127. Indian Commissioner Leupp on the Burke Act: Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, September 30, 1906
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206 property: Provided, That the Secretary of the Interior may, in his discretion, and he is hereby authorized, whenever he shall be satisfied that any Indian allottee is competent and capable of managing his or her affairs at any time to cause to be issued to such allottee a patent in fee simple, and thereafter all restrictions as to sale, incumbrance, or taxation of said land shall be removed and said land shall not be liable to the satisfaction of any debt contracted prior to the issuing of such patent: Provided further, That until the issuance of fee-simple patents all allottees to whom trust patents shall hereafter be issued shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States: And provided further, That the provisions of this Act shall not extend to any Indians in the Indian Territory.” That hereafter when an allotment of land is made to any Indian, and any such Indian dies before the expiration of the trust period, said allotment shall be cancelled and the land shall revert to the United States, and the Secretary of the Interior shall ascertain the legal heirs of such Indian, and shall cause to be issued to said heirs and in their names, a patent in fee simple for said land, or he may cause the land to be sold as provided by law and issue a patent therefor to the purchaser or purchasers, and pay the net proceeds to the heirs, or their legal representatives, of such deceased Indian. The action of the Secretary of the Interior in determining the legal heirs of any deceased Indian, as provided herein, shall in all respects be conclusive and final. [U.S. Statutes at Large, 34:182–83.] 127. Indian Commissioner Leupp on the Burke Act Extract from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs September 30, 1906 Praise of the Burke Act and arguments in its favor appeared in the annual report of Commissioner Francis E. Leupp in 1906. . . . . The general allotment act of February 8, 1887 (24 Stat. L., 388), better known as the Dawes law, was the crystallization of the resolve of our Government that the tribal relations of the Indian should cease. The power conferred by it to segregate the lands occupied by the Indians and have them taken in severalty has been exercised to as great an extent as conditions have seemed to warrant. By its provisions the lands allotted in severalty were to be held in trust for twenty-five years, and the Indians were to become citizens of the United States and of the several States at the instant of the approval of their allotments. The citizenship provision is in the sixth section of the act; and as many allotments were made under treaties and special acts the terms of this section were so drawn as to include all allotments under any law or treaty. Thus a large number of Indians were made citizens, and a still larger number have since that time been placed theoretically on the same footing with their white neighbors. . . . Like his white neighbor, the Indian is of more than one sort, ranging from good degrees of intelligence, industry, and thrift to the depths of helplessness, ignorance, and vice. Experience has proved that Indians of the former class do better when allowed to run their own business than when the Government tries to run it for them, but that citizenship and the jurisdiction of the local courts are of no advantage to Indians of the latter class, because the community, as a rule, does not interest itself to compel the proper exercise of police or judicial powers in behalf of these poor people. The very cost of resorting to law for the enforcement of a right or the redress of a wrong is in some places prohibitive as far as they are concerned. Such conditions made plain the need of some law which would enable the Indian Of- fice to manage the affairs of the helpless class with undisputed authority, but, on the other hand, to remove from the roll of wards and dependants the large and increasing number of Indians who no longer need any supervision from a bureau in Washington. To this need came a response from Representative Charles H. Burke, of South Dakota, who last winter introduced in the Congress a measure 207 which, with some modification, became law on May 8. . . . The Burke law materially modifies the Dawes law. It...


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