Slike strani
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Mr. Burtness. This land, then it was contemplated by this act of 1866, was not for the common-school systems of the States, but it was for land-grant colleges, that were entitled to these lands.

Mr. Merritt. For colleges of agricultural and mechanical arts.
Mr. BURTNESS. That is what put me off.

Mr. MERRITT. We have agricultural colleges for both races. We have colored agricultural colleges and normals.

We are simply asking now that Congress grant us this land in lieu of that. It would not amount to 210,000 acres. I think probably it would run along somewhere in the neighborhood of 140,000 to 150,000 acres, but since that is practically all of the public lands there are in Oklahoma, we would be glad to have that. If you will just give us that in lieu of this other, which we think you are justified in doing, we will not come here and ask you to give us the other.

Mr. LARSEN. You will then have no other claim at all; that will clean you up; that will wipe the slate clean?

Mr. MERRITT. That will wipe off the slate; that will wipe off this entire 210,000 acres.

Mr. LARSEN. I mean that you will not have any other claim at all, that you will not come in for something else?

Mr. MERRITT. No.

Mr. LARSEN. You are making the statement that this will give you entire satisfaction?

Mr. MERRITT. This act stands on the statute books showing that Oklahoma is entitled to 210,000 acres.

There is not another statute in the United States that shows that we are entitled to any land

Mr. BURTNESS (interposing). Was this point raised at the time the enabling act was passed?

Mr. MERRITT. When the enabling act was passed?
Mr. BURTNESS. Yes; that would naturally be the time to raise it, I think.
Mr. McClintic. Mr. Chairman, may I answer that question?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir.

Mr. McClintic. The provision requires that when a State comes in, it must accept the terms of the act of 1862 and 1866, within three years thereafter. The Oklahoma Legislature by joint resolution accepted the terms of this act and made application for the land to the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of the Interior ruled that he could not carry out the grant, that the grant could not be carried out without legislative action. Therefore the next step that we took, and the only step that we could take, was to come before Congress with a bill, and that action was taken, and the bill was drafted, and brought before this committee.

Mr. LARSEN. I think it would be very helpful to the committee if we had that in the record here.

Mr. McClintic. I might say, Mr. Chairman, that Judge Merritt has a record there which shows the amount of the land that each State has received, and every State has received. He has a copy of the hearings, a copy of the report, and a copy of the bill. That is a valuable report, and if it would be of assistance to the committee, I would be glad for you to have it. It just happens that I do not know where all of the surplus prints of the hearings are at the present time, but we could put these in the record for the benefit of the members.

Mr. MERRITT. I think that answers your question.
Mr. BURTNESS. Yes; it does.

Mr. MERRITT, We could not raise the question at that time. This matter has simply laid in abeyance until the State took some action.

Mr. BURTNESS. Still the matter was covered in the enabling act, as I understand it, clearly, in the enabling acts of New Mexico and Arizona.

[ocr errors]

Mr. Merritt. In New Mexico and Arizona, Congress provided in those enabling acts, that lands that were given in those enabling acts should take the place of the 30,000 acres for each representative. That is what you mean?

Mr. BURTNESS. Yes.

Mr. MERRITT. But our lands were not given in place of those lands. The extra lands that we were given were given in place of interior improvements and for swamp lands.

Mr. BURTNESS. Well, now, most States that have received lands have finally sold their lands. Your contention is that these lands should be given to you under the provisions of the act of 1866?

Mr. MERRITT. Well, our contention is simply that it is a matter of grant solely against the public lands to that State and in the

Mr. BURTNESS (interposing). Usually in the enabling act.
Mr. MERRITT. No.

Mr. BURTNESS. Well, whether it is usual or not, it has been accepted by the State legislature.

Mr. MERRITT. Until they are accepted by the State legislature they remain until after the time, of course, that the sales are made under the regulations provided by the Secretary of the Interior.

Now, I want to read to you from the hearings before the subcommittee of the Committee on Public Lands of the Sixty-fourth Congress, first session, hearings of May 20 and 22, 1916, statement by Congressman Morgan of our State, who represented the eighth district from the time the State was admitted into the Union up until his death some two or three years ago, and I presume a gentleman who was known to many of the members of this committee.

Mr. Morgan says:

“I think we have a clear legal right to this relief. For instance, take the grant of land for public-school purposes made to the States of Utah, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Washington, and Oklahoma, and you will find that the grant of land to Utah for public-school purposes amounted to over 6,000,000 acres, Montana received over 5,000,000 acres, New Mexico received over 4,000,000 acres, Arizona received over 4,000,000 acres, Nevada received nearly 4,000,000 acres, Colorado received 3,715,555 acres, Oregon received 3,387,520 acres, Wyoming received 3,368,924 acres, Idaho received 3,063,271 acres, Kansas received 2,876,124 acres, South Dakota received 2,813,511 acres, Nebraska received 2,637,155 acres, North Dakota received 2,531,200 acres, Washington received 2,448,675 acres, while Oklahoma received 1,276,204 acres.”

A little while ago, I said 375,000, but this is 276,204. You will note by comparison that we did not receive, with the exception of Washington, I believe, more than 50 per cent of the amount of acreage received by the other States for their common schools.

Now, if you take the grant of lands for public-school purposes, to the States, according to their per capita population, you will find that Utah received 16 acres per capita, Montana, 13.5 acres; New Mexico, 13.4 acres; Arizona, 28.8 acres: and Nevada, 486. acres.

That is where that 48 came from. Mr. Dyar. Forty-eight and six-tenths acres in Nevada would not be very valuable; would not be very much?

Mr. MERRITT. Well, that is just simply because they did not have the people in the State. We have a great State and our State has a population which has grown, and our advancement has been great. In 1910 we pulled alongside our sister State, Kansas. Our representation in Congress is the same as that of Kansas, a much older State; but we should not be penalized because of our advancement, and we are entitled to these lands just the same whether they are more valuable or not.

[ocr errors]

State,

you not?

Colorado received 4.6 acres; Oregon, 5.03 acres; Wyoming, 23.6 acres; Idaho, 9.4 acres; Kansas, 1.7 acres; South Dakota, 4.8 acres; Nebraska, 2.2 acres; North Dakota, 4.3 acres; Washington, 2.1 acres; while Oklahoma received 0.77 of an acre per capita.

Mr. BURTNESS. Is that based upon the population at the time the State was admitted?

Mr. MERRITT. That is based upon the population at the time the State was admitted into the Union.

I do not think-
Mr. LARSEN (interposing). Does that include the Indian population, too?
Mr. Merritt. I think all population.
Mr. LARSEN. Lands has already been allotted to the Indians in addition to that?

Mr. MERRITT. The Indians had their allotments of land. They had their private lands.

Mr. LARSEN. Therefore, according to the per capita of your population, you got a great deal more than that; because some of your citizens, whom you hold, do you not, on the basis of citizenship, which includes the Indians, to whom there had already been special allotments made.

Mr. MERRITT. Well, so far as the Indians are concerned, they are wards of the Government.

Mr. LARSEN. I understand that, but at the same time they were granted land?

Mr. MERRITT. They are citizens. They have their lands, the same as any other citizen in the State, and they reap all of the benefits and profits from their own lands, and the public can not come in there.

Mr. LARSEN. Here is what I meant to say, if you take that into consideration, you will find the per capita allotment of lands are much greater to the citizens of your

will Mr. MERRITT. No; I do not see that.

Mr. BURTNESS. Let me suggest to the gentleman from Georgia that the Indians were not placed in possession of this land by the Government or anything of that sort. That land belonged to the Indians, as much as any land ever belonged to any individuals and they were not in a position of being granted land by the Government. They probably got less than they were entitled to, rather than more, so I do not think that they ought to be counted.

Mr. LARSEN. I understand that, and what the gentleman says, might be a controverted proposition, but as I understand the statement of the gentleman he said that they got a certain amount of land, allotemnts, per capita. He says that the citizens of this State have gotten a per capita, and I am simply calling his attention to the fact that one class of his citizens have received allotments of public lands in addition to that which he would take into consideration, and I say that if he would take that into consideration he will find that the average lands per citizen is much larger.

Mr. BURTNESS. But what the gentleman from Oklahoma is referring to is the land given to the State as an entity.

Mr. LARSEN. I understand that; but he also uses in connection with that what the allotments were, per citizen, of public lands. Considered strictly from the standpoint of the citizen, then, if you take those allotments into consideration, that statement certainly would not be correct, would it?

Mr. MERRITT. The lands owned by the Indians were held and owned on the west side of the State just the same as the lands owned by any other citizen.

Mr. LARSEN. Yes.
Mr. MERRITT. Except we did not get any taxes from them.

Mr. BURTNESS. But if you took the number of acres that you did get and then the total were divided, the number of acres, by all of the people in Oklahoma, not

including Indians, but simply dividing the total number of acres by the number of whites within Oklahoma, then where would it be?

Mr. MERRITT. Well, that would raise the per capita to, I presume-I can not state exactly—to, I would say from 14 to 2 acres per capita.

Mr. LARSEN. Now, in addition to that you were allowed $5,000,000, which was for the purpose of taking this into consideration. You took into consideration the lump sum allowances from the funds of the Government.

Mr. Merritt. Yes; but that did not compensate us to within $13,000,000 of what we would have had if we did not have the wards of the Government in our State that we have to protect under our laws, that we have to educate, just the same as we do white children.

Mr. Burtness. May I ask a question?
Mr. MERRITT. Yes, sir.
Mr. BURTNESS. The Government does participate in the education, does it not?

Mr. MERRITT. Yes. The Federal Government has schools among them, but the great majority of the Indians are in public schools. They prefer the public schools.

Mr. BURTNESS. That is a matter of preference; that is voluntary on their part?

Mr. MERRITT. It may be a matter of preference, but we have got to keep our schools up, and keep enough schools. If we did not keep them up satisfactorily, Uncle Sam would be down there asking us why we do not. They are citizens and they are entitled to every right and privilege that anyone in the State is entitled to.

Mr. LARSEN. But nevertheless the Federal Government does make provision for schools for them?

Mr. MERRITT. They have schools at different places, yes; but they do not attend those schools very largely, and many live a great distance away from the schools.

Mr. BURTNESS. In the case of most schools in Oklahoma, the Federal Government does make provision for them, and as a matter of fact, it does not cost the Federal Government anything for the reason that their tuition is paid out of the funds belonging to the Indians. That is the situation in most cases, or in the cases of those Indians where they have tribal funds.

Mr. MERRITT. Yes. That is all handled though by the Federal Government, and it is paid out of their money.

Mr. BURTNESS. But let me see whether I am confused in this or not. It will just take a second, Mr. Larsen. This money was allowed for the schools. The act implies that you were given the allowance of $5,000,000

Mr. MERRITT. Five millionMr. BURTNESS. That that was in lieu of the fact that you did not get sections 16 and 36 one one side of the State, so that to correct that, the $5,000,000 was given and that could be treated to be in lieu of this failure to get this land provided for in the act of 1866.

Mr. MERRITT. The old grant, exactly, in lieu—not the real meaning of the word “lieu," in the sense of instead of anything else, but inasmuch as there was no land there that they could grant, they granted us the $5,000,000,

Mr. BURTNESS. Does the reason why Oklahoma was granted $5,000,000 appear in the enabling act or any other legislation?

Mr. MERRITT. Yes; it appears in the enabling act.
The CHAIRMAN. It says in lieu of sections 16 and 36.
Mr. BURTNESS. It uses that language in the enabling act?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

Mr. MERRITT. I believe that they tried to put an estimate on what would be the probable value of the land at the time this grant was made, and I think they figured it at about $4.25 an acre; and they figured that on that basis that every section 16 and 36 on the east side was of about the same value as the corresponding sections on the west side, and that that would probably be about $5,000,000.

Mr. LARSEN. That was probably a liberal allowance, was it not, when you take into consideration the fact that the Government has always, I believe, sold the lands at about $1.25 an acre, when they valued this at $4?

Mr. McClintic. Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman will permit, I want to say that in the old Indian Territory we had to erect schools, had to build roads, and make every other kind of improvement connected with civilization; we had no taxable land in that part of the State at that time, and the court held that the land belonging to the Indians could nat be taxed. We could not get any revenue off of the land owned by the Indians, regardless of what it produced, and we even can not get anything from a lease contracted on lands belonging to Indians. We can not touch the proceeds of that land.

Mr. LARSEN. I appreciate that.

Mr. McCLINTIC. And in the early days we had all of this burden upon the shoulders of our citizens for the building of public buildings, building roads, and all other improvements that go with civilization, had to be taken care of by our citizens.

Mr. LARSEN. I understand that burden, but I understand in the first place some of it is borne by the Federal Government, and in the second place, that after the Federal Government made you an allowance of $4.25, in lieu of the lands it could not furnish you,

it appears to me that you have been given a pretty liberal allowance, because of the fact that the Government has been selling its lands at $1.25 an acre, and hy reason of the fact, if I am not mistaken, in reading the history of the public land legislation, this has been given for school purposes largely, and I happen to have read a book on that subject some time ago in connection with the preparation of legislation or in con. nection with a bill pending, and I think, if I am correct, that many States sold their sections 16 and 36 for about 10 cents an acre.

Now, you did not get the lands, but you got in lieu thereof $4.25 and a quarter that you would have gotten, whereas other States which participated in this land only received 10 cents an acre, so it would appear that you have received more than the other States.

Mr. MCCLINTIC. The gentleman has forgotten the real cause for the controversy, in that we did not have anything to say whatever as to whether or not we got any lands to which we were entitled under the act of 1862 as amended in 1866. That is where this comes in. We are coming in now and showing that we are the only State that did not participate because of that act, and never before has there been any possible way whereby we could get any public lands to amount to anything.

Mr. LARSEN. I think that we have to consider this somewhat in the light of a father settling with his heirs. I think that we must consider what they have all received, what each heir has received, and what each heir has done, what has been done by each child. I think that we should consider this somewhat in the same spirit, and I think that we should consider here that the Federal Government has already made a liberal provision for Oklahoma. I do not want you to understand me to say that we have already settled the case there. I do not know whether we have or not. I do not mean to say that, but I am just saying what occurs to me.

Mr. MCCLINTIC. In answer to that, I hope I may quote from a letter which shows the number of acres of land in my State, with the possible exception of one or two to be less than that of any State coming into the Union since 1866. We had less taxable land when we came in as a State.

Mr. LARSEN. You have got less acreage per capita ?

Mr. McCLINTIC. Less taxable acreage. We had less than 25 per cent of our lands subject to taxation.

Mr. LARSEN. I do not think as to the question of taxes, that the amount of acreage amounts to so much as the value of the territory. I happen to remember in my own State, which has been created for so long a time that the memory of man runneth not

32141-23 -23

« PrejšnjaNaprej »