« PreviousContinue »
and Carlisle Indian School, Chilocco Indian School, Haskell Insti-
Where payments of moneys are made to parents and guardians,
Needed legislation.—While considerable tribal property remains undistributed, the administration of Indian affairs in eastern Oklahoma has become one largely of supervision and guidance of individual restricted Indians and their affairs. Dependable results must come through education and thrift. Many of these restricted Indians are primitive in their thoughts and actions, unfamiliar with the changed conditions which suddenly have surrounded them. They must have time and assistance to accommodate themselves to the new order of things involving intense commercial competitions, not to mention the many snares of the astute and practiced dealer. The communal system of ownership of property, to which these people were accustomed for many generations, did not have in it the elements of the present-day business practices. Not even in their languages are there indications of their familiarity with an individualized commercial system of values. Such words as "patent," “mortgage," “conveyance, contract," etc., do not appear in their lexicons. Their mode of living and exchange of values did not contemplate the significance of the present transactions involving these considerations. It is therefore not strange that many convey, when permitted, their property for inadequate consideration and reduce themselves to destitution.
With large areas of communal land for the pasturage of horses, cattle, and hogs, an abundance of game and fish free to all, regular and fruitful seasons, and tribal provisions for schools, there was little need for intensive farming or incentive for economy and, less, training for the day when each must confine himself to a small acreage of land and by his own endeavors provide for his needs and contribute his share to the maintenance of the institutions of the government under which he might live. The time has come when the Indian must work with the tools and in the way others use
to survive. That kind of education, which not only trains the brain and the hand for cooperative action, but more especially instills in the individual the desire to work and the ambition to maintain himself, fit and strong, should be liberally provided and regular attendance in school required. Every effort, legislative and administrative, should be made to protect the restricted Indian's health, to retain his allotment or a reasonable part of it, to encourage him to live upon it, to farm it himself, and to use his funds for his permanent benefit.
Thirty to fifty years hence the personnel of the Indian population in Oklahoma will be those born since the rolls closed March 4, 1907. Manifestly particular attention should be given to their education and their inheritances. Their names do not appear on the tribal rolls, and they have no allotments of land.
Approximately one-third of the enrolled Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes are restricted. They have been thus classified according to their quantum of Indian blood. Many of these are able to care for themselves and do not need the supervision of the Government. Provision should be made for the personal determination of those who need supervision and assistance, and upon such determination those capable of attending to their own affairs should be so declared. The speedy settlement of tribal affairs and distribution of the tribal funds to those qualified by determination of competency and those by law unrestricted should be made, and the funds of those needing further supervision used for their permanent benefit.
To the end that tribal affairs may be terminated and that the department may be in position properly to supervise the individuals who need and should have governmental assistance, such persons to be determined by a personal investigation and enumeration, and thereupon declared restricted, the following legislation is suggested:
First. For the disposition of coal and asphalt minerals in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, underlying about 440,000 acres.
Second. For early per capita disposition and distribution of tribal moneys.
Third. For a survey of the boundary line between the State of Texas and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, Oklahoma, along the Red River, as a basis for settlement of the numerous disputes which have arisen and continue to arise by reason of the uncertainty as to the correct boundary.
Fourth. For a further appropriation of at least $275,000 to be used during the next fiscal year in the aid of common schools in Oklahoma, and for the continuation of such tribal or Government schools as may be necessary.
Fifth. To provide for sanatoria, treating stations, and physicians conveniently located for the treatment and prevention of diseases.
Sixth. For the repeal of the law which permits restricted Indians to lease their lands for agricultural purposes without departmental supervision.
Seventh. For the repeal of the law which provides that lands of restricted Indians shall immediately become unrestricted upon the death of the allottee, and, in lieu thereof, provision for the sale, under departmental supervision, of inherited restricted lands by restricted heirs.
Eighth. For the partition of estates of deceased allottees, obviating the dissipation of small interests of heirs on account of the expense of a guardian sale, and preventing undue control of the entire estate by a few of the heirs or their grantees.
Ninth. For the repeal of the law which permits a restricted Indian to make a valid will of his restricted property.
Tenth. For payment of equalization and per capita funds to heirs of deceased allottees upon proofs of heirship without the expense of administratorship.
Number of pensioners.—There were on the pension roll at the end of the fiscal year 748,147 names, a net loss of 37,092 from the total of 785,239 on the roll at the beginning of the year.
The percentage of deaths of Civil War soldiers from 1909 to 1915 increased gradually from 5.2 per cent to 7.7, but the actual number of deaths does not always show an increase year by year.
The number of deaths of Civil War soldiers (pensioners) during the year was 33,255, as against 33,639 in the fiscal year 1914, this being the first year, however, which shows a decrease in the number of widows on the roll, there having been more deaths of widows and remarriages than additions to the roll during the year. The number of deaths of widows on the roll during the year was 17,915.
Unexpended balances of appropriation.—The unexpended balances of appropriations at the close of the year were as follows:
For Army and Navy pensions---
$3, 534, 964. 08
104, 295. 60 51, 333. 15 34, 667. 71
3, 725, 260. 54 Disbursements for pensions.—The amount disbursed in the payment of pensions during the year was $165,518,266.14, as against $172,417,546.26 for the preceding year and $174,171,660.80 for the
year before that. This shows a growing decrease in the annual expenditures, which may naturally be expected to continue.
The amount appropriated for the payment of pensions for the fiscal year 1915 was $169,000,000, and the appropriation for the current fiscal year is $164,000,000. It is estimated that $160,500,000 will be needed to be appropriated for the fiscal year 1917.
The total amount disbursed for pensions from July 1, 1790, to July 1, 1915, is shown to be $4,895,475,637.08, of which amount $4,614,643,267.43 is charged to allowances made on the basis of service rendered in the Civil War.
The number of pensioners residing in foreign countries in the year 1915 was 4,660, and the amount paid them was $945,220.19.
Certificates issued and applications filed.—There were 95,203 certificates issued during the year, as against 114,902 issued during the fiscal year 1914. There were received during the year 80,862 applications of all kinds. The total number of inclosures received through the mail division was 1,513,232, and the total number of pieces sent out was 3,997,868.
Reduction of force.—A further decrease in the work of the Pension Bureau, due to natural causes, necessitated a further reduction in the force of employees of the bureau. Congress therefore eliminated 93 positions for the current fiscal year. The vacancies occurring throughout the year by reason of deaths, resignations, and transfers were not filled, however, so that enough had occurred by the end of the fiscal year to meet the requirements of the law without having to drop any employees from the rolls. All the vacancies, , however, were not of the grades required, hence it became necessary to reduce the salaries of quite a number of employees in order to meet the requirements of the new appropriation act. For the next fiscal year there are 1,182 employees as against 1,275 for the past year.
Family-data circular.-An improved circular was prepared with much care for the purpose of eliciting information as to the marital relations and service of pensioners that would be valuable in the adjudication of claims of both the soldiers and sailors and their widows and children and also valuable for historic purposes. This circular was sent to every male pensioner on the rolls (440,000) and 349,091 were filled out and returned to the bureau during the fiscal year.
Metal boxes for files. There are over 2,000,000 files of pension claims in the bureau. They have been held together by a leather strap in bundles of about 50 each, and the life of such a strap has been about two years. Hence it was necessary to renew it every two years, while its cost has materially increased from time to time. Also, in handling the bundles thus strapped the files would be much
worn and abraded. Therefore galvanized steel file boxes are being substituted for the leather straps.
They are 27 inches long, 6 inches high, and 44 inches wide and hold from 40 to 80 cases each. They protect the files of papers, allow them to be more readily handled, and at less cost for labor and greater economy of space. The boxes cost the bureau 374 cents each, which is less than the cost of a strap. There are now installed 2,900 of such boxes and 3,100 more are ordered. Others will be ordered as the straps wear out. This is believed to be an improvement of much importance.
Clearance section.—A system of accounting for claims through clearance sections has been established in the several large divisions, and thoroughly tested, by which the exact status of the work of the bureau, day by day or on any given day, may be known, so that when the pending claims were actually counted at the end of the fiscal year and the result compared with the number shown to be on hand by the bookkeeping system the discrepancy was very slight-only 5 in approximately 45,000 claims. This result was really marvelous in view of the fact that the pending claims are handled very many times in going into and out from the divisions through the clearance sections before final adjudication and allowance.
Formerly the counts of claims were largely haphazard, and there existed no ready means of testing their reliability. Hence the discrepancies were large, frequently many thousands. Now the results are sure, as shown by the harmony between the actual count and the bookkeeping.
APPEALS IN PENSION AND BOUNTY LAND CLAIMS.
On page 43 in the table shown in the report of the office of the solicitor statistics concerning the work of the pension-appeal section of that office during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1915, are given in detail. It appears therefrom that there were pending on July 1, 1914, 3,111 undecided appeals. During the past year there have been docketed 3,202 appeals and motions, making in all 6,313 cases presented for consideration and decision. Of these 5,450 were disposed of, leaving 863 pending.
Compared with the work of the year covered by the last annual report, the figures show a material reduction in the number of appeals filed. It is gratifying, however, to note the very substantial increase in the total number disposed of, thus greatly reducing the number of pending matters, as a result of which these cases are now assigned out for consideration within a reasonable time after receipt and disposed of with such dispatch as careful consideration of the work will warrant.