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INDIAN TRIBES OF CALIFORNIA
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS, Wednesday, May 5, 1926. The subcommittee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. F. D. Letts (chairman) presiding.
Mr. LETTS. This hearing is on two bills relating to Indians in California; one, H. R. 8036, introduced by the later Mr. Raker; and the other, H. R. 9497, introduced by Mrs. Kahn.
The bills will be inserted in the record at this point. (The bills referred to are as follows:)
[H. R. 8036, Sixty-ninth Congress, first session]
A BILL Authorizing any tribe or band of Indians of California to submit claims to the Court of Claims
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all claims of whatsoever nature that any tribe or band of Indians of California may have against the United States by reason of those certain eighteen treaties ratified by the chiefs and head men of the several tribes and bands of Indians of California, which said treaties were submitted to the Senate of the United States by President Fillmore for ratification on the 1st day of June, 1852, or by deprivation of the lands and goods referred to in said treaties, or the failure or refusal of the United States to compensate said tribes or bands of Indians for lands occupied and claimed by them, as referred to in said treaties, and which lands are claimed to have been taken from them without compensation, may be submitted to the Court of Claims for determination of the amount, if any, due said tribes or bands from the United States; and jurisdiction is hereby conferred upon the Court of Claims of the United States, with the right of either party to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, to hear and determine all such claims, if any, of said tribes or bands against the United States, and to enter judgment thereon.
SEC. 2. If any claim or claims be submitted to said courts they shall settle the rights therein, both legal and equitable, notwithstanding lapse of time or statutes of limitation, or the fact that the said claim or claims have not been presented to any other tribunal, including the commission created by the act of March 3, 1851 (Ninth Statutes at Large, page 631): Provided, That any judgment for said claimants shall be for an amount equal to the fair value of the compensation provided for the Indians in said treaties, including the lands described in said treaties, not to exceed $1.25 per acre for the said lands, with interest thereon at 4 per centum per annum from June 1, 1852, to the date of the judgment. Any judgment which may have been made by the United States upon any claim or claims made under the provisions of this act shall not be pleaded as an estoppel, but may be pleaded by way of set-off, and any sums paid to or expended by the United States for the benefit of the claimants shall be credited to the United States as of the dates the court finds such payments. or expenditures to have been made.
SEC. 3. The claims of those entitled to sue under the provisions of this act shall be presented jointly by petition, which shall be filed within two years after the passage of this act. Said petition shall be subject to amendment. Any tribe or band of Indians or claimants the court may deem neces-sary to a final and just determination of a claim that has been filed under the
provisions of this act may be joined as a party plaintiff notwithstanding the fact that the said tribe or band or claimants have not filed a claim within two years after the passage of this act. The petition shall be signed and verified by the attorney or attorneys employed by the claimants under contract approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Verification may be upon information and belief as to the facts alleged. Official letters, papers, documents, and public records, or certified copies thereof, may be used in evidence and the departments of the Government shall give the said attorney or attorneys access to such papers, correspondence, or records as may be necessary in the premises.
SEC. 4. Any court rendering a judgment under the provisions of this act shall decree such fees as it shall find to be reasonable, not exceeding 10 per centum of the amount of the recovery, to be paid the attorney or attorneys employed by the claimants as compensation for their services in such action. In addition to the amounts above provided for in said judgment the court shall decree an amount to cover all necessary and proper expenses incurred in the preparation and prosecution of the claims herein authorized.
SEC. 5. The amount of any judgment rendered, other than that provided for in section 4 hereof, shall be placed in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the claimants entitled thereto and shall draw interest at the rate of 4 per centum per annum until such time as the Congress shall otherwise direct.
SEC. 6. For the purpose of this act the tribes or bands of Indians of California shall be construed to mean those Indians residing in California at the time of the alleged deprivation of their lands and their descendants.
SEC. 7. Within eighteen months after the passage of this act the Secretary of the Interior, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, shall cause a roll to be made of the persons entitled to claim thereunder. Said roll shall be a public record and made accessible to claimants, their agents and attorneys at reasonable times. Any person claiming to be entitled to share under the provisions of this act may within two years after its approval present or cause to be presented to said Secretary an application in writing for his enrollment as a claimant hereunder. At any time within two and one-half years after the approval of this act the said Secretary shall have the right to alter and revise said roll, at the end of which time said roll shall be final and conclusive as to the rights of the persons entitled to share under this act.
¡H. R. 9497, Sixty-ninth Congress, first session]
A BILL To provide funds for the reimbursement of the Indians of California for lands taken from them under the eighteen treaties of 1851 and 1852, and without treaty, and under subsequent court decisions for which no compensation has heretofore been made; and to provide for the administration of the appropriation herein made, including the creation of a commission to have charge of said administration
Whereas in 1851 and 1852 there were concluded between a large proportion of the uncivilized Indians of California and the representatives of the Government of the United States eighteen treaties, under which certain Indian tribes in California, represented by four hundred and one chiefs, captains, and headsmen, bound their tribes to live under the jurisdiction of the United States and to accept certain lands as a perpetual assignment to them by the Government in lieu of all other lands to which these Indians had the right of possession from hundreds of years of undisturbed occupancy, and also the right of possession under the laws of Mexico prior to the cession of California to the United States; and
Whereas the early recognition of the claim of prior occupancy in the United States is shown by the following communication, drawn up by General Knox, Secretary of War, and transmitted to Congress on June 15, 1789, by George Washington, President of the United States:
"The Indians, being the prior occupants, possess the right of soil. not be taken from them unless by their free consent, or by right of conquest in cast of a just war. To dispossess them on any other principle would be a gross violation of the fundamental laws of nature, and of that distributive justice which is the glory of a nation"; and