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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the years 1921-1932

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the fiscal year ended June 2, 1921,   pp. [1]-69 ff. PDF (26.8 MB)

Page 26

from taxation. At the same time the instances are far too frequent 
where those of one-half or less Indian blood-often young men who 
have had excellent educational privileges-secure patents in fee, dis- 
pose of their land at a sacrifice, put most of the proceeds in an auto- 
mobile or some other extravagant investment, and in a few months 
are "down and out," as far as any visible possessions are concerned.
The situation, therefore, suggests-the need of some revision of 
practice as a check upon the machinations of white schemers who 
covertly aid the issuance of fee patents in order to cheat the holders 
out of their realty, and as a restraint upon those who are not so 
lacking in competency as in the disposition to make the right use of 
it. and also as a stimulant to the- thrifty holder of a trust title to 
accept the entire management of his estate with the full privileges 
and obligations that follow. 
The well-known purposes of the Government are to fit the Indian 
for self-support and to protect his interests while doing so, and 
then to expect him to do his best toward independent living. The 
Government should not be expected to shirk its trust. It should not 
be made easy for young men to squander their substance and drift 
into vagrancy, nor for successful landholders to remain under re- 
strictions not justified by their qualifications for citizenship. 
It is hoped to finid a way through which the competency of an 
applicant for a patent in fee can be tested by actual accomplish- 
ments on his land or in the particular industry in which he may be 
engaged, such as the maintenance of himself and family, if mar- 
ried, in a fair degree of comfort for a definite period prior to his 
application, so that not only the ability but the inclination and am- 
bition to exert it will be evidenced and constitute a determining ele- 
ment. The same principle also argues that this standard of compe- 
tency should bar an extension of the trust period to every energetic 
Indian who is getting ahead year after year, proving himself a 
capable farmer, stock grower, or a thrifty provider for his family 
in some vocation,, and because of this ability to manage well his 
affairs should gladly assume the full rights and obligations which 
the issuance of a patent in fee confers. In all such instances of un- 
questionable competency consideration might well be given to the 
matter of determining the individual interests in tribal property 
and turning over to these progressive Indians their full share of the 
tribal estate. 
Th  act of May 25, 1918 (40 Stat. L., 591), and June 30, 1919 (41 
Stat. L., 9), provide that the funds of any Indian tribe, if susceptible
of segregation, may be distributed among the members thereof upon 
the preparation and approval of a final roll. Under authority of the 
acts mentioned, final rolls have been approved or are in process of 
preparation on the following reservations: Crow and Flathead, 
ont. Fort Hall, Idaho; Cheyenne and Arapahoe, Osage, Kiowa, 
Otoe, Ionca, and Pawnee, Okla.; Rosebud, Sisseton, and Yankton, 
S. Dak.; and Spokane, Wash. 
The practice is to pay the shares of competent Indians to them for 
expenditure as they see fit, and to place the shares of noncompeteyits 
and minors to the credit of their respective accounts, subject tthe 

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