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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I

Reports concerning Indians in Indian territory,   pp. 202-221 PDF (9.1 MB)

Page 212

The following is a tabulated statement showing number and character of 
leases filed and acted upon by this office during the fiscal year ended June
Nation and character of              And     Ap-   At De- 
leae                  For-cbonds proved;    part Filed not 
lease.         Filed.  For   ap-    bonds ment for yet for- Disap- 
warded.  ap-   not ap-  ap-  warded. proved. 
proved. proved. proval. 
Oilland gas................3,830  1,294  472  476  332   2,536     14 
Coal and asphalt---------- -18  3      2       1  .......... 15 ----------
Marble and stone -------  3    1      1-------------------- 2 
Iron-------------------4-------------------------------------- 4 
Lead and zinc------------ 9.-------------------------------------- 9 
Oil and gas-----.. .-269        85     41      27     10     184      7 
Coal and asphalt-----------31   311 27-1--                            2 
Limestone---------------- 1-------------.--------------------- 1 
Total ------------------ 4,165  1,414  543   505    343   2,751     23 
It appears that many leases were being secured from allottees and not pre-
sented for approval, and, therefore, on November 16, 1904, a regulation was
promulgated requiring all leases previously executed to be filed on or before
certain date, and leases executed thereafter to be presented within thirty
from date of execution. As a result, about 2,000 leases were filed in a very
days on or about December 16, 1904. The details incident to this branch of
agent's work are very voluminous. Each lease is executed in quadruplicate,
which, with the bonds, makes a total of 20,825 separate instruments handled
during the year without taking into consideration the various accompanying
papers, which, particularly in cases where the lessee is a corporation and
lessor a guardian, have been many. It is believed, as a conservative estimate,
that the number of individual papers filed in connection with these leases
aggregate over 70,000, and the records show the remarkable fact that only
lease of this whole number was received in proper form for transmission to
Department. These corrections have occasioned much correspondence and 
incident delay. From the statement furnished above it will be noted that
1,414 leases were passed upon and forwarded during the year. 
Much difficulty has been experienced and delay occasioned by protests of
Indian lessors, all of which are carefully investigated and the merits looked
into before leases are transmitted. It is confidently believed that many
of these protests are brought about by rival agents of oil companies, who,
to secure a lease upon a particularly desirable tract, offer the lessor more
or a larger bonus. This encourages the Indian, who in many cases desires
procure as much bonus money as possible, to ask that the first lease be not
approved. In other cases, when the lease is given, there is probably but
development in that vicinity and a small amount of bonus is offered and ac-
cepted; later, before the lease is approved, good wells are secured in the
vicinity of the land and its value for oil purposes accordingly rises and
Indian becomes dissatisfied with his original bargain and wants to secure
bonus. Protests of this character became so numerous that to avoid compli-
cation, annoyance, and delay to all concerned, and at the same time protect
the ignorant Indian who has a habit of signing papers without thoroughly
understanding their contents, it has been arranged that when Indians appear
before United States commissioners, duly authorized officers of the court,
commissioners will read over and explain the contents of the leases and see
that they are executed understandingly in their presence, taking affidavits
the Indians to that effect properly certified to by the commissioners. Where
leases are filed without this certificate of the United States commissioner
lessees are advised that they should have the Indian appear before the commis-
sioner, or at the agency, and thus determine as to whether or not the Indian
thoroughly understands the transaction, is satisfied with same, and desires
lease approved. 
The following is the amended list of papers required to accompany mining
leases submitted for departmental approval.- 
1. Sworn application upon form prescribed by Department. 
2. Statement from Commission (now Commissioner) to the Five Civilized Tribes

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