R[obert] V Belt.

The Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi, in Iowa, claimants. vs. the Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi, in Oklahoma, and the United States, defendants. For the adjustment of claims arising from unequal apportionment of the annuities of the confederated tribes of Sac and Fox Indians of the Mi online

. (page 1 of 5)
Online LibraryR[obert] V BeltThe Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi, in Iowa, claimants. vs. the Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi, in Oklahoma, and the United States, defendants. For the adjustment of claims arising from unequal apportionment of the annuities of the confederated tribes of Sac and Fox Indians of the Mi → online text (page 1 of 5)
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GommissiODeF ol iDHian Bifairs (or investigation





For the Adjustment of Claims Arising from Un-
equal Apportionment of the Annuities of the
Confederated Tribes of Sac and Fox Indians
of the Mississippi, Between the Two Branches
of the Tribes.


The Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi, residing- in
the State of Iowa, after faiHng to secure adjustment of
their claims by the Department of the Interior, addressed
a memorial to Congress, praying for relief by legislation.

(Senate Mis. Doc. No. 48, 53d Congress, 3d ses.) Con-
gress promptly enacted a provision of law in the Indian Ap-
propriation Act of March 2, 1895, (-8 Stat. 903), requiring
the Secretary of the Interior to examine the claims and to
make report thereon to Congress. The Secretary of the
Interior made report, as set out in Senate Document No.
167, 54th Congress, ist session; his conclusions were ad-
verse to the First and Second claims, and favorable upon the
Third claim. The Third claim has been adjusted upon the
basis of said report, under provision of law therefor found
in the Indian Appropriation Act of June 10, 1896, (29 Stat.


The claimant Indians appealed to Congress from the ad-
verse report made by the Secretary of the Interior on the
First and Second claims, pointing out that no such consid-
eration of the facts in the matter had been given, as contem-
plated by the law, and that the adverse report was based on
technical and inequitable construction of laws and treaties,
depriving the claimant Indians of what justly and equitably
belonged to them.

At the time of making said appeal, the claimant Indians
also called attention to the fact that the sum of $500.00 per
annum, provided by the fourth article of the treaty of 1842,
to be paid to the principal chief of the Foxes, had been with-
held from him since 1855. Payment of the annual amount
due him under that provision of the treaty was resumed in

This appeal was under consideration by the appropriate
committees of Congress for a number of years. In response
to a resolution of the House all of the facts on the subject
were secured by Congress from the Treasury Department.
(See. H. R. Doc. No. 38, 57th Congress, ist ses.) The
Committee on Indian Affairs of the House of Representa-
tives made an exhaustive report on the case — (H. R. Re-
port No. 3022, 59th Congress, ist session, subsequently con-

Si7 transfer
24 ;a 1907

curred in by Senate Report No. 3621), and submitted there-
with a bill. H. R. 10 133, providing for the adjustment of
the claims for past unequal distribution of the annuities be-
tween the two branches of the tribes, and for correcting- the
evils complained of, so as to prevent injustice to the claim-
ant Indians in the future apportionment of the annuities.
That bill was passed by Congress.

When the bill was before the President for approval, a
veto thereof was recommended by the Secretary of the In-
terior. The President, on the other hand, was urged
against such action. He gave a hearing on the subject ; but,
as neither the Secretary of the Interior nor the Commis-
sioner of Indian Affairs could be present, being distant, he
finally determined to veto the bill, but, in his veto message,
informed Congress that he had directed the Acting Com-
missioner of Indian Affairs to have an immediate and thor-
ough investigation made of the matter, and that a report
of such investigation be presented to him ; saying further :

"and after the report of this investigation has reached me I
shall be prepared to give my assent to any bill which shall do
justice both to the Indians in Iowa and the Indians in Okla-

The vetoed bill is yet pending before Congress, subject co
the Constitutional right of that body to pass it over the veto.

It is, at the same time, pending before the President, who
has required a more thorough investigation of the claims to
be made, for his fuller information on the subject. Con-
gress will no doubt await the result of the investigation
ordered by the President.

In this situation, and with the evident desire on the part
of all concerned to do what justice shall demand, there is
hope for a righteous and final adjustment of the claims.

The counsel for the Oklahoma branch of the tribes, have
devoted much time and labor to the preparation of a de-
fense, since the bill was vetoed and have presented a brief

on behalf of their chents, wherein they have contended
against the claims on technical grounds. A copy of that
brief was served on the counsel for the claimant Indians on
December 15, 1906.

There is much in the brief of counsel for the Oklahoma
branch of the tribes that challenges discussion, and that
prompts correction or the more accurate setting forth of the
facts; but discussion of matters not essential to a clear un-
derstanding of the claims under consideration will only
consume time, and encumber this brief with much unneces-
sary material. The intelligence of the reviewing officers
will enable them to discriminate between what is material
and what is not. In order that the report on the subject
may be made to the President at the earliest possible date,
so that he may have time for its consideration, and the Con-
gress may be enabled to take action on the claims at the
present session, little time is allowed for making reply to
said brief.


The claims of the Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi,
residing in the State of Iowa, grow out of the failure of the
Department of the Interior to apportion and allow to them
their distributive shares of the moneys appropriated by
Congress annually for fulfilling treaty stipulations with the
Confederated tribes of the Sac and Fox Indians of the
Mississippi. The claims are by one branch of the tribes
against the other. The guardian of the Indians, charged
with the care of the estate of the wards, is asked to make
the adjustment, as the laws and facts show right and jus-
tice to require.

The claims are three in number, and are as follows :

First. For their proportionate shares of the annuities,
according to their numbers, from 1855, to 1866, inclusive,

during which period no portion of the tribal annuities were
allowed or paid to them, or expended for their benefit.

Second. For amounts due them by reason of the unequal
apportionment of the tribal annuities between the two
branches of the tribes, according to their numbers, from
1867, to the present time, and until the unequal apportion-
ment is stopped.

Third. For amount of the claim of the principal chief
of the Foxes, for the annuity of $500.00 provided by article
4 of the treaty of 1842, to be paid to him annually, from
1855, to 1899, amounting to $22,500.00.

The amounts of the First and Second claims are purposely
omitted, as they depend on whether the claimant Indians
shall be allowed on one basis or another, as is hereinafter
made to appear.

It is proper to state here that the claimant Indians, in
their first memorial to Congress, (Senate Mis Doc. No. 48,
53d Congress, 3d ses.), desired that their right to share in
the '-annuities and other moneys inuring to the Sac and
Fox Indians of the Mississippi under their treaties," should
be investigated. Congress promptly enacted the following
provision of law, in the Indian Appropriation Act of March
2, 1895:

"That the Secretary of the Interior be, and is hereby,
directed to examine the claim of the Sac and Fox Indians
of Mississippi, now residing in the State of Iowa, as set
forth in their memorial presented to Congress (Senate Mis-
cellaneous Document Numbered Forty-eight, Fifty-third
Congress, third session), for the payment of annuities and
other sums from the tribal funds of said Sac and Fox In-
dians of Mississippi and any and all claims of that portion
of the tribe residing in Iowa, and to ascertain whether, un-
der any treaties or acts of Congress, any amount is justly
due them as a portion of said tribe from those of said tribe
now in Oklahoma by reason of any unequal distribution of
tribal annuities, land funds, or funds from other sources;
and if so, how much, giving full opportunity to all parties

in interest to be heard, and to report his conclusions to Con-
gress at the next assembhng thereof." (28 Stat. 896.)

The report of the Secretary of the Interior, made to Con-
gress, on the claims, (Senate Doc. No. 167), treated in the
First and Second Claims of what are technically or com-
monly termed annukics only. The appeal to Congress from
that adverse report, now under consideration, has proceeded
with the matter as set out in the report of the Secretary of
the Interior. Therefore, this brief will deal with the moneys
known as annuities only, except in so far as will be neces-
sary to show how much other moneys of the tribes have
gone exclusively to the benefit of the Oklahoma branch of
the tribes.

The counsel for the Oklahoma branch have set out in
their brief their grounds for defense, which may be sum-
marized as follows :

I. That the treaties involved "make the annuities pay-
able to the tribe — the Sac and Fox Indians of the Mis-

2 The method of payment is left to Executive discretion.

3. The payments made under Executive regulations can-
not be questioned.

4. The Executive interpretation of treaties and laws is
binding upon all concerned.

5. The claims of the Claimant Indians are contrary to
the treaties and laws, as interpreted by the Department of
the Interior, and, therefore, should not be allowed.

6. That if "the officers in control of Indian Affairs failed
to make proper interpretation of the treaties and laws, then
it must go without saying that the restitution should be made
from public funds and not from Indian funds," and the
matter should be sent to the courts for final determination.


The Sac and Fox tribes of Indians were confederated at
an early period of the history of this country. Such rela-
tion is shown to have existed at the time the treaty was
made with them in 1804. (7 Stat. 84.) The Indians bearing
those tribal names formed two confederations ; one is known
by the title of "The Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi,"
and the other is known by the title of "The Sac and Fox
Indians of the Missouri." These two separate bodies have
no relation with each other in treaty matters. It is "The
Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi" that are concerned
in the matter under consideration.

The Essential Provisions of Treaties and Laws.

Whether the treaties "make the annuities payable to the
trihe," as claimed by counsel for the Oklahoma branch, or
to the Indians of the Confederated tribes, as claimed by
counsel for the Claimant Indians, will best be shown by the
provisions of the treaties on the subject, the essential parts
whereof will here be set out for easy reference :

For "goods of the value of one thousand dollars (six
hundred of which are intended for the Sacs and four hun-
dred for the Foxes).'

(Art. 3, Treaty of 1804, 7 Stat. 84. Kappler, Trea-
ties, p. 74.)

u ^°^' "^"""ities * * * to the said Sock tribe, five
hundred dollars, and to the Fox tribe five hundred dollars,
annually for the term of ten succeeding years."

(Art. 3, Treaty of 1824, 7 Stat. 229. Kappler, Trea-
ties, p. 207.)

To pay to the Sacs, three thousand dollars, and to the
l^oxes three thousand dollars annually for ten successive
years at such place, or places on the Mississippi or Missouri


as may be most convenient to said tribes, either in money,
merchandize, or domestic animals, at their option."

(Art. 4, Treaty of 1830, 7 Stat. 328. Kappler, Trea-
ties, p. 305.)

"To pay to said confederated tribes, annually, for thirty
successive years, the first payment to be made in Septem-
ber of the next year, the sum of twenty thousand dollars in

(Art. 3, Treaty of 1832, 7 Stat. 374. Kappler, Trea-
ties, p. 349.)

"In consideration of the cessions contained in the pre-
ceding article, the United States agree to the following
stipulations on their part:"

(Then follow seven specific stipulations in Aritcle 2, for
payment of money for various purposes, amounting in the
aggregate, to $177,000.00, of which $100,000.00 was for
tribal debts.)

"Eighth. To invest the sum of two hundred thousand
dollars ($200,000) in safe State stocks, and to guarantee
to the Indians, an annual income of not less than five per
cent., the said interest to be paid to them each year, in the
manner annuities are paid, at such time and place, and in
money or goods as the tribe may direct.* * Provided,
That it may be competent for the President to direct that a
portion of the same may, with the consent of the Indians,
be applied to education, or other purposes calculated to im-
prove them."

(Treaty of 1837, 7 Stat. 540. Kappler, Treaties, p,


Under the treaty of 1842, the Confederated tribes of
Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States all their land in
Iowa, stipulating to remain three years on a portion of it;
and thereafter to remove to a new reservation to be desig-
nated for them by the President, which land was designated
in Kansas.

"Article II. In consideration of the cession contained in
the preceding article, the United States agree to pay an-

niially to the Sacs and Foxes, an interest of five per centum
upon the sum of eight hundred thousand dollars, and to
pay their debts mentioned in the schedule annexed to and
made part of this treaty, amounting to the sum of two hun-
dred and fifty-eight thousand, five hundred and sixty-six dol-
lars and thirty-four cents, * * * * *_"

In the Second sub-division of said article two of the
treaty, provision is made for the removal and maintenance
of the tools and materials of the blacksmith and gunsmith

shops, provided for in treaty of 1836, "for the benefit of the
Sacs and Foxes ; one blacksmith's shop and one gunsmith's
shop to be employed exclusively for the Sacs, and one of
each to be employed exclusively for the Foxes."

Further provisions of said Second sub-division of article
two are for removing and re-establishing said shops, for
the same uses,

''when the tribes shall remove to the land to be assigned
them by the President of the United States, under the pro-
visions of this treaty."

''Article 4. It is agreed that each of the principal chiefs
of the Sacs and Foxes, shall hereafter receive the sum of
five hundred dollars annually, out of the annuities payable
to the tribe, to be used and expended by them for such pur-
poses as they may think proper, with the approbation of
their agent."

(Treaty of 1842. 7 Stat. 596. Kappler, Treaties, p.

The members of the Confederated tribes moved to the
land in Kansas, designated by the President for them, under
the treaty of 1842; they continued to reside there, until, in
1854, the Foxes of the Confederated tribes, having become
dissatisfied with their residence there, on account of health,
and because of management of tribal affairs, began to re-
turn, in considerable numbers, to their former home in
Iowa, which they considered far better suited for their
health, and for their general well being. Those first re-


turning to Iowa reported to the Governor of that State,
supposing him then to be the representative of the United
States, and ex-officio Superintendent of Indian Affairs in
said State, as was the case when they left it. They soon
found that they could lay claim to none of the land on which
they formerly resided in Iowa. Their condition — homeless
and without means for support, was brought to the attention
of the legislature of the State, and that body enacted a law,
dated July 15, 1856, permitting the said Indians to reside
in the State ; requiring the sheriff of the county in which
they were living, to make a census of them ; and requesting
the Governor of the State to advise the Secretary of War
of the whereabouts of the Indians, and request him to cause
their annuities to be paid to them there. The full text of
said law may be found in the annual report of the Commis-
sioner of Indian Affairs for 189T, page 681.

Having, as they supposed, adjusted their change of home
with the proper representative of the United States, and re-
ceived sanction for the change, they immediately began to
purchase land whereon to reside. They are now the owners
of over 3,000 acres of valuable land in the State of Iowa,
purchased with their own means.

As thorough search as was possible to the Claimant In-
dians, not having access to the archives of the Government,
has failed to discover that the request upon the Secretary of
War, for payment of the annuities of the Indians to them in
Iowa, was made by the Governor of that State. The De-
partment of the Interior, appears not to have found any
record of such request. Though a census of them does not
appear to have been made by the sheriff of the county in
which they were, the Governor had them enumerated, and
their condition investigated, and a report was made to him,
as stated by the Secretary of the Interior in letter to the
Secretary of the Treasury, dated September 4, 1900. (See
H. R. Doc. No. 38, pp, 20, 21.)


In that letter Mr. Secretary Hitchcock informed the Sec-
retary of the Treasury that :

"This census was never taken."

"Mr. George L. Davenport, under dace of September 12,
1862, reported to Governor Kirkwood, of Iowa, by whom
he had been appointed to examine into the condition of the
Sacs and Foxes then residing in the State, that they num-
bered at that time 69 men, 65 women, and 51 children, or
a total of 185, who had returned from Kansas Territory
eight years ago and brought with them $800 saved out of
their annuities for that year. * * * They have not re-
ceived any annuities for seven years."

Yet the Chief of the Oklahoma branch pretends that they
returned to Kansas each year and drew their annuities.
Further on in this brief will be shown how far short he has
come in an attempt, with ample time given him and his
counsel for the purpose, to "make good" his allegation.

Just here we will notice one of many immaterial matters
dwelt upon by counsel, as errors, "misleading quotations,"

Counsel, on page 34 of their brief, seek to show that the
statement by Claimant Indians, that Indians leaving their
reservations and becoming citizens of the United States,
could not be deprived of their annuities, under any regula-
tions of the Indian Bureau is misleading. The Claimant
Indians cited in support of this, two laws which made the ap-
plication of such regulations impossible, and which showed
the purpose generally of the law-making power on the sub-
ject ; one of said laws is the sixth section of the General Al-
lotment Act of February 8, 1887. (24 Stat. 390), which,
counsel boldly stated :

"It declares them citizens, but says nothing about annui-
ties either directly or indirectly."

The words of so much of that law as is pertinent are as
follows :


''without in any manner impairing or otherwise affecting
the right of any such Indian to tribal or other property."

The undersigned, having had somewhat to do with the
administration of Indian Affairs, has labored under the im-
pression that the words "tribal or other property" in that
law, included annuities, and all other elements of the tribal
estate, in whatever form that estate existed.

This is a sample of the many errors charged upon the
Claimant Indians in the statement of their case in their
memorials. We admit no "misleading quotations," or "mis-
statement" of facts, in any material matters. The use of
the figures, 830, as number of the Oklahoma branch, pointed
out by counsel, on page 13, instead of the figures 513, the
former number being of the whole tribes, was in no manner
misleading; that mistake did not even mislead counsel. It
was not of sufficient importance to be noticed by the De-
partment, of by the committees of Congress.

In 1859, a treaty was negotiated with those of the tribes
remaining on the reservation in Kansas, whereby they ceded
to the United States about 300,000 acres of that reserva-
tion. (See annual report of Indian Bureau, for 1859, p.
17.) The lands were to be sold to settlers; the proceeds, as
stipulated, were to be used for the industrial advancement
of the members of the tribes on the diminished resei^vation ;
and the debts of the tribes, and of the individuals were to
be paid ; these purposes were to be accomplished, even if it
should be necessary to use a portion of moneys arising under
other treaties. That treaty also contained these stipulations :

"Article 6. ***** * And, in order to ren-
der unnecessary further treaty engagements or arrange-
ments hereafter with the United States, it is hereby agreed
and stipulated that the President, with the assent of Con-
gress, shall have full power to modify or change any of the
provisions of former treaties with the Sacs and Foxes of


the Mississippi in such manner and to whatever extent he
may judge to be necessary and expedient for their welfare
and best interests.

"Article 7. The Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi parties
to this agreement, are anxious that all the members of their
tribe shall participate in the advantages herein provided for
respecting their improvement and civilization, and to that
end to induce all that are now separated to rejoin and re-
unite with them. It is therefore agreed that, as soon as
practicable, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs shall cause
the necessary proceedings to be adopted to have them noti-
fied of this agreement and its advantages and to induce them
to come in and unite with their brethren; and to enable
them to do so, and to sustain themselves for a reasonable
time thereafter, such assistance shall be provided for them
at the expense of the tribe as may be actually necessary for
that purpose. Provided, hozccvcr, That those who do not
rejoin and permanently reunite themselves with the tribe
within one year from the date of the ratification of this
treaty shall not be entitled to the benefits of any of its stipu-

(Treaty of 1859. 15 Stat. 467. Kappler, Treaties,
p. 796.)

The said treaty of 1859, was not proclaimed until July 9,

The forfeiture, by article 7, is limited to benefits arising
under that treaty only. No claim has been made under that

The Claimant Indians in Iowa have no knowledge of any
steps taken by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to make
its provisions known to them.

The Civil War came on about that time, and weightier
matters, than the adjustment of the inter-tribal affairs of
Indians, engaged the time and attention of the public offi-
cials. The members of the tribes removed to Iowa bided
their time. They neither required nor received supervision
by any agent of the United States, nor any expense for their


support or management, during those years of trouble in the
country. They earned their own support, and waited for
more favorable time and opportunity to press their claims
for their tribal rights. They received absolutely nothing
of the annuities or other moneys appropriated by Congress
for fulfilling treaties with the confederated tribes during the
period from 1855 to 1866, inclusive. No help in any form
was received from the Government during that time. They
ask that they be paid their just proportionate shares of their
tribal moneys, according to their numbers for said period.

1 3 4 5

Online LibraryR[obert] V BeltThe Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi, in Iowa, claimants. vs. the Sac and Fox Indians of the Mississippi, in Oklahoma, and the United States, defendants. For the adjustment of claims arising from unequal apportionment of the annuities of the confederated tribes of Sac and Fox Indians of the Mi → online text (page 1 of 5)