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of such intervenors have actually rendered services or incurred expenses, he shall ascertain the amount equitably due, irrespective of whether the claimant was employed directly by any such Indian or by the authorized agent or representative of such Indian, and include in such report the amount which should be paid to such intervenors (or their personal representatives or assigns) in order to make adequate compensation for such service or expenditures.

Sec. 2. In making such investigation the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to consider (a) the evidence taken on behalf of the plaintiffs and intervening petitioners and the defendants in the case of Winton v. Amos, above referred to, subject to all objections and exceptions therein noted; (b) the records of the Interior Department and of the commission to the Five Civilized Tribes; and (c) such other evidence as the interested parties may adduce.

OBJECT OF THE BILL

The purpose to be accomplished by this legislation sufficiently appears on the face of S. 2134, but is further explained by the memorandum written to the Secretary of the Interior by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs under date of December 9, 1929. This memorandum was forwarded by the Secretary to the chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs as an adverse report on the bill. On account of the informative matter contained therein the memorandum is appended hereto as a part of this report:

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,

Washington, December 9, 1929. Memorandum for the Secretary.

Reference is made herein to S. 2134 and to the letter of November 19, 1929, of Hon. Lynn J. Frazier, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, requesting your opinion on said bill.

3. 2134 relates to the claims of certain persons against the enrolled Mississippi Choctaw members of the Choctaw Indian Nation, Oklahoma, to compensation for services alleged to have been rendered and expenditures alleged to have been made in behalf of said Mississippi Choctaws in connection with their identification, enrollment, removal to, and maintenance in the Choctaw Nation under certain provisions of law.

The purpose of S. 2134 is to authorize and direct the Secretary of the Interior to consider and determine, from the evidence taken in behalf of the plaintiffs intervening petitioners, and defendants in the case of Winton et al. v. the Mississippi Choctaws, “recently pending" in the United States Court of Claims, the records of the Interior Department and the commission to the Five Civilized Tribes pertaining thereto, and such other evidence as the interested parties may take under rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior, whether any of the intervenors in the above-mentioned Winton case have actually rendered services of value or expended money for the benefit of any Choctaw Indian enrolled as a Mississippi Choctaw under the act of June 28, 1898 (30 Stat. L. 495), and supplemental legislation, in the matter of presentation of his claim to enrollment and citizenship in the Choctaw Nation; the submission of evidence in the matter of identification and enrollment and in the matter of the removal of said Indian to the Choctaw Nation and maintenance therein to enable him to comply with the provisions of the act of July 1, 1902 (32 Stat. L. 641), and other matters incidental to the foregoing.

The bill further provides that if the Secretary of the Interior shall determine and find that such services of value had been rendered and not compensated for, or that such expenditures had been made and not reimbursed, he shall determine and fix the amount or amounts of such compensation or reimbursement and shall ascertain and determine the person or persons entitled to receive the same, irrespective of whether said person or persons were employed by such Indian or by the authorized agent or representative of such Indian.

The bill further provides that the amount or amounts found to be due shall be paid out of any funds in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, and authorizes an appropriation of such sum or sums as may be necessary. By the terms of the bill all claims thereunder are required to be filed within one year after the passage of the act.

By the act of Congress of April 26, 1906 (34 Stat. L. 140), the Court of Claims was authorized and directed to hear, consider, and adjudicate the claims of the estate of Charles F. Winton, deceased, his associates, and assigns, against the Mississippi Choctaws for services rendered and expenses incurred in the matter of the claim of the Mississippi Choctaws to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation, and to render judgment thereon on the principle of quantum meruit in such amount or amounts as might appear equitably or justly due therefor, the judgment, if any, to be paid from funds then or thereafter due such Choctaws by the United States.

By the act of May 29, 1908 (35 Stat. L. 457), the Court of Claims was authorized and directed to hear, consider, and adjudicate the claims against the Mississippi Choctaws of William N. Vernon, J. S. Bounds, Chester Howe, and their associates or assigns, for services rendered and expenses incurred in the matter of the claims of the Mississippi Choctaws to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation, and to re.ider judgment thereon on the principle of quantum meruit in such amount or amounts as might appear equitably and justly due therefor, the judgment, if any, to be paid from funds then or thereafter due such Choctaw Indians as individuals by the United States; and Messrs. William N. Vernon, J. S. Bounds, and Chester Howe were authorized to intervene in the above-mentioned Winton suit. The claims of these persons and others against the Mississippi Choctaws were 'considered by the Court of Claims in the case of The Estate of Charles F. Winton, deceased, et al. v. Jack Amos et al., known as Mississippi Choctaws."

The Court of Claims, in its decision of May 29, 1916 (51 C. of Cls. 284-319), decided against the claimants. Certain of the claimants appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, and, on appeal, the decision of the Court of Claims was affirmed except as to the group of claimants known as Robert L. Owen and associates. (See decision of March 7, 1921, of the Supreme Court of the United States, 255 U. S. 373.)

In view of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, the claim of Robert L. Owen and his associates was further considered by the Court of Claims and that court, on June 12, 1922, awarded to Robert L. Owen and his associates the sum of $175,000. By act of Congress approved September 22, 1922 (42 Stat. L. 1048–1053), provision was made for the satisfaction of this judgment against the Mississippi Choctaw Indians. The judgment in favor of Robert L. Owen and his associates was against all enrolled Mississippi Choctaw Indians and payment has been made in satisfaction thereof.

As indicated above, the claims of the intervenors in the case were denied by the Court of Claims and the decision of the Court of Claims in that respect was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States.

It was provided in the agreement of the United States with the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians contained in section 29 of the act of Congress of June 28, 1898 (30 Stat. L. 495-507), that all contracts looking to the sale or encumbrance in any way of the lands of an allottee, except the sale as provided in the act, should be null and void. The act of May 31, 1900 (31 Stat. L. 221-237), contained a provision relating especially to the Mississippi Choctaws to the effect that all contracts or agreements looking to the sale and encumbrance in any way of the lands to be allotted the Mississippi Choctaws should be null and void. These provisions were necessary in order that the Indians might be afforded some protection against their own weaknesses and in order that their allotments might be saved to them. Any liability the Mississippi Choctaws may have to attorneys or agents employed by them in connection with their Choctaw enrollment and allotment claims is an individual liability based upon the contractual relationships of the individuals and, for any cause of action between the parties of the contracts, there is a complete and adequate remedy in the local courts except that, by the act of Congress, such claims against the enrolled Mississippi Choctaws can not be collected out of the tribal funds due them or from the tribal lands allotted to them.

The commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, in its report of March 10, 1899, relative to the Mississippi Choctaws, said:

The commission feels its duty to report that contracts have been secured by white persons with almost every family for one-half of the lands and moneys which may be obtained by them, upon representation that their services are necessaary to them in securing their rights. Such contracts are easily secured from these people, many of whom are so ignorant as to be able only with difficulty to give the names of the members of their families. Persons securing such

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contracts have done nothing whatever and can do nothing toward securing to these people any benefits accruing to them under the article of the treaty ir question.'

The Court of Claims, in its above-mentioned opinion in the Winton case, said, referring to the Mississippi Choctaws, that they were childishly unsophisticated and absolutely without conception of their property rights or any well-considered ideas as to what they should pay to obtain them. The court further said:

It was no task to secure their assent to almost any proposition, evidenced by the fact that as a general thing they manifested no compunction of conscience in duplication of express agreements, and hesitated in acting as frequently as contrary advice was offered. These statements are all deductible from the record. It is almost incomprehensible to believe otherwise when it positively appears tha: with apparent ease, individual contracts were obtained from these Indians providing for an absolute grant of one-half of their total estate in the event of success, and in such numbers that even the minimum number obtained by one representative would represent a fortune.”

The records of the department indicate that Mississippi Choctaw claimants to Choctaw enrollment and allotment were, to an unusual extent, the victims of numerous extortionate contracts and the correspondence and reports also indicate that in many cases the contracts were obtained through misrepresentation as to the facts and that in some cases the contracts were obtained from Indians who were led to believe that the persons obtaining the contracts were Government agents.

Relative to the particular claims against the Mississippi Choctaws of Messrs. William N. Vernon, J. S. Bounds, Chester Howe, James E. Arnold, and other intervenors in the above-mentioned Winton suit, reference is herein made to the Court of Claims' above-mentioned opinion of May 29, 1916, in the Winton case, and to the court's finding of the same date as to the facts relative to the claims of the intervenors in that case.

In view of the above and of the findings of fact and decision of the Court of Claims and of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Winton case adverse to the claims of the intervenors in said case, I do not believe that the proposed legislation should be favorably considered. The enactment of S. 2134 is not recommended.

C. J. Rhoads, Commissioner. It is believed by the committee that the criticism made by the Court of Claims which is referred to in the above memorandum applies only to part of the claimants, and that some thereof have a just and proper claim, the amount of which can not be readily determined by the committee. A bill for the same general purpose as S. 2134 was introduced in the first session of the Seventieth Congress, and was considered by the Committee on Indian Affairs and by a subcommittee thereof. That bill, S. 1189 of said Congress, conferred upon the Court of Claims jurisdiction to determine the controverted facts surrounding the claims. This course was deemed objectionable by the committee, as the Indians were not able to make adequate defense on their own behalf, and the committee considered it unwis: and unjust to have them brought by force of an act of Congress to the Court of Claims for the litigation of these controversies. S. 2134 does not require appearance by the Indian in the Court of Claims. As a substitute procedure it requires examination by the Secretary of the Interior with the direction to report the results of the examination to Congress. A further distinction is that the former bill would have resulted in payment out of the property of the Indians. S. 2134 will merely result in a report back to Congress, leaving to the latter body the responsibility of determining how the claim shall be ultimately paid. It is assumed they will be paid by an appropriation from the Treasury of the United States.

NECESSITY FOR THE BILL

Without reciting in detail the history of the Mississippi Choctaws, it will suffice to say that the United States was under treaty obligation to move these Indians to the Choctaw Nation. Part thereof were moved, but many hundreds were permitted to remain in Mississippi. They were without funds and were unable to take advantage of their right for enrollment in the Choctaw Nation, Certain individuals, including the claimants, who were intervenors in the litigation referred to in the bill as amended by the committee, took up the obligation of the United States Government. Their claim, therefore, ought not be paid by the Indians but equitably ought to be met by the United States.

AMENDMENTS PROPOSED BY THE COMMITTEE

The chief purpose and effect of the amendments suggested by the committee is to avoid delegating judicial power to the Secretary of the Interior and to provide the means whereby Congress may ultimately make determination as to the solution of this problem. Such determination can not well be made without considerable investigation. The amended bill will provide the necessary investigation and the committee feels sure that when the facts have been fully developed it will be possible for Congress to provide necessary relief and to do so without injustice to the Indian.

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