that the Indians did it themselves and you approved it?—A. Well, yes, sir; that is what I meant.
Q. Was the title of this land in the Indians or in the United States?—A. The title was in the United States, and not in the Indians.
Q. That is the way you understand it?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Why did you not ascertain these things before the lease was made?—A. I thought that under the statute these men had the right to make the contract with these Indians.
Q. It was quite an important step, was it notl—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would it not have been the part of wisdom to ascertain the views of the Department before undertaking such an important matter?—A. Perhaps so, sir.
Q. Would it have been as easy before as after it was done?—A. It probably would, sir.
Q. Easier, do you think?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. These leases covered a period of time from August to November, did they not?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And in your report in September did you not report what you had done?—A. I made a special report.
Q. In September?—A. I do not remember.
Q. But the leases covered three mouths, did they not?—A. They were not made until November, except the first one.
Q. A lease of 53,000 acres was made to this man Pollock, an ex-inspector, who had gotten slipped out, as you knew, and to one of your licensed traders in August—was that the fact?—A. No, sir; in October.
Q. After that you made a report, and did not say anything about it?—A. A special report; yes, sir.
Q. What was the date of that report?—A. I cannot remember the date. I made a special report enclosing the contract after it was settled.
Q. I ask why, when you made the September report, you did not report what you had done up to that time?—A. I cannot tell you whether I reported it or not.
Q. You had assumed to permit these Indians, with your approval, to execute a lease of their land for a period of ten years, consisting of fifty-odd thousand acres; but yet you say you do not know whether yon reported it or not?—A. I made a special report.
Q. But you say you do not know whether you reported this matter at the time you made your next monthly report or not?—A. I cannot remember, sir.
Q. You have not memory enough to tell me whether or not you reported such a proceeding as that to the Department?—A. I did reĀ­port it.
Q. In your monthly report?—A. I do not remember that, sir.
Q. Will you say that you made a monthly report after this without reporting it?—A. No, sir; I will not, for I do not remember.
Q. You do not remember whether, in your monthly report, which purported to be a true report—you do not remember, I say, whether that little item was in it or not?—A. No, sir.
Q. Your memory is good, is it not?—A. It is generally good.
Q. Is there any special exception in your memory? With a good memory that applies to this as well as to anything else, you say you do not remember whether you made any allusion to this little item or not?—A. No, sir; I don't know. Will you allow me to explain one thing? By instruction from the Department, if we have a special case that requires action, it must not be embodied in our monthly report, and I thought that was of sufficient importance for a special report, and as a special report I sent it, together with the contract. That was a special report, and I do not remember whether I included it in the monthly report or not.
Q. Do you remember if, after making a lease in August, you made a special report of that one before making another one?—A. Yes, sir; I think so.
Q. What was the date of that report?—A. I do not remember the date.
Q. How many special reports did you make?—A. Two, sir.
Q. One was in regard to the first lease?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you wait for the reply of the Department before you made any more leases?—A. I think not, sir.
Q. What did you rush them through for?—A. Well, sir, the parties were there before the council endeavoring to obtain their leases. I do not remember any particular rush.
Q. There is no other reason that you know of !!—A. No, sir; none, except that there were other parties there anxious to get the lease.
Q. Was there a chance of losing anything belonging to the Indiansl—A. No, sir; I think not.
Q. Why did you hurry them up?—A. The Indians made the lease themselves, sir.
Q. I understand that. Why did you, having control of the Indians, allow them to make these other leases before you knew the views of the Department?—A. Well, sir, under the statutes, I considered that the Indians had the right to make the leases, subject to approval.
Q. But you did not wait for the approval?—A. No, sir; I did not.
Q. And I ask you why you did not wait?—A. I have no reason at all, sir.
Q. You have no reason to give why you did not wait?—No, sir; I have not.
Q. Was there any reason why you should not wait ?—A. No, sir.
Q. Would the Indians have suffered in the abundance of men there, all anxious to get a lease, if you had waited for the response of the Department?—A. No, sir; no interest of the Indians would have suffered.
Q. There were men there offering six cents, were there not?—A. No, sir; I think not.
Q. Do you not know that Mr. Marks offered six cents?—A. I do not, sir.
Q. And that he deposited $200 in a bank at Little Rock to be paid for the use of the Indians?—A. I do not, sir.
Q. Did you talk with him? What did he say he was there for?—A. To obtain a lease.
Q. Why did he not obtain the lease /—A. I could not tell you.
Q. There was something in the way, was there not?—A. I could not tell, sir. I know the council did not give it to him; that is all I know about it.
Q. Did the council give leases to anybody that you did not approve of?—A. Yes, sir; but I ratified them afterwards.
Q. But you were in the council, were you not?—A. Yes, sir; for a few moments.
Q. Did you advise with the Indians beforehand about the lease of their lauds?—A. I did. Will you allow me just here to go back a little and make a statement?
The Chairman . Yes, sir.
The Witness. Early in the spring of 1883 a few Indians, members of the Kaw tribe, had been working on the Oil Company lease. They had asked for a lease of the land in this reservation, and had offered 2 cents for the entire reservation, with the privilege of fencing. The Indians asked me about it and I told them it would be a bad thing for them, because it would destroy their stock and the agency stock. They said they could make more money than they were making then. I told them I did not think it would be a good thing for them to lease their entire reservation, but they had better lease some of their land along the State line that they did not need, and retain the balance for themselves. In the course of two or three months (that was in May) they sent me word they were anxious to lease a portion of their land along the line and they wanted me to come over. I went over there and consulted with them. They had called a council of the entire tribe, and parties were there trying to lease half of the reservation. That was in June or July. I do not remember which. We called a council and made a lease with Mr. Gilbert. He offered 3 cents at first; finally offered 4 cents, and they made the lease with him for the north half of their reservation. That was in July or August.
When I reported that lease I asked authority of the Secretary to purchase wire to enclose the balance of the reservation for the benefit of the tribe. This authority was granted, and I purchased wire and have enclosed the balance of 50,000 acres.
About that time it occurred to me that we must have more protection on the Osage Reservation. Stockmen from Kansas, from the Cherokee side, and from the western side intruded upon our reservation, and our reservation had become a place where all the cattle drifted. It was overrun with cattle. It occurred to me that it would be a good plan to fence the land, or lease a narrow strip on the south, the east, and the west, and I suggested to one or two members of the nation that their interest would be promoted by leasing a strip four miles wide, on the north, south, and east, and thereby close up the reservation from drifting cattle. This was along in the summer; in June or July, 1882. The council met and talked the matter over, and a number of the principal men who had some stock and had been troubled about it canvassed the tribe about it, and they concluded the suggestion was good, and concluded to extend the lease; instead of 4 miles on the north, they would make it 10, and on the south 9, and on the east from 8 to 9. I have a map here which will show the exact position of these leases, which I would like to submit to the committee. [Witness submits map and points out to the committee the different leases.] This part which was leased was unoccupied land, and left out two good streams. The leases are composed principally of the bill country. I asked authority of the Department to purchase wire to enclose this part of the land, which was left to the Indians, leaving a good drive way along the State line. I have enclosed it. My plan was to protect the Osage Reservation from the drift of cattle from the State and from the Cherokee strip. You can see by the map that every stream is left within the enclosure occupied by the Indians, and now the Osages are enclosed and protected.
Q. How do these parties get their cattle on and off their ranges; for instance, here is one lease marked 8; how does he get his cattle on and off?—A. He ships part of his cattle in bulk. The railroad is within half a mile of the crossing in this lease.
Q. The others, numbered 1, 2, and 3, &c., how do they get the cattle to their leases?—A. I think this gentleman, Mr. Hewins, brought his cattle in from the west, on the trail along the State line.
Q. You say you asked permission of the Department to connect these leases by fences. Was it stipulated in the lease that the lessees should fence their leases?—A. Yes, sir; but I wanted to enclose the land be-tween them and connect them.
Q. And you say the Department authorized you to do so, and you have purchased the wire?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where are the Kaws located?
[Witness indicates location of the Kaws upon the map.]
Q. Did you enclose them?—A. Yes, sir; I ran a fence down along here, so that all this reservation is enclosed.
Q. How many acres does it contain?—A. Twenty thousand acres.
Q. Has any of that been leased?—A. No, sir; it has not been. That is where these Indians live.
Q. How many Indians are there on the Osage Indian Reservation?—A. About 1,600.
Q. Are these the wealthy Indians that went to the Indian Territory from Kansas?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. They have a good deal of property in their own right, have they not?— A. Yes, sir.
Q. Independent of this land?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And they are deemed by the United States capable of managing their own affairs, are they not?—A. Yes, sir; to a certain extent.
Q. Who manages their property for them, independent of this land?—A. They have a deposit with the United States, and the Government pays interest.
Q. How is the money paid?—A. It is paid per capita; I distribute it per capita.
Q Is the lease money paid per capita?—A. No, sir; it is paid into the treasury of the nation.
Q. Has all of this lease business been reported to the Department?—A. Yes, sir; I have made a special report to the Department on the subject. If there is anything we want to call to the special attention of the Department we make a special report. The monthly report does not amount to much. We cannot get any notice taken of it, and if we desire to get any action taken by the Department, or any consideration, we must make a special report.
Q. Well, you went on in the dark?—A. Not as I understand the statutes, sir.
Q. But you did as to the views of the Department?—A. The general impression was that the Department would permit them to lease the land, but there was no law by which they could be ratified.
Q. How did you know that?—A. I got that from the public press.
Q. You made a special report in order to draw out the Department?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you failed in getting the opinion of the Department?—A. I got just the same as others got; that is, the Fenlon letter.
Q. But you did not get that until after the work was done?—A. No, sir.
Q. So the work, whether wise or otherwise, was done in the dark as to the views of the Department?—A. These gentlemen took the chances when they made their leases.

By Mr. Harrison:

Q. You regarded it subject to the approval or disapproval of the Department, did you not?—A. Yes, sir; I did.
Q. All parties who took leases were subject to the rulings of the Department?—A. Yes, sir; they were subject to the rulings of the Department. They claimed that they had a right to make a contract under the statute, and were taking the chances. They were taking the chances that, if ruled against by the Department, they would lose all they put upon the land.
Q. You understand that they can be evicted at any moment by the Department? You understand that to be the relation of the Department to them at this moment?—A. Yes, sir; I do.
Q. What is the difference, in your opinion, between the Department permitting these parties to make this contract and their positive approval of it? What is the difference in the legal effect
The Witness. I do not think I quite understand your question.
Q. Now, if these leases are void unless approved, and the Department permitted them to execute these leases, is that giving them any legal effect?—A. No, sir; scarcely.
Q. Does it give them the same benefit as if they were approved?—A. Well, sir, as a gentleman expressed it to me, the cows were growing very nicely under this permit and under the eye of the Interior Department.
Q. Now, will you repeat that so as to get it on the record?—A. He said that the cows were growing very nicely under this permit to remain there.
Q. Did you say this was done under the eye of the Interior Department?—A. Well, sir, the Interior Department knows the whole transaction.
Q. Then the Department knows the whole transaction as you state it?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And allows this state of things to continue without expressing approval or disapproval of the transaction, and you understand that until it is approved or disapproved you are permitted to continue this condition of things?—A. Yes, sir.


Return To Testimony Index.
This site may be freely linked, but not duplicated without consent.
All rights reserved. Commercial use of material within this site is prohibited.
The copyright (s) on this page must appear on all copied and/or printed material.
© 2021 by C.S.L.S.A. Site Coordinator