Yellowstone Genealogy Forum

 

Crow Indians – Reservation Leases

 

Revised 30 April 2003 (added Congressional Act details)

 

The primary purpose of this article is to assist in locating the primary trails that were used by wagons prior to 1920. During the time period that land leases were popular, virtually all of the area occupied by the Crow Indians was opened for leasing. Additionally there was a great deal of traffic throughout the region for distribution of feed and food supplies. This created many wagon trails that to some may appear as portions of the “Bozeman Trail.”  To isolate the real trails from the service supply routes, the land leases were examined. Charles Crane Bradley, Jr, who published his findings in August 1970, reviewed the source records available at Crow Agency in detail[1]. This was an exhaustive review and encompassed the land areas and persons who had control of the districts. As time progressed from 1887 to 1918, the lease areas were changed to accommodate the needs of the tribal members. One of the main distributors of wagon supplies to the region was Paul McCormick, and he erected a large fence line crossing the reservation in a northeast direction that created Districts 3 and 4 between the South Hills and the Big Horn River. These leaseholds originally encompassed all the land, and some even allowed the livestock to graze right up to the Indian encampments and cabins.

This picture came from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Billings. It was taken before the agency moved from Absarokee to Billings in 1884. Pictured from L to R are: Wounded Arm, Blackfoot (Over-all Chief), Never Die, Shows His Face, and Onion. This picture was previously unpublished. The Crow Indians visited the Billings site many years before it was seen by white-men. The junction north of where the freeway crosses the river on the east end was their annual meeting-place of this nomadic tribe. To them, the location was more commonly referred to as “Place of the Skulls.”  This name was given after one of their great villages was decimated by smallpox, and they killed themselves by jumping off from sacrifice cliff. It is recorded that the Indians blind folded their ponies and rode them off the cliff. TV and radio towers are on the cliff face today.

After the treaty of 1882 they accepted land-leases from neighboring white men. The land would support one head of cattle per 30 acres, or one sheep on 5 acres. This is about 1/3rd of other land in the area. 1900 was their largest land use lease, sharing the 975,000 cattle, 347,000 horses and 6,170,000 head of sheep that were spread throughout Montana. Nelson Story was the first rancher to gain access to the tribal lease. He brought 600 long horn cattle up from Texas in 1866. Paul McCormick bought Nelson’s lease about 20 years later, and established a formidable business there. Although many ranchers participated in the leases, only nine had vast holdings for several years: Hysham Cattle Co, Paul McCormick, Will Rea, Harry Snider, Heinrich, EL Dana, CM Bair, Kendrick and Spear Brothers[2]. Numerous trails and support systems had to be setup to handle all the work required to maintain these vast groups of animals! That led to the creation of roads leading into the Billings area for shipment by rail. There appears to be a discrepancy in the amount of land that was used for grazing. The sheep alone, according to the land lease report, would require 31,000,000 acres. In 1851, the Fort Laramie Treaty gave the Crows 38,000,000 acres. In 1868 it was reduced to 8,000,000 acres, and in 1890 (an act that took ten years to resolve) it was reduced to about 5,000,000 acres. Currently it has about 2,200,000 acres. This would imply that there wasn’t enough land to support the grazing as claimed by the Crow Country lease schedules. It is believed that the extra land was taken from “Domain Land” that resulted from the forced reservation boundary shrinkages; and the Indians simply managed the herds on these lands. Although the land area had shrunk during the grazing periods, it had the only good grass in the area at that time. Typically one sheepherder could manage 2,500 sheep. In addition, it is suspected that there were about 300 white men as sheepherders in the area at this time. That could account for about 1/10th of the sheep population. It would take the entire Crow Tribe at that time to manage these vast herds. Cattle and horses would take a great deal more people. At this same time, many of the Crow Tribal members were converting over to farming, thus reducing the available manpower even further. Who actually herded these vast hordes of sheep and cattle is unknown. Many of these sheepherders created stone cairns to mark their territory. Preceding the 1892 Congressional Acts were the discussions of “who owned the land.”

In 1883 it appeared to the local residents in Montana that the Crow Reservation land would be opened for homesteading in 1884. In the summer of 1882, Secretary Teller had met with the Crow Tribal leaders and apparently disagreed with their refusal to reduce their land holdings. In his 1883 annual report, he planned to recommend that the reservation’s size be reduced to that needed to sustain their current population. He proposed to pay them for the excess land at current value, and spending that equivalent money to provide education, supplies and farming needs. To accomplish this task, the agency would need a land office established in the area[3]. Since the government is planning to take back much of the crow land, the question of who owns the NPR right of land grant on reservation land. The opinion is that NPR will not acquire land rights to the vast acreage they hold in odd numbered sections adjacent to the railroad track as it passes through the reservation. Even if they were granted the rights, NPR wouldn’t provide any payment to the tribes for that land. In an earlier suit, NPR lost their rights to their odd numbered sections in Bitter Root Valley. Here title could only be given to NPR if the government had full title at the time. The government does not have full title to the reservation lands, and therefore NPR cannot receive such. NPR filed their map of general route in Montana in 1872. In 1881 they filed their definite location. Before the first date the Crow Reservation lands had been set aside by definite boundaries, and the government ceased to have any title. While in this “non-ownership” state, NPR filed their land claims for the odd numbered sections, and thus only those sections that fell outside of the reservation jurisdiction would be transferred. This became a boom for settlers, since if the government were to confiscate (reduce) much of the Crow Reservation land, NPR would not have title to about one-half of the land, allowing settlers to acquire adjoining parcels of land, across both the odd and even section numbers. This would make the land more productive[4].

Secretary Teller filed his report about the reservation, and reported that much of what was owed the Crow Indians from the 1868 Fort Laramie was not satisfied:

        Due and unpaid to the school agent for school purposes, $1,000,000

        School support for every 30 children was not accomplished (exchanged instead for land concessions); Additionally:

        He could see “ no use in allowing an Indian two or three square miles of land, when on an average they do not cultivate one-tenth of an acre apiece.”

        He called attention to the great reservations in Montana, which stand as a bar to immigration

        He recommended the repeal of the pre-exemption act and made suggestions for radical changes in the timberland laws.

Before 1885, General Sheridan proposed that the government purchase all of the Crow Reservation for $1.00 per acre, which was agreed to by the Indians, In the 1885 congressional session a senate committee studying the matter agreed to support a bill which would open all of the reservation west of the Big Horn to white settlement. All that was required was for the Montana legislature to prepare a bill. A commission was established to investigate the matter (Dawes Commission), and Helena pushed it though. Later in 1887, when the report was made public, it was discovered that The Crow Reservation was excluded, as well as right-of-way for a railroad through the reservation. Battle over the bill caused both actions to fail. In the next session, a small bill was introduced that permitted the Indians to select which 5,000,000 acres of land could be opened for settlement; leaving the prime lands in their ownership.

In 1885 a consortium of ranchers (represented through Blake & Wilson – Colorado) established a ten-year, 3,000,000-acre land lease for grazing rights on the reservation with 26 of Crow chiefs, representing 3,123 persons. The Indian Board of Trade, represented by: HH Mund, CL Tomlinson, Paul L VanCleve, and JD Matheson investigated the lease for “wrong doings.” On January 27th with permission granted by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Henry L Dawes. The Billings Board of Trade selected Paul McCormick, Jules Breuchaud, and Walter Matheson to investigate the matter. Fourteen of the chiefs testified that they were coerced into signing, and 13 of them demanded that the lease be canceled[5]. It was canceled, thus allowing local ranchers continued access to these lands for grazing of their stock.

In 1892 the government took title and opened for settlement about one-half of the remaining reservation land, some 1,800,000 acres of the Crow Reservation, which was also assigned to be part of Yellowstone County. [Speculators (mainly miners and single men) who normally drifted from place-to-place, and were expecting to make a profit on the re-sale immediately acquired Most of the land.] This land area included Red Lodge Creek, Rock Creek, Stillwater and Clark’s Fork Rivers. These streams had numerous canals added for irrigation, and by 1893 there was 76 miles of waterways[6].

In February 1893, Senator Power and WH Norton (from Stillwater) requested that they be given the right to build a bridge across the Yellowstone River onto Indian Land, owned by a woman. On 25 June, the Secretary of Interior over-ruled the Commissioner of Indian Affairs previous ruling, and stated that the State of Montana had the right to condemn such land to benefit the state. The bridge construction was allowed to proceed[7]. The decision was based on the governments’ ruling that until an actual “Patent” document was delivered to a landholder, all such lands were only public domain, and subject to condemnation.

In 1894 the Crow Indians had created substantial amounts of land cultivation, and were self sufficient for produce, grain, corn, etc., and seed for the following year. Most of the cultivated lands were planted in Timothy and Alfalfa. The local Indians had created a substantial system of canals, using their own labor, and paid for by the government. Plans to erect a grain mill in 1895 were established[8].

ACTS OF FIFTY–SECOND CONGRESS—FIRST SESSION, 1892.

“No right of selection by, or allotment to the Crow Indians of Montana secured by the provisions of section thirty-four of the Indian appropriation act, approved March third, eighteen hundred and ninety-one, shall be so used as to include mining claims nor shall they include lands settled upon, or improvements made by, qualified pre-emptor or homesteaders who were misled to settle on said reservation by reason of an erroneous survey by deputy United States surveyors of the public lands, or of said Crow reservation, and who at the time they so settled there believed their said settlement was not on the said reservation: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to impair any rights acquired under any contract with the Crow Indians heretofore ratified by Congress.”

“BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

A PROCLAMATION.
October 15, 1892. | 27 Stat., 1034.

Whereas, by a written agreement made on the eighth day of December, eighteen hundred and ninety, the Crow tribe of Indians, in the State of Montana, agreed to dispose of and sell to the United States, for certain considerations in said agreement specified, all that portion of the Crow Indian reservation, in the State of Montana, lying west and south of the following lines, to wit:

Beginning in the mid-channel of the Yellowstone River, at a point which is the northwest corner of section Number thirty-six, township Number two north, of range twenty-seven east, of the principal meridian of Montana, thence running in a southwesterly direction, following the top of the natural divide between the waters flowing into the Yellowstone and Clarke’s Fork Rivers upon the west and those flowing into Pryor Creek and West Pryor Creek on the east, to the base of West Pryor Mountain. Thence due south and up the north slope of said Prior Mountain on a true meridian line to a point fifteen miles due north from the established line between Montana and Wyoming; thence in a due easterly course on a parallel of latitude to a point where it intersects the mid-channel of the Big Horn River, thence following up the mid-channel of said river to a point where it crosses the Montana and Wyoming State line”[9]

 

The Indians contracted with the Federal Government (information as to exactly how this occurred is not available) to place water storage reservoirs on several small creeks for future stock ponds. One of these is Willow Creek Dam located on Willow Creek, 17 miles southwest of Lodge Grass on Route 463. It is presently called Lodge Grass Storage Reservation. Constructed in 1939-1941, it was made of compacted earth, is about 100 feet high and mile across the face. The construction crews compacted the soil too densely, preventing soil movement over thermal and pressure-load stress. Cracks formed in the face. Rather than tear it down and start over, they agreed to shore it up with backfill of dirt and rocks. About 1.4 million cubic yards were added. During construction the local residents and construction crews working on the project, lived in Willow Creek Camp. (Picture from EV Dahl).

The Montana BLM and Water Project Administration only acknowledge the Willow Creek Dam, located south of Helena, and carry no published record of the Willow Creek Dam and other storage sites on the Crow Reservation.

Crow Indian Land Lease & Indian Agent Timeline Summary

The Crow Reservation lands were highly desired for grazing of livestock by local ranchers starting in the early 1880’s to the present day. Vast acreages were leased and many roads had to be established for support and maintenance of these vast hordes of cattle, horses, swine and sheep. Establishment of the trails and roads linking with the Bozeman Trails and passages through the Yellowstone County are considered to be the beginning of these routes. The summary timelines represented below help establishes when and where they were created, and possibly the creation of road markers and lease-land area assignments. Much controversy was raised by various factions vying for Indian favors as indicated by the following direct excerpts:

Frank Heinrich, uncle to Matt Tschirgi, operated the Antler Ranch on Lease # 5 in 1884 and held it for years, until Matt took over the operation. According to Robert Yellowtail, in 1884 Nelson Story was the person who initiated the leasing operations on the Crow Reservation, and he employed Indians as employees. Other cattlemen, such as the 04, UT, FUF and others were busy grabbing up grazing rights at $.03/ per acre. In 1887, the General Allotment Act (called the Dawes Act) was passed. This allowed whites to purchase Indian land.

 

April 11, 1882 – Congressional Act to Allot land to Crow Indians on Reservation (initiated June 12, 1880)

Whereas certain individual Indians and heads of families representing a majority of all the adult male members of the  Crow  tribe of Indians occupying or interested in the  Crow  Reservation in the Territory of Montana have agreed upon, executed, and submitted to the Secretary of the Interior an agreement for the sale to the United States of a portion of their said reservation, and for their settlement upon lands in severalty, and for other purposes: Therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That said agreement be, and the same is hereby, accepted, ratified, and confirmed. Said agreement is executed by a majority of all the adult male members of said tribe, in conformity with the provisions of article eleven of the treaty with the  Crow  Indians of May seventh, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, and is in words and figures as follows, namely:



“We, the undersigned individual Indians and heads of families of the  Crow  tribe of Indians now residing upon the  Crow  Reservation in the Territory of Montana, do, this twelfth day of June, anno Domini eighteen hundred and eighty, hereby agree to dispose of and sell to the Government of the United States, for certain considerations to be hereinafter mentioned, all that part of the present  Crow  Reservation in the Territory of Montana described as follows, to wit: Beginning in the mid-channel of the Yellowstone River at a point apposite the mouth of Boulder Creek; thence up the mid-channel of said river to the point where it crosses the southern boundary of Montana Territory, being the forty-fifth degree of north latitude; thence east along said parallel of latitude to a point where said parallel crosses Clarke’s Fork; thence north to a point six miles south of the first standard parallel, being on the township-line between townships six and seven south; thence west on said township-line to the one hundred and tenth meridian of longitude; thence north along said meridian to a point either west or east of the source of the eastern branch of Boulder Creek; thence down said eastern branch to Boulder Creek; thence down Boulder Creek to the place of beginning; for the following considerations:

First. That the Government of the United States cause the agricultural lands remaining in our reservation to be properly surveyed and divided among us in severalty, in the proportions hereinafter mentioned, and to issue patents to us respectively therefore, so soon as the necessary laws are passed by Congress. Allotments in severalty of said surveyed lands shall be made as follows:

“To each head of a family not more than one quarter-section, with an additional quantity of  grazing  land not exceeding one quarter-section.

“To each single person over eighteen years of age not more than one-eighth of a section, with an additional quantity of  grazing  land not exceeding one-eighth of a section.

“To each orphan child under eighteen years of age not more than one-eighth of a section, with an additional quantity of  grazing  land not exceeding one-eighth of a section; and

“To each other person under eighteen years, or who may be born prior to said allotments, one-eighth of a section, with a like quantity of  grazing  land.

“All allotments to be made with the advice of our agent, or such other persons as the Secretary of the Interior may designate for that purpose upon our selection, heads of families selecting for their minor children, and the agent making the allotment for each orphan child. The title to be acquired by us, and by all members of the  Crow  tribe of Indians, shall not be subject to alienation,  lease , or encumbrance, either by voluntary conveyance of the grantee or his heirs or by the judgment, order, or decree of any court, nor subject to taxation of any character, but shall be and remain inalienable and not subject to taxation for the period of twenty-five years, and until such time thereafter as the President may see fit to remove the restriction, which shall be incorporated in each patent.

Second. That in consideration of the session of territory to be made by us as individual Indians and heads of families of the  Crow  tribe to the Government of the United States, said Government of the United States, in addition to the annuities and sums for provisions and clothing stipulated and provided for in existing treaties and laws, hereby agrees to appropriate annually, for twenty-five years, the sum of thirty thousand dollars, to be expended, under the direction of the President, for our benefit, in assisting us to erect houses, to procure seeds, farming implements, and stock, or in cash, as the President may direct.

Third. That if at any time hereafter we, as a tribe, shall consent to permit cattle to be driven across our reservation or  grazed  thereon, the Secretary of the Interior shall fix the amount to be paid by parties so desiring to drive or  graze  cattle; all moneys arising from this source to be paid to us under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe.

Fourth. That all the existing provisions of May seventh, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, shall continue in force.

“Done at  Crow  Agency, Montana Territory, this twelfth day of June, anno Domini eighteen hundred and eighty.”

Signed in Washington, May 14, 1880

Plenty Coos, his x mark.
Old
Crow, his x mark.
Two Belly, his x mark.
Long Elk, his x mark.
Pretty Eagle, his x mark.
Medicine Crow, his x mark.

Witnesses:

A. M. Quivly, Interpreter.
E. J. Brooks
J. F. Stoek
A. R. Keller, United States Indian Agent

 


SECTION 2
That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause to be surveyed a sufficient quantity of land on the  Crow  Reservation to secure the settlement in severalty of said Indians as provided in said agreement, and upon the completion of said survey he shall cause allotments of land to be made to each and all of the Indians of said  Crow  tribe in quantity and character as mentioned and set forth in the agreement above named, and upon the approval of said allotments by the Secretary of the Interior he shall cause patents to issue to each and every allottee for the lands so allotted, with the same considerations, restrictions, and limitations mentioned therein as are provided in said agreement.


SECTION 3
That for the purpose of carrying the provisions of this act into effect the following sums, or so much thereof as may be necessary, be, and they are hereby, set aside, out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior as follows, namely:

For the expense of the survey of the lands as provided in the second section of this act, the sum of fifteen thousand dollars. For the first of twenty-five installments, as provided in said agreement, to be used by the Secretary of the Interior in such manner as the President may direct, the sum of thirty thousand dollars.

Approved, April 11, 1882.

March 6, 1884 (Billings Herald)

The railroad track from the station [Billings]to the bridge over the Yellowstone is becoming a favorite promenade especially on Sundays. The track is well graded and forms a dry and pleasant walk. Stonemasons are at work dressing stone, which has been quarried from the bluffs to the rear of this town[10], for the Miles City schoolhouse.

August 24, 1884 (Billings Herald)

AW Farwell, a well-known resident of Clarks Fork and possessor of one of the finest locations on the Crow reservation, has informed us that the general feeling of the Crows regarding the proposed treaty to reduce the limits of the reservation is friendly to the reduction. This is on the understanding that the treaty contains clauses giving the Crows land in severalty and other inducements which it is generally supposed will be offered the tribe. He believes it would be judicious, in cases where Indians have already settled on land, to allow them to remain on their land and give them title to it, even if without the boundaries of the new reservation.

 

September 5, 1884 (Billings Herald October 4th Edition – Martin Maginnis Telegram)

“To Hon. H. M. Teller, Secretary of the Interior, Washington, D. C.: -Can’t you now carry out that arrangement we talked about before my leaving Washington and appoint Gen. Ruger, P. W. McAdow and Attorney General McCammon, a commission to make a treaty for the purchase from the Crows of the western portion of their reservation, so that the same may be ratified at the coming session of congress? Mr. McAdow will serve without reimbursement by congress.”

 

          September 23, 1884 (Billings Herald October 4th Edition – HM Teller, Secretary of the Interior, Telegram)

“To Hon. Martin Maginnis: -Cannot answer your telegram for a day or two yet. Will do it if we can.”

 

September 24, 1884 (Billings Herald October 4th Edition – HM Teller, Secretary of the Interior, Telegram)

“To Hon. Martin Maginnis: -Can not comply with your request, because of statute which expressly prohibits acceptance of voluntary service or employment of any personal service not authorized by law.”

 

September 27, 1884 (Billings Herald October 4th Edition  – Martin Maginnis, Telegram)

“P. W. McAdow:  Dear Sir: - Enclosed find copy of the dispatch I sent to the secretary of the interior and the answers returned by him. I do not know what can be done unless Mr. Dawes will come and try to make the purchase. I have written and telegraphed to him requesting him to come. Yours truly.”

 

December, 1884 (Billings Herald – (“Montana Low” Grill Commentary) [Lou and Low used interchangeably in paper]

“Resolutions protesting against the leasing of the western portion of the Crow reservation were adopted at a mass meeting held in Billings. The Crow Indians occupy a domain containing 1,300,000 acres of the richest farming and grazing lands of Montana. A call was made upon Henry M. Teller, secretary of interior, to prevent any such scheme being carried into effect. H. J. Armstrong, agent for the Crow Indians, was asked to stop any negotiations looking to a lease so far as he might be able to do so. The resolutions pledged “ourselves to one another to resist to the extent of our power, by all lawful means, any such disposition of the Crow reservation.”  It was further resolved that a committee be appointed to circulate a petition to the secretary of the interior asking his intervention to prevent the consummation of the proposed lease. He was also asked to restore to the public domain any portion of the Crow Indian reservations was not actually necessary to the use of the Indians. Copies of the resolution of protest were sent to Secretary Teller and the delegates in congress from Montana and Wyoming, also to United States Senators Dawes, Logan, Cameron and Morgan.”

 

“The indignation of the stockmen of Montana increased and the protests became more emphatic when it was later learned, through press dispatches, that the Lease Association of Colorado had been formed at Pueblo during the early part of November 1884. It was reported to be composed of some of the largest cattle operators of that state. Names of Mattice & Vroman, Beattle Brothers, A. D. Carpenter, Robert Grant, George Haas, C. C. Toll, Garrett Lamford, the Messrs. Ross, McDaniels, Hershberg, Burke and others were mentioned as being interested in the organization. It was reported that the company was to be the nucleus of a mighty effort to bring about a radical change in the United States land laws, particularly with the vast arid districts of the great plains.”

 

“Information was broadcast that the organization was formed for the purpose of laying plans to effectually introduce an act in congress that would allow cattle ranchers to lease the public domain to actual settlers, who have already possessed water frontage, and wish to avail themselves of further protection than now is accorded them. If such a plan were practical, one company, or a single individual, might hold all of Montana or any other grazing country, and instead of the combined increase of beef production that has been witnessed for years past, only a nominal yield, sufficient to satisfy the desires of the holders, would result. The committee appointed at the mass meeting held in Billings {in November} completed the circulation of a petition protesting the lease. It was forwarded in December to United States Senator Henry L. Dawes, chairman of the commission to treat with the Crows by the Wells-Fargo and company’s express. The petition was 51 feet long, of closely written signatures.”

December 20, 1884 (Billings Herald – Commentaries)

“From late advices it would appear that the Crow lease may yet be consummated. So many of the members of the National legislature are directly or indirectly interested in the western stock industry, and so a powerful monied influence will be employed to effect the avowed purpose of the extensive and potent organization lately formed at St. Louis, that the confidence recently felt by our people in the defeat of the scheme, may prove to be groundless.”

 

“In response to the earnest protests sent to him from various parts of the country, the Secretary of the Interior has not yet answered by one satisfactory word, though the eastern press has attempted to define the attitude of his department in the matter, but so far as we can see, with no official authority whatever.”

 

“No statements made by the Indians themselves, should be taken upon faith, as they are notably too simple, and too dishonest to be relied upon, and can be easily influenced or coerced, should the interior department desire to enforce the project.”

 

December 27, 1884 (Billings Herald – A New Indian Reservation)

“A new Indian reservation has been established by executive order dated Nov 26, 1884, by which 702 square miles, or 506,880 acres of land lying upon the Rosebud river and bordering upon the east line of the Crow reserve in Montana, is segregated from the public domain and set apart for use and occupancy of 600 Cheyenne Indians, This gives these Indians, per capita, 845 acres of the best agricultural grazing lands of eastern Montana, a very considerable portion of which are now possessed and improved by actual settlers, who have acquired the tracts they occupy under the government land laws.

 

Is it not a liberal and sapient legislation, which bestows upon the white settler, the paltry gift of 160 acres, and endows indiscriminately each individual member of a tribe of roving and squalid savages with the princely estate of 845 acres of our most valuable lands? We find another great tract of our lands wrested from our hands, and there is no course left open to us but to tamely submit to the outrage.”

January 3, 1885 (Arkansas City Republican)

The senate committee on Indian Affairs on January 6th will begin an investigation of the leasing of lands in Indian Territory and on the Crow reservation by Indians to cattlemen. A number of prominent cattlemen and Indian chiefs will be subpoenaed to appear before the commission. One section of the revised statutes declares that Indian tribes have no authority to lease their lands. A succeeding section allows owners of herds the privilege of driving their cattle over the reservation on obtaining consent of the Indians and government. Cattlemen construe the latter section as meaning that they may lease the lands, and under this construction, nearly all the Crows Reservation in Montana, and Quapah, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe Reservations in the Indian Territory have been leased for a period of from five to ten years at from two to twelve cents per acre per annum. In the Cherokee strip, also in the Indian Territory, nine cattlemen have exclusive control of 60,000,000 acres at an annual rental of $10,000. The object of the investigation is to enable congress to take intelligent action on the subject if additional legislation is deemed necessary.

January 10, 1885 (Arkansas City Republican)

Secretary Teller has written a long letter to the chairman of the senate committee on Indian Affairs upon the subject of leases of Indian lands. He says in part that the Interior Department has for years recognized the right of Indians to receive compensation for pasturage of stock on their reservations, and that such right has also been recognized by the courts and the land occupied by the Indians. The secretary says they did attempt to make leases, but the department refused to recognize them beyond treating them as licenses and receivable by the Indians at will. No one can question their right to make such a disposition of the grass growing on their lands as they have made. Concerning the pecuniary gain which the Indians now derive from licenses to use the products of their lands, which they grant to the whites, the secretary says they are now receiving $50 for every dollar received under the old system. With respect to allowing the Indians to control large and valuable tracts suitable for agricultural purposes, the secretary concludes they should not be permitted to own such tracts to the exclusion of settlers when such lands are not needed by the Indians, and that it is a misfortune to any country to have its lands held in a large quantity by a few owners, the more so if held by owners who neither make use of it themselves nor allow others to do so.

January 10, 1885 (Billings Herald – The Lease Again)

“The question of the Crow reservation, and other Indian land leases, is at present undergoing a searching investigation by a senate committee, instituted largely through the efforts of Senator Vest. The Pioneer Press, in a late issue, stated that the Crow lease had already been consummated, but no corroborative intelligence of such result has reached us, and the secretary of the interior publicly disclaims any official knowledge of such lease, we certainly give the story credence.”

“Who can believe that were the proposed Crow lease effected, any bonafide settler of the Yellowstone valley would ever obtain the smallest share of the fertile lands on the Big Horn, Pryor or Rock Creeks, or Clark’s Fork?”

February 10, 1885 (Billings Herald – Armstrong Assertions regarding the Blake-Wilson Grazing Lease)

 

December 5, 1885 (Arkansas City Republican - New Plans For The Indians.)

“Both Lieut. Gen. Sheridan and Brig. Gen. Miles discuss at length, in their annual reports, the Government=s policy, and the most important suggestions made by the former officer relate to this subject.”

Text Box: United States Indian Agency
Crow Agency, Montana, February 10, 1885
Hon. H. Price, Commissioner Indian affairs, Washington, D. C.:

Sir: By this time you have doubtless received from H. H. Mund, representing the Billings Board of Trade, a communication purporting to be the testimony of Crow Indians regarding the lease of a portion of this reservation to Blake and Wilson, said testimony having been taken by the committees authorized by your telegram dated January 21.

I want to say that the so-called testimony is a great mass of perjury (if such a crime can be charged against a wild Indian) as was ever taken.

If we begin at the beginning of the testimony, as taken down by the committee, we find that nearly every Indian perjured himself either of his own free will or because they were intimidated by the turbulent hostile Indians who were present by a previous arrangement of the committee. Every Indian who swore they were threatened with having their rations stopped swore falsely.

I believe the matter was fully explained and as fairly entered into as any agreement that has ever been made with any Indian tribes, or as it is possible to make an agreement with any tribe.

They were told that they would receive $50 or $60 every year for each head of family, and that it would be paid to them in cash, into the hands of each head of a family. They were also told that at the time the money comes to be paid, if they wished to do so, and by the consent of a majority, and in no other way, they could use the money to purchase an additional supply of beef, and if they not wish to do so then the rations we were issuing would have to be decreased still further to make our supply of beef cattle last through the year. This is the exact truth, and it is all that was said about the rations; and it is still the understanding that each head of a family will be called up and the cash paid into his hands unless they hold another council and agree to authorize the lessees to use the money to purchase beef cattle. At the time this matter was explained to them by Blake I had not received the information from the Honorable Commissioner that the contractor had been called on to deliver the extra 25 per cent, on his contract, but had received a communication stating that no more beef cattle would be furnished us, and the situation seemed desperate to me.

I want to show that the object of the committee of the Billings Board of Trade in coming here was not to take testimony, as they had represented to the Honorable Commissioner, but to incite the Indians. I want to show how they have delayed and defeated the government business – the regular business of the agency:  I want to show how they have placed the turbulent, hostile element in the Crow Nation in the ascendancy – as it had never been before – over that party which is inclined to be peaceable and to settle down and live in houses and farm: how they have done more harm here than any agent can overcome in a whole year.

In the first place they sent a lying squaw man up here from the Yellowstone three or four weeks before the committee came for the purpose of finding out which Indians were particularly unfriendly with me, as it is impossible for any agent to conduct the business of the agency without getting the ill-will of some.

They next persuaded those unfriendly Indians to go to Junction City, and there worked upon them, as one of the committee at least – Mr. McCormick – knows perfectly well how to do, until they had them fixed so they would say anything the committee wanted them to say.

They told the Indians falsehoods, such as they (the Indians) had been deceived and cheated, and that instead of signing a lease they had signed an agreement to sell their country.

They told the Indians that one member of the committee had just come from the Great Father; that he spoke by authority, and therefore would tell no lies. They proceeded to incite the Indians against the authority of the agent; told them they must not sign any paper at the agency or even talk to the agent about business, and in this way have probably defeated the proposition to amend the Crow treaty; which I consider the second best thing I have ever tried to do for the Crows. And the paper sent here for the signature of the Crows, authorizing the honorable Commissioner to expend the $5,500 left from the purchase of annuities, would have been defeated if it had required the signatures of a majority of the Crows, or of all the chiefs.

They instructed the Indians that they must not talk with their agent on business, and even had certain Indians remain near this office all the while to keep other Indians from coming to see their agent. They got Spotted Horse, who is as mean an Indian as ever lived, to sign the remonstrance against the lease (the paper fixed up at Billings or Junction City), as a war chief, something that has never been done before, and persuaded him that he was the principal chief of the Crows, and sent him back to intimidate the whole tribe, and have them fixed by the time the committee would arrive at the agency.

On the day they took testimony, as they called it, they had Spotted Horse and Deaf Bull (who is a terror among the Crows) take seats at the table next to the seat that was reserved for Indians the committee proposed to question for the purpose of compelling all of the Crows to talk as they wanted them to talk, or to keep those who would not talk so from talking at all. This Spotted Horse has always talked as meanly as it was possible for him to do so. He has told me that he would kill some of the Indians if they didn’t stop farming.

And this is the man the committee put forward to intimidate the Crow people, and thus get them to say just what they wanted them to say. The result was that the better element of the Crow Nation was in doubt to do what was the best thing for them to do, and so either stayed away entirely to avoid quarreling with Spotted Horse and his young men and Deaf Bull, as they would have said of any paper or proposition that might have been presented to them at such a time and in such a manner.

I think it was a very great wrong to permit outside parties to come upon this reservation to incite the Indians as they have done. It would have been all right, of course, to send an officer of the Department, or several of them, if necessary, to arrive at the truth of the matter concerning the lease.

I maintain and shall always maintain as long as I live, that the only wrong done here was the wrong of tying up a great body of country that ought to be thrown open for settlement: but there was no fraud, no intimidation or threats, nor bribery to induce the Crows to sign the lease.

Very respectfully, H. J. Armstrong,

Agent.

I hope the Hon. Commissioner will believe me when I say that my only object in writing this communication is to establish the fact that we have not been guilty of any wrong-doing in connection with this lease business, as is charged in some of the papers. When I say we, I mean myself or any of my employees.

 


“Their views do not entirely agree, Gen. Miles being more sanguine than Gen. Sheridan as to the brevity of the time within which the Indians will become self-supporting. The Lieutenant General also pointedly disapproves of Gen. Miles= plan for promptly throwing open the Indian Territory to settlement. He has, however, a project of his own for purchasing the surplus land in all-Indian reservations, which is worth consideration. His formal recommendation on this subject merely paraphrases the language used by him in conversation, as reported in the Sun a week ago.

He would give to each family of a tribe of Indians the 320 acres now provided by law in case of actual settlement, and place the family on this plot. Then he would have the Government condemn and buy all the rest of the reservation, good and bad, at the average price of $1.25 per acre. The proceeds should be invested in Government bonds held in trust by the Interior Department, the Indians receiving annually the whole of the interest.

This scheme is among the best of those, which are based on awarding to Indians homesteads in severalty under individual deeds. It might require modification in detail. For example, there is no reason for leaving the Indians wholly without land owned in common. A community of the white race has, besides its individual lots of real estate, large reserves for common enjoyment or for future sale. The Indians, with roaming tendencies greater than the white men, and all their traditions and instincts in favor of holding the soil in common, should apparently be permitted to have such a reserve. Nevertheless, after setting aside a liberal number of acres for this purpose, in each case proportioned to the number of the tribe, there would be still left an enormous surplus of unused lands on most reservations.

It has long been evident that the Indians cannot always hold their great reservations without making some use of them. Employing Gen. Sheridan=s illustration, in the Crow reservation there are 4,800,000 acres and but 3,200 or 3,300 Indians. This allows an average of about 1,500 acres for every man, woman, and child. The Cheyennes and Arapahoes have 4,300,00 acres; the Utes, 5,100,000. The surplus of unused lands has been the origin of the grass leases that have given so much trouble and the real reason why the Indian Office connived at these leases doubtless was that instead of seeing the Indian grazing lands going to waste generation after generation, it seemed wiser to have them doing some good, not only fattening thousands of cattle and enriching the stockmen, but producing $50,000 or $60,000 a year, in some instances, for the tribe giving the leases. The wrong done by the Government officials was in conniving at violations of the law forbidding such conveyances. But had the Interior Department gone to congress with a comprehensive, statesmanlike policy, explaining that the original prohibition of Indian leases was made under a different condition of settlement and of industrial interests at the West from that which now exists, congress might have modified the law.

Instead of doing this, the Government allowed private lessees and cattle corporations to unlawfully drive their bargains with the Indians for grazing privileges, whereas under any system of leasing the Government should not vacate its position and responsibilities, as guardians of the red men, but should superintend their important business transactions. Indeed, the best imaginable policy would be that in which the Government should manage the surplus real estate of the red men as a faithful guardian does that of his ward, getting the best immediate income out of it, and holding it for him until he is competent to handle it for himself.

There are undoubtedly practical difficulties, however, in this solution of the question. Gen. Sheridan=s plan of disposing outright of surplus Indian lands at least deserves attention from its liberal valuation of really valuable property. It proposes twice as great a severalty allotment for a family of Indians ten times as high a price per acre as under the Ute bargain, consummated by the Hayes administration. Indeed, in comparison, that enforced Ute trade was spoilation. Existing agreements with the Indians would require the consent of the Indians to Gen. Sheridan=s plan before it could be carried into effect, and whether that consent could be obtained or not is, of course, now only a matter of conjecture. It is very sure, however, that the Government could eventually redispose of the land thus purchased at more than $1.25 an acre, since some of it is now worth $3. The Indians, nevertheless, would derive from their sales a permanent annual income exceeding the entire amount now appropriated by the government for their support. Thus, where the present appropriations are legally due under existing agreements, the annual income of tribes would be more than doubled, and improvements and comforts of many sorts could be made common.”

February 17, 1886 (Billings Gazette)

“Anticipating the retrocession of the reservation, the Crows are taking up the choicest lands they can find all over the reservation. Four lodges recently went up the Clark’s Fork and located near Farwell’s. There are eight lodges on Blue Creek and more coming.”

 

October 15, 1886 (Billings Gazette  - Fort Custer October 14th Article)

“Everything is seemingly quiet among the Crows. Sword Bearer and his party are encamped on the Little Horn about 40 miles south of the post. No arrests will be made until Special Agent Armstrong investigates the state of affairs. He will arrive Saturday. “

 

October 3, 1887 (Billings Gazette – Reporting from Fort Custer on 2nd and 3rd of October)

“A party of 22 young Crow Indians under the leadership of an Indian who has lately become famous as a medicine man, returned from a successful raid on the Piegan Indians, bringing back with them about 60 head of horses. The Crows were celebrating this event with great rejoicings when Agent Williamson ordered his police to arrest the entire party for horse stealing. This incensed the Indians so that they made an attack on the agency building. Fortunately no one was hurt, although the houses and office of the agent were riddled by bullets. The Agent immediately dispatched a scout to Fort Custer for troops. The Indians say that they do not want to fight the soldiers but that they will resist to the utmost any attempt of the police to arrest them.”

 

Later on October 3rd. “The soldiers will not assist in making the arrest as it is against the law for them to assist as civil police without special instructions. The sheriff of Custer County may be asked to furnish a special posse to assist the Indian police. “

 

October 4, 1887 (Billings Gazette)

“Richard Ashworth returned this morning from Crow Agency. He says the younger Indians are much excited but that the older Indians counsel moderation and will support the agent in his policy.”

 

“Engineer Knowlton is outfitting four parties of surveyors with camping materials, and teams, and will send them to Laurel for the division engineer on his arrival. There will be six men in each party, four engineers, a cook and a teamster. The bridge across the Yellowstone River for the Rocky Fork road will be a three-span (each 150 feet) Howe truss bridge and will be built one mile above where Bundy’s ferry is now running.”

 

October 7, 1887 (Billings Gazette)

“The situation shows little change. Sword Bearer is the name of the Indian Leader and is followed by 150 young bucks as far as we can learn from the various estimates.”

 

October 26, 1887 (Billings Gazette)

“Wraps-His-Tail-Up, alias Sword Bearer, the medicine man, who leads the refractory Crows, has just returned from Tongue River, where with 50 of his followers, he went to recruit from the Cheyenne. Three companies of infantry under Major Snyder leave tonight for Fort Custer, going by rail to Custer Station, and then overland to Crow Agency. From other sources, it is learned that General Ruger, department commander, is on his way to Fort Custer and has been commanded to take immediate action in regard to these Indians. It is understood the preparations have been made by the war department on word from Special Inspector Armstrong, urging the arrest of Sword Bearer and his 17 lawless followers as absolutely necessary to prevent demoralization of the entire tribe.”

 

November 5, 1887 (Billings Gazette)

“A telegram was received today by Agent Williamson from Bob-tail Crow asking if the pass issued to him some time ago was revoked by the order. An answer was said that it was not and he will be allowed to make his visit to the Nez Perce as at first intended. An order has been received since the pass was issued that the Indian department will not permit Indians in the future to go outside of their reservations except to work for whites or to take up land.”

November 28, 1887 (Billings Gazette)

“In Agent Williamson’s annual report to the commissioner of Indian affairs, he says that a census taken June 30 showed a total of 2,456 Crow Indians, instead of the 3,226 reported last year. [The reservation was divided into agricultural districts] The agent shows that 2,593 head of cattle are now owned by 395 heads of families of Indians.”

 

“It does seem as if everyone is discouraged in regard to the range cattle business when we read that the Stoddard & Howard Cattle Company of Custer County has purchased about 10,000 head of young steers in Texas, to be driven north and placed on the range. Of these, 1,700 were bought by J. W. Glass, Warwick County, at prices of $10, $12, and $14 a head.”

 

December 11, 1887 (Billings Gazette)

“Crow Indian Agent Williamson has resigned to take effect, December 31, according to a Washington dispatch. The resignation which is understood was called for by the secretary of the interior was the result of the visit of Inspector Armstrong at the time of Sword Bearer trouble. Although Armstrong refuses to make public the results of the investigation, it is understood, he found that Williamson had neglected to comply with the order to advertise the grazing privileges on the reservation, leaving the monopoly in the hands of one syndicate, who had simply a private agreement as to their occupancy.”

 

“When directed so to lease the lands, Williamson wrote to the secretary counseling delay, saying the Indians wanted the stockmen then on the lands to have the grazing. Armstrong also found that Williamson had made a contract in regard to cutting hay on the reservation without authority. Armstrong tore the contract up and made the contractor pay the Indians $2 a ton for the hay. Charges of a personal nature were also made, that Williamson is loud. Profane and quick tempered.”

 

“There is much complaint by those living near the reservation in regard to partiality shown in the cutting of timber on Indian lands. Railroad men and squaw men are cutting both dry and green timber by the hundreds of cords while ranchers are not allowed to gather up what dry, dead timber they need for domestic purposes.”

 

1888 (“Montana Lou” Grill; News Article Recap-Billings Gazette)

“The occupation by the Crows of such a vast acreage of land as was embraced within the confines of their reservation undoubtedly excited the envy of the white men of that day” These and other caustic comments were but a preliminary to the many demands that followed for the Indians to give up their lands and to allow widespread leasing to the white stockmen.

“The fact that permits are given to cattlemen to range their herds on the Crow reservation is proof, if one is needed, that the land so leased is not required by the Indians. It should be purchased from the Crows and opened to stockmen, farmers and miners. The purchase money could be funded, and held in trust for the Indian department, the interest only being used toward purchasing farming implements, seed and stock for the Crows; thus assisting in civilizing them and making them self-supporting. It would furnish homes to many white men and add greatly to the wealth of the country every year.[11]

“A dispatch received in Montana brought the information that a bill had been introduced in Congress to throw open a considerable portion of the Crow reservation. The Indians were to be consolidated on land held by them in severalty and the tribal relations dissolved. If the measure was enacted into federal law it would throw open to settlement some of the finest arable and grazing lands in the northwest. The bill had been prepared by Delegate Toole.”

One source of Crow Indian income is revealed by the fact that permitees were reviewing their contracts to graze stock on the reservation at the rate of 50 per head by actual count. The stock, however, was to be kept remote from the Indian settlements.  Deputy Marshall AM Quivey, entering into discussion at the time, stated that an erroneous impression had gained currency that a lease had been considered or even contemplated. One firm, he said, that of Briggs & Ellis had renewed their permit at 50 per head. A large portion of the Crow reservation was then so situated that it was impossible to keep cattle off it, Mr. Quivey explained. He said, further that little or no revenue had been derived from it, and if men kept their cattle on the reservation by permit, they were more under the control of the agent, and would be compelled to herd their cattle where they would do no harm to farm and hay lands.”

Agent Henry E Williamson “is in favor of cutting off the west part of the reservation and throwing it open to settlers, as being remote from the agency and not occupied by the Indians, it is a great annoyance to the agent, as he is obliged to keep it clear of trespassers is possible. He has been very successful in settling the Indians on individual farms. When he took charge of the agency he found a little more than 100; now he has 509 farmers so settled.”

“An explanation was given on the matter of permits. The firm of Hoskins & McGirl, said Mr. Quivey, has only a permit to herd their bulls on the reservation, when separate from their herd, which ranges on the north side of the river. Permit had been given to George Ash to range a small band. Another outfit enjoyed grazing on the east side of the reservation.”

A sensational article had appeared in the press that the Indians were bulldozing the agent. This was entirely erroneous, said Mr. Quivey. When he [Agent General Williamson] took charge of the agency (1885) he found the school ‘played out.’ Now it is full to overflowing. He has allowed additional farmers whom he is distributing in the different settlements, whose duties are to instruct the Indians.”

“Hope was exercised on the part of the white stockmen that the first step towards realization of the demands would come with the enactment of federal legislation granting the right of way to a railway through the huge Indian reservation in the northern part of the territory.  This was shattered when President Grover Cleveland vetoed the measure. The chief executive stated that he was not satisfied that the legislation proposed was demanded by the exigencies of the public welfare. General Williamson voluntarily retired from his position as agent for the Crow reservation in the spring of 1888. He had collected and remitted to the department at Washington the sum of $42,000 rentals derived from stockmen who enjoyed grazing privileges on the reservation.”

“There were 396 families on the reservation. These families owned more than 4,000 head of cattle. They had in their possession from 6,000 to 10,000 ponies. Nearly every family was located on a piece of ground, which it was cultivating. He had contracted for the erection of 50 houses at an average cost of  $114 each. Fifty mowing machines had been ordered to enable the Crows to put up sufficient hay to feed their stock if it became necessary. The work accomplished by the agent during his administration was remarkable.”

March 24, 1890 – Billings Gazette Weekly

At Crow Agency a special meeting was called by Chief Plenty Coups to discuss range privileges on the reservation. Chief Plenty Coups stated “remove all sheep, cattle and horse owners excepting for: Columbus Cattle Company (Hardin), Campbell & Company, Paul McCormick & Company, Hurlburt Cattle Company, T.S. Ash, Richard Ashworth, Nelson Story, and those white men married to squaws[12].”

In a meeting held earlier in the week, these chiefs spoke out about their leases to the white men, but no resolution was mentioned:

Chief Pretty Eagle

“All these Indians here today are my people, and I am going to talk for their benefit. We are not a very large tribe, but wish to do as the Great Father wishes us to do. We want to become civilized like the whites, we want to be friends to everyone and we will accommodate anybody whom we all like, as long as it don’t injure us. I am in favor of the stockmen grazing their stock on the reservation. I am not in favor of a man putting stock here on Crow land who does not own them; and is married to a squaw and uses his influence in this way. The reservation is well stocked now. I don’t want any more stock brought on; or the parties here now to bring any more on and put them with what they now have. I don’t want any sheep here. I don’t like to see the horses stay either. I want them off. What cattle there are here I would like to see stay. I mean some of them not all. What I say today I want done.”

Chief Plenty Coos (Coups)

“These are my people here today. I am their chief. I will talk for them. I would like to see all of them supplied with wagons, plows, mowing machines, and such farming implements, as they may need. I understand that the money obtained by leases is used towards purchasing these things. That is a good plan. Let the cattlemen stay who pay: those who don’t put them off. Don’t lent any more come on. Don’t let those who are on now bring any more stock and put them with theirs. I want men who have cattle here on Crow lands to employ half Crow and half white men to work their cattle. I want them to pay the Crows as much as they do white men. I want them to make them work and teach them the white man’s way so they may learn. We amy have stock or our own some day; if we don’t our children will. I don’t want any white man to cut any hay on Crow lands. The Great Father has given us mowing machines to cut hay with. We want to cut our own hay; we want the white men to but hay from us, we don’t want to beg and buy our hay from them. This is our land not white men’s. The Great Father has sent us this agent, we all like him, we know he is good, we know what he says is for our own benefit. I f we don’t like him we would say so. I don’t like sheep on Crow lands. I don’t like horses on Crow lands, they won’t employ Crows to work, put them off entirely. I have spoken, if my people are not satisfied let them get up and come here and talk, I am ready to listen.”

Chief Old Dog

“What Pretty Eagle and Plenty Coos (sp) have said is good. I believe in leasing the land to cowmen.  I am like my chiefs I don’t want sheep here. They are not good medicine, put them off. Keep what cattle that are here, bring no more on Crow lands. I am no big chief, I have not much to say, but what I have spoken about I would like to see done.”

Chief Bell Rock

“Look at all of us here today; we are healthy and are well. We have had much sickness among us this winter, a few of our people have died, we all most all of us have houses, our homes are not very warm, we want them fixed up so that they will be warm. Those who have no house ought to have.  …there is a herd of sheep close to my home: all the ground around my place is as bare as the schoolhouse floor, look at it! It is as I tell you. I don’t like that. I don’t like to see sheep; they stay on the creeks and close to water. They eat all the grass off. The water in the creeks where these sheep are; our horses won’t drink. That is bad. Put the sheep men off and the horsemen too. Let what cattlemen stay whose brands are down on the paper Plenty Coos has.”

Other Chiefs Who Spoke

Takes a Wrinkle, Big Ox, Big Snake, White Mouth, Broke a Horse’s Leg, Bob Tail Crow, Medicine Crow and Spotted Horse all spoke endorsing the remarks made by the higher chiefs.

July 30, 1894 – Daily Times (Montana Can Condemn Indian Allotments)

Senator Power contacted the Secretary of the Interior regarding who had jurisdiction over the Indian Lands. On June 25th he stated “that the state of Montana has the right to condemn, under proper procedures, for public purposes lands embraced in the Indian allotments.” This action permitted the residents of Stillwater to construct a bridge over the Yellowstone River.

March 1, 1899, Congressional Act Chapter 324 (post, p. 687)

Authorizes the use of annuity money for the completion of the irrigation system, the distribution of the “common herd” of cattle (see act of March 3, 1891, supra), and of money arising from sales of stock is directed by the act of May 27, 1902, chapter 888 (post, p. 754).

August 14, 1899, Congressional Act to Change Treaty Conditions (Approved April 27, 1904)

Chapter 1624; Apr. 27, 1904.[H. R. 11676.] | [Public, No. 183.] 33 Stat., 352. An act to ratify and amend an agreement with the Indians of the  Crow   Reservation in Montana, and making appropriations to carry the same into effect.
Whereas Benjamin F. Barge, James H. McNeely, and Charles G. Hoyt, acting for and on behalf of the United States, did, on the fourteenth day of August, A. D. eighteen hundred and ninety-nine, make and conclude an agreement with the Indians of the  Crow   Reservation, in Montana, which said agreement is in words and figures as follows:

Whereas Benjamin F. Barge, James H. McNeely, and Charles G. Hoyt, being duly appointed as commissioner[s] on behalf of the United States by the Secretary of the Interior under and by virtue of an act of Congress approved June 10th, 1896 (29 U. S. Statutes A. L., page 341), entitled “An act making appropriations for current and contingent expenses of the Indian Bureau of the Interior Department and fulfilling treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 1897, and for other purposes,” and by said

{Page 88}
act being authorized to negotiate with the  Crow   Indians, in the State of Montana, for the cession of a portion of their reservation; and whereas the Indians residing on and having rights upon the said  Crow   Indian Reservation in the State of Montana are willing to dispose of a portion of their surplus lands:

Now therefore, this agreement made and entered into by and between the aforesaid commissioners on behalf of the United States of America and the head men and a majority of the male adults residing upon and having rights on the  Crow   Indian Reservation in the State of Montana, witnesseth:

ARTICLE I.   That the said Indians of the  Crow   Reservation do hereby cede, grant, and relinquish to the United States all right, title, and interest which they may have to the lands embraced within and bounded by the following described lines: Beginning at the northeast corner of the said  Crow  Indian Reservation; thence running due south to a point lying due east of the northeast corner of the Fort Custer Military Reservation; thence running due west to the northwest corner of said Fort Custer Military Reservation; thence due south to the southwest corner of said Fort Custer Military Reservation; thence due west to the intersection of the line between sections ten and eleven, township two south, range twenty-eight east of the principal meridian of Montana; thence due north to the intersection of the Montana base line; thence due west to the intersection of the western boundary of the  Crow   Indian Reservation; thence in a northeasterly direction, following the present boundary of said reservation to point of beginning.

ARTICLE II.   That in consideration of the land ceded, granted, and relinquished as aforesaid, the United States stipulates and agrees to pay to and expend for the Indians of the said reservation eleven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, in the following manner, to wit:

Ninety thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary shall be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in the extension and completion, including the necessary laterals of the system of irrigation now being constructed on said reservation.

Ten thousand dollars shall be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in the building, extension, or completion of individual Indian ditches: Provided, That none of the above sum shall be expended without the knowledge and consent of the Indian agent.

One hundred thousand dollars shall be placed in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the  Crow   Indians as a trust fund, the same to remain in the Treasury for fifteen years, and shall draw interest at the rate of four per cent per annum, said interest to be expended by the Secretary of the Interior in maintaining and managing said irrigation system.

Provided further, That at the expiration of the fifteen years above mentioned such disposition shall be made of said fund as the Indians, with the consent of the Secretary of the Interior, may determine.

Two hundred forty thousand dollars shall be expended, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in the purchase of two-year-old southern heifers, the same to be placed upon the  Crow   Indian Reservation, and added to the present herd now owned in common by the  Crow   tribe of Indians;

Additional amounts may be expended for cattle from time to time at the request of the Indians under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior.

Provided further, That during the year 1902 all cattle owned at that time in common by the  Crow   tribe of Indians shall be divided equally between said Indians, share and share alike to every man, woman, and child having rights upon the  Crow   Reservation.

Fifteen thousand dollars shall be spent in the purchase of jackasses or stallions, either or both, in the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, the same to be placed upon the  Crow   Reservation for the benefit of the  Crow   Indians.

Forty thousand dollars shall be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in the purchase of two-year-old ewes, the same to be placed upon the  Crow   Reservation for the benefit of the  Crow   Indians.

Forty thousand dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, shall be expended by the Secretary of the Interior in fencing the  Crow   Reservation, said fence to be built of six strands of galvanized barbed cattle wire, with either cedar posts not less than four inches in diameter at the small end or iron posts set sixteen feet apart with three metallic stays between each two posts; said fence to be well built and properly braced and anchored.

One hundred thousand dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, shall be expended by the Secretary of the Interior in the erection, purchase and repair of such school buildings as he may deem necessary.

Ten thousand dollars shall be expended by the Secretary of the Interior, in the erection and furnishing of a hospital at the agency for the benefit of the  Crow   Indians.

Fifty thousand dollars shall be placed in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the  Crow   tribe of Indians as a trust fund, and shall bear interest at the rate of four per cent per annum; said interest to be used, under direction of the Secretary of the Interior, to cover necessary expenses of maintaining said hospital.

Fifty thousand dollars shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the  Crow   tribe of Indians, the same to be expended for their benefit from time to time by the Secretary of the Interior, in such manner as he may direct.

Three thousand dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated and set apart to pay the expenses of ten  Crow   Indians, two interpreters and the agent to visit Washington at such time as permission is received from the Secretary of the Interior.

The balance of the principal sum due the  Crow   Indians under this agreement shall be placed in the Treasury of the United States to their credit as a trust fund and shall bear interest at the rate of four per cent per annum; said interest to be added annually to the principal and an annual annuity payment of twelve dollars per capita shall be paid, in cash, to every man, woman and child having rights upon the reservation; said annuity to be paid semiannually in accordance with such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Interior may prescribe.

Provided further, That two hundred thousand dollars of the last named sum may be expended in the further purchase of cattle or sheep should a majority of the Indians so decide, and the same be approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

Provided further, That when each object for which a specific appropriation has been made in this agreement shall have been fully carried out and completed then the balance remaining of said appropriation may be expended for the benefit of the  Crow   tribe or placed to their credit in such manner as the Secretary of the Interior may determine.

It is further agreed that in the construction of ditches, dams, canals and fences that no contract shall be awarded; nor employment given to other than  Crow   Indians, or whites intermarried with them, except that any Indian employed in construction may hire white men to work for him if he so desires.

Provided further, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent the employment of such engineers or other skilled employees, or to prevent the employment of white labor where it is impracticable for the  Crows   to perform the same.

None of the money due to the said Indians under this agreement shall be subject to the payment of any claims, judgments, [or] demands against said Indians for damages or depredations claimed to have been committed prior to the signing of this agreement.

ARTICLE III.   All lands upon that portion of the reservation hereby granted, ceded and relinquished which have, prior to the date of this agreement been allotted in serveralty to Indians of the  Crow   tribe shall be reserved for said Indians, or where any Indians have homes on such lands they shall not be removed therefrom without their consent, and those not allotted may receive allotments on the lands they now occupy. But in case any prefer to move they may select land elsewhere on that portion of said reservation not hereby ceded granted or relinquished, and not occupied by any other Indians, and should they decide not to move their improvements, then the same may be sold for their benefit, said sale to be approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and the cash proceeds shall be paid to the Indian or Indians whose improvements shall be so sold.

ARTICLE IV.   That for the purpose of segregating the ceded lands from the diminished reservation the new boundary lines described in Article I of this agreement shall, when necessary be properly surveyed and permanently marked in a plain and substantial manner by prominent and durable monuments, the cost of said survey to be paid by the United States.

ARTICLE V.  The water from streams on that portion of the reservation now sold, which is necessary for irrigating on land actually cultivated, and in use, shall be reserved for the Indians now using the same so long as said Indians remain where they now live.

ARTICLE VI.   It is further agreed that a statement of all expenditures under the various provisions of this agreement shall be sent to the agent of the  Crow   Indians twice a year, or at such times as the Secretary of the Interior may direct, showing the amounts expended and the balance remaining on hand in each of the several funds.

ARTICLE VII.   The existing provisions of all former treaties with the  Crow   tribe of Indians not inconsistent with the provisions of this agreement, are hereby continued in force and effect, and all provisions thereof inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

ARTICLE VIII.   This agreement shall take effect and be in force when signed by the commissioners and a majority of the male Indians of the  Crow   tribe over eighteen years of age, and ratified by the Congress of the United States, and should any article in the agreement fail of confirmation by Congress, then the whole shall be null and void.

Signed on the part of the United States Government by the commissioners aforesaid and by the following Indians of the  Crow   tribe having rights on the  Crow   Reservation in the State of Montana.

 CROW  AGENCY, MONTANA, August 14, 1899:

CHARLES G. HOYT, Commissioner.
JAMES H McNEELY, Commissioner.
BENJAMIN F. Barge, Commissioner.
PRETTY (x mark) EAGLE.
PRETTY COOS.
TWO (x mark) LEGGINS.
(And 535 others.)


Witness: Fred. E. MILLER.

I hereby certify that I was chosen, by the Indians to act as interpreter during the councils held to discuss the foregoing agreement; that I truly interpreted for the commissioners and for the Indians, and that they thoroughly understand the entire matter.

CARL LEIDER, Interpreter.

Witness: C. N. CROTSENBURG.

We hereby certify that we were present at the councils held to discuss the foregoing agreement; that we understand the  Crow   language, and that the provisions of this agreement were correctly interpreted to the Indians, and that they understood the entire matter.

FRANK SHANE.
W. M. LEIGHTON.
GEORGE H. PEASE.

Witnesses:
    H. J. SHOBE.
    F. G. MATTOON.
 CROW   AGENCY, Mont., August 14, 1899.

 CROW   AGENCY, MONT., August 14, 1899.

I hereby certify that three hundred and seventeen Indians constitute a majority of the male adult Indians over 18 years old residing on, or having rights upon the  Crow   Indian Reservation, in the State of Montana.

J. E. EDWARDS, United States Indian Agent

And
Whereas: The Indians of said  Crow   Reservation consented to the modification of the aforesaid agreement, as evidenced by a instrument executed by them on the twenty-seventh day of April, A. D. nineteen hundred and one, in words and figures as follows:

 CROW   AGENCY, MONTANA, April 27, 1901.

We, the undersigned members of the  Crow   Tribe of Indians, hereby consent and agree to the amendment of an agreement concluded with our tribe August 14th, 1899, by the addition of the following article thereto: Article IX. The right to take out water upon the diminished reservation subject to any prior claim of the Indians thereto by reason of previous appropriation, and the right to construct, maintain, and operate dams, flumes, and canals upon and across the said diminished reservation for the purpose of irrigating lands within any portion of the ceded tract, are hereby granted, such rights to be exercised by persons, companies, or corporations under such rules, regulations, and requirements as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior.

RICHARD WALLACE X
TWO LEGGINS X
MEDICINE EAGLE X
(and 523 more Indian signatures.)

We certify on honor that we were present and witnessed the signing of the above agreement by the adult male members of the  Crow   Tribe of Indians, numbered from 1 to 526.

F. G. MATTOON.
FRED E. MILLER.

I certify on honor that I interpreted the above amendment to the agreement, and the succeeding agreement, for the Indians and that they fully understood the conditions of the same, and that I witnessed the signing of same by the adult male members of the  Crow   Tribe of Indians, numbered from 1 to 526.

T. LAFORGE, Interpreter.

I certify on honor that the Indians whose names are attached to the above list, numbered from one (1) to five hundred twenty-six (526) are all adult male members of the  Crow   Tribe of Indians, and that each one is entitled to and does receive an equal portion of the benefits of the  Crow   Tribe of Indians, and are entitled to signify their willingness to the above undertaking. I further certify that three hundred twenty-three (323) Indians constitute a majority of the adult male  Crow   Indians having rights on the  Crow   Indian Reservation in the State of Montana.

J. E. EDWARDS, U. S. Indian Agent.

Therefore,
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That said agreement be, and the same is hereby, modified and amended to read as follows:

ARTICLE I.   That the said Indians of the  Crow   Reservation do hereby cede, grant, and relinquish to the United States all right, title, and interest which they may have to the lands embraced within and bounded by the following described lines: Beginning at the northeast corner of the said  Crow   Indian Reservation; thence running due south to a point lying due east of the northeast corner of the Fort Custer Military Reservation; thence running due west to the northwest corner of said Fort Custer Military Reservation; thence due south to the southwest corner of said Fort Custer Military Reservation; thence due west to the intersection of the line between sections ten and eleven, township two south, range twenty-eight east of the principal meridian of Montana; thence due north to the intersection of the Montana base line; thence due west to the intersection of the western boundary of the  Crow   Indian Reservation; thence in a northeasterly direction, following the present boundary of said reservation to point of beginning.

“ ARTICLE II.   That in consideration of the land ceded, granted, relinquished, and conveyed by article one of this agreement the United States stipulates and agrees to dispose of the same as hereinafter provided under the provisions of the reclamation act approved June seventeenth, nineteen hundred and two, the homestead, town site, and mineral land laws, except sections sixteen and thirty-six, or an equivalent of two sections in each township, at not less than four dollars per acre, subject to the provisions in section five, the United States to pay for sections sixteen and thirty-six, or an equivalent of two sections in each township, at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, and to pay the said Indians the proceeds derived from the sale of said lands, and for the said sections sixteen and thirty-six, or an equivalent of two sections in each township, as follows:

“Ninety thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, shall be expended, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, in the extension and completion, including the necessary laterals, of the system of irrigation now being constructed on said reservation.

“One hundred thousand dollars shall be placed in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the  Crow   Indians as a trust fund, the same to remain in the Treasury for fifteen years and shall draw interest at the rate of four per centum per annum, said interest to be expended by the Secretary of the Interior in maintaining and managing said irrigation system: Provided further, That at the expiration of the fifteen years above mentioned such disposition shall be made of said funds as the Indians, with the consent of the Secretary of the Interior, may determine.

“Two hundred and forty thousand dollars shall be expended, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, in the purchase of two-year-old Southern heifers, the same to be place upon the  Crow   Indian Reservation and added to the present herd now owned in common by the  Crow   Tribe of Indians.

“Additional amounts may be expended for cattle from time to time, at the request of the Indians, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior.

“Fifteen thousand dollars shall be spent in the purchase of jackasses or stallions, either or both, in the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior, the same to be placed upon the  Crow   Reservation for the benefit of the  Crow   Indians.

“Forty thousand dollars shall be expended under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in the purchase of two-year-old ewes, the same to be placed upon the  Crow   Reservation for the benefit of the  Crow   Indians.

“Forty thousand dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, shall be expended by the Secretary of the Interior in fencing the  Crow Reservation, said fence to be built of six strands of galvanized barbed cattle wire, with either cedar posts not less than four inches in diameter at the small end or iron posts set sixteen feet apart, with three metallic stays between each two posts; said fence to be well built and properly braced and anchored.

“One hundred thousand dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, shall be expended by the Secretary of the Interior in the erection, purchase, and repair of such school buildings as he may deem necessary.

“Ten thousand dollars shall be expended by the Secretary of the Interior in the erection and furnishing of a hospital at the agency for the benefit of the  Crow   Indians.

“Fifty thousand dollars shall be placed in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the  Crow   tribe of Indians as a trust fund, and shall bear interest at the rate of four per centum per annum; said interest to be used, under direction of the Secretary of the Interior, to cover necessary expenses of maintaining said hospital.

“Fifty thousand dollars shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the  Crow   tribe of Indians, the same to be expended for their benefit from time to time by the Secretary of the Interior, in such manner as he may direct.

“Three thousand dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, may be expended to pay the expenses of ten  Crow   Indians, two interpreters, and the agent to visit Washington at such time as permission is received from the Secretary of the Interior: Provided further, That should the funds accruing to the Indians from the sale of their lands render it advisable, the Secretary of the Interior may expend the further sum of two hundred thousand dollars in the further purchase of cattle or sheep, should a majority of the Indians so decide and the same be approved by the Secretary of the Interior: Provided further, That when each object for which a specific appropriation has been made in this agreement shall have been fully carried out and completed then the balance remaining of said appropriation may be expended for the benefit of the  Crow   tribe or placed to their credit in such manner as the Secretary of the Interior may determine: Provided further, That the Secretary of the Interior may, in his discretion, while the funds for the several purposes above named are accruing from the sale and disposition of the lands, make per capita cash payments from the proceeds at such times and in such amounts to every man, woman, and child, share and share alike, having tribal rights on the reservation, as he may deem for their best interests.

“It is further agreed that in the construction of ditches, dams, canals, and fences no contract shall be awarded nor employment given to other than  Crow   Indians or whites intermarried with them, except that any Indian employed in construction may hire white men to work for him if he so desires: Provided further, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent the employment of such engineers or other skilled employees, or to prevent the employment of white labor where it is impracticable for the  Crows   to perform the same.

“That none of the money due to the said Indians under this agreement shall be subject to the payment of any claims, judgments, or demands against said Indians for damages or depredations claimed to have been committed prior to the signing of this agreement. And the various expenditures and payments required to be made under the provisions of this article shall be made as the funds therefor are available as herein provided, and shall be prorated, apportioned, and made in such proportions and amounts as in the opinion of the Secretary of the Interior the needs and requirements of the Indians and their best interests shall warrant and demand.

“ ARTICLE III.   All lands upon that portion of the reservation hereby granted, ceded, and relinquished which have, prior to the date of this agreement, been allotted in severalty to Indians of the  Crow   tribe shall be reserved for said Indians, or where any Indians have homes on such lands they shall not be removed therefrom without their consent, and those not allotted may receive allotments on the lands they now occupy. But in case any prefer to move they may select land elsewhere on that portion of said reservation not hereby ceded, granted, or relinquished, and not occupied by any other Indians, and should they decide not to move their improvements, then the same may be sold for their benefit, said sale to be approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and the cash proceeds shall be paid to the Indian or Indians whose improvements shall be so sold.

“ ARTICLE IV.   That for the purpose of segregating the ceded lands from the diminished reservation the new boundary lines described in Article I of this agreement shall, when necessary, be properly surveyed and permanently marked in a plain and substantial manner by prominent and durable monuments, the cost of said survey to be paid by the United States.

“ ARTICLE V.   The water from streams on that portion of the reservation now sold which is necessary for irrigating land actually cultivated and in use shall be reserved for the Indians now using the same so long as said. Indians remain where they now live.

“ ARTICLE VI.   It is further agreed that a statement of all expenditures under the various provisions of this agreement shall be sent to the agent of the  Crow   Indians twice a year, or at such times as the Secretary of the Interior may direct, showing the amounts expended and the balance remaining on hand in each of the several funds.

“ ARTICLE VII.   The existing provisions of all former treaties with the  Crow   tribe of Indians not inconsistent with the provisions of this agreement are hereby continued in force and effect, and all provisions thereof inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

“ ARTICLE VIII.   The right to take out water upon the diminished reservation subject to any prior claim of the Indians thereto by reason of previous appropriation, and the right to construct, maintain, and operate dams, flumes, and canals upon and across the said diminished reservation for the purpose of irrigating lands within any portion of the ceded tract are hereby granted, such rights to be exercised by persons, companies, or corporations under such rules, regulations, and requirements as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior.

“ ARTICLE IX.   This agreement shall take effect and be in force when accepted and ratified by the Congress of the United States.”
SEC. 2
That the said agreement be, and the same is hereby, accepted, ratified, and confirmed, as herein amended.
SEC. 3
That for the purpose of surveying and marking so much of the boundary line of the tract ceded and relinquished by the Indians as may be necessary to segregate the same from the lands reserved by them, as provided in article four of said agreement, the sum of one thousand two hundred dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, be, and the same is hereby, appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, and there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of forty thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, for the completion of the survey and subdivision of said ceded lands, the same to be reimbursed out of the first moneys to be received from the sale of said lands.
SEC. 4
That the Commissioner of Indian Affairs shall cause allotments to be made, in manner and quantity as provided by existing law, of the lands occupied and cultivated by any Indians on the portion of the reservation by said agreement ceded and relinquished, as required by article three thereof; and where such Indian occupants elect to remove to the diminished reservation he shall cause a schedule to be prepared showing the names of such occupants, the descriptions of the lands, and the character of the improvements thereon. Such improvements shall then be appraised and sold under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior to the highest bidder, no sale to be for less than the appraised value, the proceeds to be paid to the respective Indian occupants as required by said article three: Provided, That the purchaser of such improvements shall have a preference right, if otherwise qualified, of thirty days after the land becomes subject to entry within which to enter the lands upon which the improvements are located, not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres, in compliance with the provisions herein governing the disposition of said ceded lands.

The Secretary of the Interior shall fix a reasonable time within which such Indian occupants shall elect whether they will remain on the ceded tract or remove to the diminished reservation, and where they elect to remove he shall also fix a reasonable time within which such occupants must remove their improvements if they should choose to do so instead of having the same appraised and sold.
SEC. 5
That before any of the lands by this agreement ceded are opened to settlement or entry the Commissioner of Indian Affairs shall cause the allotments to be made and the schedule to be prepared, as provided for in section four of this act, and a duplicate of said schedule shall be filed with the Commissioner of the General Land Office. Upon the completion of such allotments and the filing of such schedule and after the sale or removal of such improvements the residue of such ceded lands, except sections sixteen and thirty-six, or lands in lieu thereof, which shall be reserved for common school purposes, and are hereby granted to the State of Montana for such purpose, shall be subject to withdrawal and disposition under the reclamation act of June seventeenth, nineteen hundred and two, so far as feasible irrigation projects may be found therein. The charges provided for by said reclamation act shall be in addition to the charge of four dollars per acre for the land, and shall be paid in annual installments as required under the reclamation act; and the amounts to be paid for the land shall be credited to the funds herein established for the benefit of the  Crow   Indians. If any lands in sections sixteen and thirty-six are included in an irrigation project under the reclamation act, the State of Montana may select in lieu thereof, as herein provided, other lands not included in any such project, in accordance with the provisions of existing law concerning school land selections. In any construction work upon the ceded lands performed directly by the United States under the reclamation act, preference shall be given to the employment of  Crow   Indians, or whites intermarried with them, so far as may be practicable: Provided, however, That if the lands withdrawn under the reclamation act are not disposed of within five years after the passage of this act, then all of said lands so withdrawn shall be disposed of as other lands provided for in this act. That the lands not withdrawn for irrigation under said reclamation act, which lands shall be determined under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior at the earliest practical date, shall be disposed of under the homestead, town site, and mineral land laws of the United States, and shall be opened to settlement and entry by proclamation of the President, which proclamation shall prescribe the manner in which these lands may be settled upon, occupied, and entered by persons entitled to make entry thereof; and no person shall be permitted to settle upon, occupy, or enter any of said lands, except as prescribed in such proclamation, until after the expiration of sixty days from the time when the same are opened to settlement and entry: Provided, That as to the lands open under such proclamation the rights of honorably discharged Union soldiers and sailors of the late Civil and the Spanish War or Philippine insurrection, as defined and described in sections twenty-three hundred and four and twenty-three hundred and five of the Revised Statutes, as amended by the act of March first, nineteen hundred and one, shall not be abridged: And provided further, That the price of said lands shall be four dollars per acre, when entered under the homestead laws, to be paid as follows:

One dollar per acre when entry is made, and the remainder in four equal annual installments, the first to be paid at the end of the second year.

In addition to the price to be paid for the land, the entrymen shall pay the same fees and commissions at the time of commutation or final entry as now provided by law where the price of the land is one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre.

Lands entered under the town-site and mineral-land laws shall be paid for in amount and manner as provided by said laws, but in no event at a less price than that fixed herein for such lands, if entered under the homestead laws, and in case any entryman fails to make such deferred payments, or any of them, promptly when due, all rights in and to the land covered by his or her entry shall at once cease, and any payments theretofore made shall be forfeited, and the entry shall be held for cancellation and canceled: Provided, That the lands embraced within such canceled entry shall, after cancellation of such entry, be subject to entry under the provisions of the homestead law at four dollars per acre until otherwise directed by the President, as herein provided: And provided, That nothing in this act shall prevent homestead settlers from commuting their entries under section twenty-three hundred and one, Revised Statutes, by paying for the land entered the price fixed herein, receiving credit for payments previously made, except as to lands entered under said reclamation act: And provided further, That when, in the judgment of the President, no more of the land herein ceded can be disposed of at said price, he may by proclamation, to be repeated at his discretion, sell from time to time the remaining land subject to the provisions of the homestead law or otherwise as he may deem most advantageous, at such price or prices, in such manner, upon such conditions, with such restrictions, and upon such terms as he may deem best for all the interests concerned.
SEC. 6
That the proceeds received from the sale of said lands in conformity with this act shall be paid into the Treasury of the United States, and paid to the  Crow   Indians or expended on their account only as provided in article two of said agreement as herein amended. Lands in lieu of occupied lands granted to Montana.

No lands in sections sixteen and thirty-six now occupied, as set forth in article three of the agreement herein ratified, or withdrawn for irrigation under the provisions of said reclamation act, shall be reserved for school purposes, but the State of Montana shall be entitled to indemnity for any lands so occupied; and the governor of said State, with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, is hereby authorized in the tract herein ceded to locate other lands not occupied or withdrawn, which shall be paid for by the United States, as herein provided, in quantity equal to the loss, and such selections shall be made prior to the opening of such lands to settlement, but no selection shall be made by the State of the lands herein ceded except to compensate for losses occurring therein.
SEC. 7
That there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of ninety thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, to pay the said Indians, at the rate of one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, for the lands granted to the State of Montana as provided in section five of this act.
SEC. 8
That nothing in this act contained shall in any manner bind the United States to purchase any portion of the land herein described, except sections sixteen and thirty-six or the equivalent in each township, or to dispose of said land except as provided herein, or to guarantee to find purchasers for said lands or any portion thereof, it being the intention of this act that the United States shall act as trustee for said Indians to dispose of said lands and to expend and pay over the proceeds received from the sale thereof only as received, as herein provided.



March 3, 1901- Congressional Act to Condemn Indian Land (31 Stat., 1058, 1084)

 The Act reads: “That lands allotted in severalty to Indians may be condemned for any public purpose under the laws of the State or Territory where located in the same manner as land owned in fee may be condemned, and the money awarded as damages shall be paid to the allottee.”

December 23, 1905 – Office of Indian Affairs (Grazing Lease Request for Proposals)

The Department of Interior offered 435,000 acres of Crow Reservation land for sheep grazing in District #3 [Big Horn River to McCormick’s fence at South Hills] for a five-year period. Minimum bid was $.04 per acre, and the bidder has to procure all additional feed from the Crows from the Big Horn grazing section east of the river, at current prices.

At this time, the Agency at Crow Agency, had established five substations for maintaining law and order on the reservation. The districts within were managed by a “Boss Farmer”, who reported to the Agent in charge at Crow Agency. This policy was established earlier, in 1884, before Crow Agency was established. The Agent ruled with an iron hand, and there were no appeals to any of his judgments. The constitutionalities of basic human rights were firmly denied. The five districts identified by name were:

            Pryor District – Located on the extreme west end of the reservation 87 miles from the agency, and controlled by Chief Plenty Coups.

            Black Lodge District – Located immediately north of the agency and extending to the mouth of the Big Horn River, then up the Yellowstone River to Billings.

            Reno District – Located south of the agency and extending half-way to Lodge Grass on Sandy Creek. Its headquarters was in Garryowen.

            Lodge Grass District – Located south of Sandy Creek to the Wyoming border. Headquarters were in Lodge Grass.

            Big Horn District – Located in the Big Horn River valley to its confluence with the Little Horn River.

Crow Land Lease Act of 1920

Sec. 2. No conveyance of land by any Crow Indian shall be authorized or approved by the Secretary of the Interior to any person, company, or corporation who owns at least six hundred and forty acres of agricultural or one thousand two hundred and eighty acres of grazing land within the present boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation, nor to any person who, with the land to be acquired by such conveyance, would become the owner of more than one thousand two hundred and eighty acres of agricultural or one thousand nine hundred and twenty acres of grazing land within said reservation. Any conveyance by any such Indian made either directly or indirectly to any such person, company, or corporation of any land within said reservation as the same now exists, whether held by trust patent or by patent in fee shall be void and the grantee accepting the same shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment not more than six months or by both such fine and imprisonment[13].

Act of April 14, 1928 (Public, Numbered 275, Seventieth Congress)

For part of the cost of the construction of a road on the Crow Indian Reservation, Montana, between the towns of Hardin and Saint Xavier, to be taken from the tribal funds on deposit to the credit of said Indians in the United States $7,500, to remain available until June 30, 1929. Additionally some allotments and changes in land usages were created by Executive Order.

Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 Web Master . All Rights Reserved.

Hosted by Rootsweb!

 

Return Home



[1] After the Buffalo Days; by Charles Crane Bradley, Jr. MSU; Bozeman, MT. [Note: This book describes many detailed aspects of the Tribal conditions and government operations between the 1800’s and 1920’s.It is a masterpiece, and must be a part of any serious research.]

[2] ID O’Donnell and Agnes Jones “Crow Country”, land leases, undated.

[3] Daily Herald, October 23, 1883; “The Crow Reservation”

[4] Daily Herald, October 24, 1883; “The Crow Reservation”

[5] History of Montana, Yellowstone County Chapter XXX, pgs 4 & 5, Leeson, c1885

[6] Northwest Magazine, September 1894.

[7] Daily Times, July 30, 1894, “Indian Lands”

[8] Weekly Times, December 27, 1894; “Our Neighbors, the Crows”

[9] http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/Vol1/HTML files/PRO0958.html#mn7

[10] William H. Heffner’s quarry.

[11] Billings Gazette Quote, June 1886

[12] The list is apparently from the lease agreement held by Chief Plenty Coups.

[13]  [S. 2890.]  41 Stat., 751. Chap. 224An Act To provide for the allotment of lands of the Crow Tribe, for the distribution of tribal funds, and for other purposes.