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INVESTIGATION OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF INDIAN

AFFAIRS IN THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA

HEARINGS

BEFORE A

SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE
COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

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HOMER P. SNYDER, New York, Chairman
ROYAL C. JOHNSON, South Dakota.

CARL HAYDEN, Arizona.
FREDERICK W. DALLINGER, Massachusetts, WILLIAM J. SEARS, Florida.
R. CLINT COLE, Ohio.

ZEBULON WEAVER, North Carolina.
SID C. ROACH, Missouri.

JOHN M. EVANS, Montana.
SCOTT LEAVITT, Montana.

WILLIAM W. HASTINGS, Oklahoma.
M. C. GARBER, Oklahoma.

E. B. HOWARD, Oklahoma.
W. H. SPROUL, Kansas.

EDGAR HOWARD, Nebraska.
GEORGE F. BRUMM, Pennsylvania.

SAM B. HILL, Washington,
GRANT M. HUDSON, Michigan.

JOHN MORROW, New Mexico.
GALE H. STALKER, New York.
HAROLD KNUTSON, Minnesota.

DAN A. SUTHERLAND, Alaska

WILLIAM O. HABT, Olerk

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INVESTIGATION OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF INDIAN

AFFAIRS IN OKLAHOMA

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SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS,

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

Tuesday, November 11, 1924. The subcommittee met at 9.30 o'clock a. m., in the Federal building, Muskogee, Okla., Hon. Homer P. Snyder (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, a quorum being present, we will proceed to open hearings under House Resolution 348, which resolution was presented by the distinguished Oklahoma citizen from Ardmore, Mr. Carter, who is always looking after the welfare of this great State, and I am mighty glad that he is here with us to-day to give us the benefit of his great knowledge with reference to Indian affairs. This resolution was presented wholly on account of the issuance of a circular entitled, “Oklahoma's poor rich Indians," which was published and, I think, written by the three names that are recorded here on the front page of the folder, namely, Gertrude Bonnin, Charles F. Fabens, and Matthew K. Sniffen, representing, or, as it is stated, for the Indian Rights Association and other organizations. In this folder there are certain general charges made which seemed not only to the gentlemen from Ardmore but to all other members of the delegation from the State of Oklahoma, as well as the Congress in general, to be very drastic and a very serious reflection

upon

the fair name of the courts of the State of Oklahoma to the extent that the resolution referred to was passed by the House, and the committee is here to-day for the purpose, and almost the single purpose, of endeavoring to prove or disprove these charges. In connection with that it will be the desire of the committee to keep out all extraneous matters and confine itself strictly to an endeavor to prove or disprove those charges. The proceedings of the committee will be governed largely as possible with reference to the introduction of testimony along the lines of court.

We do not want heresay evidence; we do not want any long stories or legends about Indian lore, or anything of that sort. We want specific cases and specific testimony with reference to these cases, and the committee has formulated a policy with reference to the retroactive feature of the testimony. It is thought advisable not to go back into the history of these cases any further than the terms of the present judges now presiding. In other words, the folder I hold in my hand, as interpreted by this committee, means to inform the public that conditions such as are charged here exist to-day, not 5 or 10 years ago, and what we want to prove particularly is whether those charges based upon that assumption are facts; that is, are probate courts of the State of Oklahoma conducted, as of to-day,

along the line suggested in this folder here? Also the testimony may be confined to the cases that are known as restricted cases, or, as I understand it, the heirs of restricted Indians. Other cases do not come within the jurisdiction of Congress.

With this short statement it is the desire of the committee to give the parties making the charges an opportunity to first make their case, and with that in view, I will call upon Mr. Sniffen as the first witness.

STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES D. CARTER, A REPRESENTATIVE

IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA

Mr. CARTER. The chairman and this committee know full well the purpose I had in mind when I introduced this resolution, because they collaborated with me in a very cooperative way to secure its enactment, and it was only by the urgent help of all the members of the committee that it was passed, and especially the help of the chairman. The only purpose I had in view was to clear up this situation, and I want the chairman, the committee, Mr. Sniffen, and all others to understand thoroughly that if there is any corruption found at any place, in the courts, in the Indian Bureau, or any other place, the one thing I had in view with this resolution was to try to clear that up, and I know that this committee will not spare anybody who is guilty.

Mr. GARBER. The language of the resolution, found in lines 13 and 14, I believe, limits the power of administration of oaths to the chairman of the committee or any member thereof. STATEMENT OF MR. MATTHEW K. SNIFFEN, SECRETARY OF THE

INDIAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION (Mr. Sniffen was duly sworn by the chairman.)

The CHAIRMAN. Will you kindly give your full name to the stenographer

Mr. SNIFFEN. Matthew K. Sniffen.
The CHAIRMAN. Where do you reside?
Mr. SNIFFEN. Philadelphia.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your occupation!
Mr. SNIFFEN. Secretary of the Indian Rights Association.

The CHAIRMAN. You are the Mr. Sniffen whose name is signed to this folder here?

Mr. SNIFFEN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. And you were one of the parties who produced this folder?

Mr. SNIFFEN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN, I expect you are prepared to substantiate those statements that are made in the folder ?

Mr. SNIFFEN. Generally; yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Only in a general way?
Mr. SNIFFEN. Well, we have much which I believe is specific.

The CHAIRMAN. You have heard, of course, the statement I made in opening the hearing that what we want here are the facts, and specific cases to prove or disprove the charges contained in your report?

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