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National Expenditure for the Indians


1. Amount of money belonging to the Indians.

2. The policy of the government.

3. Conduct of government agents.

4. Expenditures for the Indians.

1. The expenditure for the Indians is founded partly on contract, treaties with them for their lands, and partly on sentiments of justice and charity. The amount of money belonging to the Indians for lands sold at different times is $32,594,118. This is held in trust by the Gov ernment, and yields 4 and 5 per cent. interest. The in come from this source for the fiscal year 1899 was $1,421, 371.' Besides this income the amount appropriated in ful fillment of treaty and agreement obligations for the year was $3,318,334. The sum of $717,665 was also added as a gratuity. The income of the Indians for the same period was still further swelled by proceeds of labor, leases, etc., $688,871, making a total of $6,146,202. The entire amount appropriated by Congress for that year to the Indian service was $8,237,675.

2. Much has been written concerning the treatment of the Indians by the Government.' It is now believed that the wisest policy is to provide them to some extent with supplies ; to allot lands to them as absolute owners, and thus destroy their tribal relations ; to educate them and fit them for the duties of citizenship.' The public supplies are bought in the open market on specifications and bids, and agents are appointed to distribute them.

3. Many of these agents have proved unfaithful to their trusts, and the failure of the Government in this re gard has long been a daily theme for criticism. Far re moved from their superiors, and beyond their ken, too often they have taken advantage of their situation and of Indian ignorance to practice on them the grossest frauds. The conscience of the nation has become stirred, and it is believed that in many respects the Government's conduct toward them has greatly improved.

4. The following table shows in detail the Indian ex penditures during recent years: account of Indian Trust Fund. See report of Com mittee on Indian Affairs, 1899, pp. 519-528.

'"Every effort has been made to make the Indiana inde pendent and self-supporting. They have been given to under stand that the Government will not feed and clothe them while they remain in idleness. On the other hand, encouragement has been extended them to take up a variety of occupations or to that assistance will be rendered in building a house, providing a team, agricultural implements, wire for fencing and grain for seeding, as well as the supervision and counsel of a practical farmer to aid in the cultivation of crops. The carrying into ef fect of this policy has resulted in much good, and it is encour aging to note from the reports of the various Indian agents the many different ways in which Indians are earning their own livelihood. Where it is practicable to do so the Government gives them remunerative work. The Government paid last year in salaries to regular Indian employees over $400,000, and in ad dition thereto paid still larger amounts to them for miscellane ous work and for supplies raised by themselves."—Report of D. R. Francis, Secretary of the Interior, 1896, 37.

'See Appendix E for detailed expenditures concerning In dian schools. Since the report of the Indian Commissioner for 1896 no detailed statement of expenditures for the Indians has appeared, though the reason for the omission is neither obvious nor explained.

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