United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I
Reports concerning Indians in Minnesota, pp. 227-236 PDF (4.7 MB)
230 REPORTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. closer touch with civilization and should be encouraged to build for this alone, even if other benefits did not accrue. Swamp lands.-The claim of the State of Minnesota for much valuable pine land within the ceded Indian territory, based upon some old swamp-land grant and wholly unreliable, defective field notes, still remains unsettled. It is ques- tionable whether the State is entitled to any of the land within this territory, even if proved to be swamp. It certainly has no claim to that which is not swamp. The swamps are of little or no value to the Indian or the State, but the pine lands are valuable and the property of the Indians, and they should not be taken from them by the State or anyone else without value received. An actual inspection of the timber-land tracts in dispute will prove the State has no claim even under the questionable provisions of the swamp act. Forestry.-In compliance with the provisions of the Morris bill a forestry reserve comprising 200,000 acres was set aside within the ceded lands. The Rice treaty and Nelson law guaranteed to the Indians payment of $1.25 per acre for the ceded land, when sold, and the value of the pine growing upon it. This money is due from the Government for the land taken for forestry purposes, and the 5 per cent of pine left standing upon the land for the same reason. The ten sections also provided for by the Morris bill on which no pine is allowed to be cut has the same status as the forest reserve proper, and payment for the land and timber thus taken for Government purposes is due the Indian. In the settlement of the Chippewa accounts with the General Government credit should be given for the land and timber taken for Government purposes. Money value of the pine can be easily determined by taking price of timber sold on forestry reserve and on land adjacent to the ten sections. The dead and blown-down timber on this tract should be sold at once and money paid into the Chippewa fund. Large advances of money have been made by the Govern- ment to the Chippewas of Minnesota, reimbursable from sale of land and pine. Credits as above indicated would materially aid in balancing the account. A determined effort is being made by parties owning property in northern Minnesota to obtain Congressional action abolishing the forest reserve. If they succeed, the standing pine upon the ten sections, together with that upon Star Island, should be cut and money credited to the Chippewa fund. With the forestry proposition abolished these small tracts of timber can serve no useful purposes, and therefore should be disposed of in the same manner as the re- mainder of the pine on ceded lands. Intemperance.-The consumption of alcoholic liquors by the Indians is increas- ing rapidly. The recent decision of the Supreme Court declaring an allotted Indian a citizen and no longer subject to the prohibitory laws forbidding the sale of alcoholic liquors to Indians is doing incalculable harm to the Chippewas. Liquor is now sold over the bar to Indians and white folks alike in all or nearly all licensed saloons. This evil, extending as it does to the women and children, will in a few years destroy the race. I know of no remedy, except new laws are enacted by Congress forbidding this traffic and stringent measures adopted enforcing them. The love of liquor seems to be a ruling passion with all Indians, and moral suasion is of no avail. Drunklenness can only be controlled by rendering it difficult or impossible for Indians to obtain liquor. Dams and reservoirs.-High water, caused by unusual amount of rainfall which is held in the lakes and rivers by the Government dams, has caused much damage to the Indians. The high water has submerged all the low lands upon the allotments adjacent to the lakes and rivers, and has entirely destroyed the wild rice crop, upon which many depended for their food during the winter. It has flooded all their hay meadows and but little hay will be cut on the reser- vations. A good deal of their timber is also standing in water, which will die and be lost to them. The graves of many of their dead who were buried near the lakes have been washed away. They seem to have no legal claim for dam- ages, as they received a cash indemnity from the Government covering all dam- ages which might accrue from high water on account of the Government dams. This does not ameliorate their condition in the least, as all the money was spent as soon as received by them, and it is difficult to convince them that the destruction of their food supply, property, and graves of their ancestors was paid for many years ago. Unless some great public good is subserved by hold- ing back this water, in justice to the Indians it should be discontinued. G. L. SCOTT, - Maj. 10th Ca'v., Actg. U. S. Indiain Agit.
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