Siletz Agency, Oregon.
October 29th 1892.
The Indians of the Siletz Indian Reservation met in Council at 1 o'clock of said day, when the following proceedings were had:
Mr. Brown the Government Interpreter was present, but the Indians objected to his acting as their Interpreter, and they appointed Pengra Logan, and Johnny Williams to act as Interpreters for the Indians, and Oscar Brown acted as Interpreter for the Commission.
Mr. W.H. Odell.
Most of you were here at our last meeting. You understand what we have come here for. You have now had two weeks time in which to consider the matter, and by your presence here to-day we conclude that you are fully interested in this matter, and that you are ready and anxious to sell your lands, provided we can come to some satisfactory agreement. If that is true, why, then we are ready to proceed to draw up a contract or agreement, and to submit it to you for your consideration; but in order to do that so that it will be entirely satisfactory, and that you will have an equal voice in the matter with us, we are of the opinion that it would be better for you to appoint a committee, consisting of four, five, six or more members, as you may choose, to confer with us and see that the agreement is drawn up just as we represent it to you, so that you will understand fully every sentence in it, and not be mistaken. Then, after this is done, it will not be binding upon any one unless he thinks it is just as he wants it. If it then meets with your appro-
val we will expect you to sign it. The appointing of the Committee to cooperate with us in preparing the contract will not be binding upon you unless you ratify it after we draw it up.
Mr. H.H. Harding.
The next session of Congress comes the First Monday in December, only a little over a month from now. So, if you want to make this bargain so that you will get your money quick, we must act right away. Now if you will appoint your committee we will go out with them and try and make a contract, and nobody is bound by it until he signs it, or until a majority of all the Indians sign it.
If any indian wants to make a statement and say a few words before it is done, we would be glad to hear from them. If there is not any one of you that wants to make any remarks, then you must select your Committee, of just such men as you want to represent you. You will want to nominate certain men, and elect them one at a time. The reason it is necessary to do this is because all of us could not get together in a room and write up a contract.
Charley Depot, (Indian)
I am pretty old, but understand Jargon. I understand the meaning of a Bargain. I understand it pretty well. Now if we bargain anything to do we want to act it out straight. If we make a bargain we do not want to be feeling bad about it. Want it got up in good shape. Today we are all together and we want it all plain. When away back to Congress, and Congress meets, we wont know nothing about it. The commission may know well what is going on but we wont know nothing about it. We are only here now to talk together; it is all plain. When Congress meet back there may be you folks know, but we don't know nothing about it. It is important that we make the bargain pretty high because back at Washington they always look over it and see what they are doing, and that is why if we make the bargain to-day we want to settle it all good. We understand that when Congress meets back there and settles it nobody can move it again. May be we make a bargain here to-day and may be it won't stay. It would be a pretty good thing for the Government to make the bargain back there all settled, and then you come over here, it would be a good deal better. Then we do not have to wait that long to have it settled. If they bargain back there we see it plain. That is the reason that we have a kind of trouble about it, because they are not ready back there. We do not understand exactly right. To-day if we settle it will be settled; that is all I say to you.
Mr. W.H. Odell.
Has any other one anything to say? After the get through talking we will try and answer them.
U.S. Grant, (Indian)
We want to know how much land is left outside of the land that is allotted?
Mr. W.H. Odell.
We cannot tell because it is not all surveyed. We can only guess at it.
William Strong, (Indian).
I have not got much to say. I never thought they would send the Commissioners here that soon. This thing that we are talking about now there is not much money in it, and I guess we have not got much to say about things here now.
You all understand when there is any money in it we never could get anything. When these people around here want anything and dont pay the money right down they dont get it. These white settlers when I want to buy anything, if I dont pay cash down, they don't let me have it. To-day I don't say that I want to sell the land because I don't get the money. I will have some more to say after while.
In answer to Mr. Depot's remarks, will say that the reason for asking for the Committee is for the purpose of fixing it exactly right, so that they will understand just how it is. We all want to know that the paper is right. That it states on its face just what you understand. and what we understand by the bargain. After that paper is drawn up and we sent it to Washington, then Congress will either approve
or disapprove it. If they approve it, then it will be just as we drew it up. If they disapprove it then it will be just as if we had not met you and had had no talk on the subject. The land will be just as much yours then as it is now and ever has been. In reference to the remarks made by Mr.Strong, any Indian who is entitled to an allotment on this reservation, can come in now or at any time and get his allotment whether the lands are sold or not. If your lands are sold, and an indian comes in who is entitled to an allotment whether the lands are sold or not, the Government will give him an allotment on these lands or elsewhere on public lands, so that the indians who are entitled to allotments will not be deprived of the privilege of getting them, whether you sell or do not sell.
Congress cannot act on this matter at all until we make a bargain. If we make a bargain with you by which we agree to pay you so much money, within thirty days after Congress acts on it, or whatever time (Three months) it may be, then you will get your money, just what we agree to pay you. We cannot get up this bargain without some of you act as a Committee, and if you like Mr. Depot might act on that Committee, himself, if they want him. We cannot make a bargain unless we can get together and get up the paper.
We have heard from a good many indians since we have been here, that they do not like to wait twenty-five years to get the patent for the lands. Now if we can make a bargain for the cession of these lands, not the allotted lands, then we will recommend to the Government to shorten the time and
make it five years. The time of twenty-five years was fixed because it applied to all the Indians all over the country, and many of them are what you call wild indians, (blanket indians) and we can say to the Government that you are not that kind. We can say to them that you are smart and intelligent men and can handle and take care of your lands, and that you need not wait twenty-five years. And, if you make a bargain, we will recommend that, and you can get up a petition and we will recommend that they shorten the time to five years, so that you will get your lands just like white men get their lands. Now if you will appoint a committee to deal with us we will see if we cannot agree on the price of the land to be paid,and the terms of payment. Then if we cannot agree then no bargain is made. I would be glad if you will select as a committee such men as represent the various interests of yourself and of your people. Then, the bargain isnot made until it is signed, and everybody that is not satisfied may refuse to sign it. We have to sign for the Government and then every indian has to sign it for himself, and everybody that does not want to sign it can refuse to sign it. I see that Mr.Depot is a pretty smart man, and I would be glad, if it suits the Indians, to have him on that Committee, but it is not for me to say who is to be on that Committee; it is for you to say who it shall be. It will not be for us to say what the price of the lands will be nor how the paymentsshall be made, but it will be for all of us to say, your Committee and us. Then if we agree upon that we put it down, and then if we agree upon that and get it all down, then we sign it to bind the Government. Then it will be explained to every one of you so that all of you will know
what it is, and nobody will be compelled to sign it unless after he understands it, he wants to sign it. I know that you have just as smart men among you as we are. I want you to pick out your best men, and we will come together and see if we cannot make a bargain that is fair to both sides.
Will some of you make a motion that a committee, of any number you wish, four, five or six, or whatever number you please, that a committee be appointed by you; then you will appoint them, elect them, yourselves.
It was here moved and Seconded by Indians that a committe of seven be appointed;
Whereupon R.P.Boise put the Motion which was unanimously carried, and the Council proceeded to elect said Committee of seven members to confer with the Commissioners. Said Committee consisted of the following: who were all duly elected, one at a time, by the unanimous vote of the Council:
Charles Depot, Indians.
George Harney, and
[The following line was crossed out by hand on the original document:]
William Strong was nominated, but was not elected.
Council then adjourned.
Siletz Indian Reservation, Oregon, Oct. 4. 1892 - We hereby Certify that the foregoing pages from 1 to 21 inclusive is a true report of the proceedings of the Council of the Indians on the Siletz Indian reservation with the Commission on the part of the United States, held at the Agency in said reservation on Oct. 17 after full notice to all
Indian settlements in said reservation, and which was very fully attended by the Indians; and we also certify that the foregoing pages (1) to (7) one to seven last hereto attached containing a true record and report of the adjourned meeting of said Council held at the School room of the Agency in said reservation on Oct. 29th 1892, which was very fully attended by the Indians.
Reuben P. Boise
William H. Odell Comm for the U. S.
H. H. Harding.
Oscar B. Brown
Jon M. Williams
by the Indians.