Task Force Ten.
Jo Jo Hunt
BE IT REMEMBERED that the above-entitled cause came on for hearing before Ms. Jo Jo Hunt, Chairwoman, on Saturday, March 13, 1976 at 10:00 a.m. in the Council Chambers of the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Oregon.
Reported by: Christine Dawes
our break. Next witness is Mr. Jerry Running Foxe, Chief of the Coquille Tribe and also a canidate for Congress from the 4th District in Oregon. Mr. Perry from the Lower Umpqua Tribal Council, member of the Tribal Council.
MR. PERRY: Well, being as I'm part of the council and the Rogue River, I would like to discuss this a little bit, and since the hour is so late -- back in Washington, D.C. they don't have any concept of what's going on out here and never have and some of them don't really care because they have their own little battlefield and are running around it now.
Starting back as early as 1812, John Quincy Adams of the United States was trying to sign a treaty with Great Britain. What held up that treaty for almost a month was the simple fact that Britain wanted an Indian Nation beyond the Ohio. Needless to say, the delegates from the Congress at that time said no and finally it was dropped. It keeps on going down to the fact that we are a nation within a nation. There's been no treaty signed in the United States, therefore we still have a land base that was given to us and therefore we're still in existence, and by that we are legal.
Now according to the law, white man's law, even the Magna Carta which we originally originated from when we came from England, said specifically that if a man obtains land from another man and does not fill his promise for payments,
that land refers back to the original owner. In short, the United States has not complied with the agreements or payments, so therefore I say it is still our land. I think someone made a comment that communication between certain parties, which is the United States and the Indians, local Indians. has broken down and their representative is the BIA. It was pointed out it takes care of this. I would like to read a little excerpt out of Public Law 280. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs issued a record on the BIA and called for abolition. While the original aim was to make the Indian a citizen, the present aim appears to be to keep the Indian an Indian and to make him satisfied with all the limitations of a primitive life.
The Bureau has been concerned with building up a system instead of service; attempting to build self-perpetuating institutions; making material improvements for the Indian Service at the expense of Indian life; furnishing physical relief that was not needed nearly so much as economic and civic encouragement; breaking down assisting agencies; segregating the Indian from the general citizenry; condemning the Indian to perpetual wardship; making the Indian the guinea pig for experimentation; grouping the Indian for convenience of supervision for which they are presumed to exist; tieing him to the land in perpetuity; forcing a conventional type of education on him; attempting to compel ...
... the Mississippi River that was allowed to be a citizen. In fact there wasn't a citizen who was allowed to be a citizen until after 1900. They had us in their laws so it would cover in case it was ever - - somebody come and say, "How come an Indian didn't get it when he wasn't a citizen at that time?" Another thing too, the BIA concerning the treaties of the Western Oregon Indians, they made statements that these treaties were with Indians too insignificant to even consider. That is why no action has ever been taken against any of these Indians.
Earlier we were talking concerning hunting and fishing rights. Coquille Indians back in 1927 at that time were supposed -- it was supposed to be legal to hunt on an Indian allotment or the trust land. I have the written statements. I have all the evidence at home on these files that states where three Indians and one white were hunting during hunting season on an Indian Allotment and killed a deer. The Oregon Game Commission said it had to be completely eaten up by the end of hunting season. The meat wasn't eaten so a lady canned three jars of it that was left. About two days before the hunting season was over, Oregon State Game Commission came to the allotment with two deputy sheriffs from Coos County. They ransacked the place and killed two dogs, one was just a pup. They said they'd been used in the
hunting. One elderly woman on the property, they threw her out of a house, went through her room. She dies from injuries only two weeks later. This was turned over to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, also to the FBI, the State Department, almost every agency in the United States Government, yet the United States Government, Bureau of Indian Affairs, FBI, and all of them said there was nothing that could be done about this because it was just the Indian involved in it and it was out of their jurisdiction because the Indians were supposed to be under the supervision of the BIA. The BIA refused to do anything about it. The three Indians were sentenced in a court and fined $250 apiece for hunting. They were thrown in jail for 30 days. The white man was given a $15 fine, which has never been paid to this date, and let go free the same day. Yet they say no unjust treatment shall be given to the Indians. This is documented proof that I have that I will submit as to the actions of the BIA and what they have done for the Indians here in Western Oregon.
I have a page here that was taken out of a government -- this was on the Oregon, Western Oregon Judgement Fund. This was taken out of one of their pamphlets, I guess you call it. It wasn't supposed to be given to me. It says judgments were given by the United States Court of Claims because the land of the Tillamook Tribe outside the coast reservation and all the land of Tootooney and Chetco tribes
were taken by enducing and coercing the Indians of these tribes to move from their lands to which they have original use and occupancy title to the coast reservation upon the promise that the treaty of August 11, 1855 would be ratified and the terms therefore carried out by the United States, which was not done. This was in conjunction with the resource fund which I have submitted evidence at the other meeting in Coos Bay as to those hearings. They stated at that time in the closed hearings the United States did take the land from the Coquille Indians, the Chetcos, Tootooneys, Tillamooks. In another decision, it states the land was not under the Fifth Amendment. I don't know the exact words they used, but the Indians were supposed to be entitled to interest on this money that they received from the date of 1855, date of payment, 1856. The Indians were lead to believe that what they were getting they were told was a $15,000,000 settlement coming to the tribe. When they made up the rolls for the Coquille Indians, this was what they were told. These rolls were to be used in the distribution of the money. After the rolls were made up, they were notified that the Supreme Court had reversed the decision of the Court of Claims and this had disallowed the interest on this money. We asked for at that time why we were not allowed to appeal this. They said because at the time we used our payment that the Supreme Court made its decision the Public Law 588 was in effect.
Therefore we were terminated Indians. We had no rights for appeal on any decision. They said any decisions that were made would have to be through legislative action. We've asked them about any kind of information concerning reopening of the claim, re-examination. We have found seven points in this closed hearing where our attorneys, who we did not select, the government selected these attorneys, had made objections to evidence that was submitted. According to federal law, anytime an objection is raised and it is not acted upon, this gives the plaintiff a right to an appeal. But we wrote about an appeal on these cases, these charges, and they said that Congress had plenary power to stop all the appeals. If it could be done, it would be through legislative action, and they said as far as they were concerned these four Tribes were paid way above the appraised value for any land that had been taken. And we have yet to find out what they mean by 'offset gratuities.' They stated at one place gratuities were for costs of the government to remove the Indians from their homeland to the reservation. This, according to the treaty, was supposed to be passed by the government, but they say the treaty was not ratified, therefore they did not have to pay for this. The treaty itself stated that the Indians have one year from the day of ratification of this treaty before they had to remove themselves from the homeland to the reservation. August 11th the treaty was signed. November 11th
of the same year the Coquille Indians were put into a Fort. The Fort is on the Coquille River, and at that point is when they were transported down the river and up the coast by foot to the Siletz Reservation less than 3 months later. Yet they had one year of ratification and I asked them about this and I have inquired about this, how they were allowed to do this when there was no ratified treaty. They said that the treaty - - the Indian was supposed to stand up to his part of the treaty. It was not the government's fault the treaty was lost and was never ratified. The treaty was lost for 17 years. It was found behind a desk in Washington, D.C. All the letters - - they received all the letters that were with the treaty, but they didn't receive the treaty. So in writing I wanted a copy of this treaty, so I wrote to the BIA many times. They said there was no copy of the treaty. That it never existed. I wrote to the general services administration. I finally got a letter back from them after about five years of writing. They stated in their letter, "Unable to identify the treaty which you inquire. A large number of treaties were included between the United States and various Indian Tribes from Oregon and Washington during the years of 1854 and 1855. The Coquilles, Chetcos, Tootooneys are not listed among the signatory parties. If you can furnish the exact day of the treaty and location where it was negotiated, a further search of records can be made." Well, I wrote to them later. I never ...