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Indian Territory Under the Curtis Act and Subsequent Legislation
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Education. Under the Government supervision which has been exercised for three years great improvements have been made in the schools among the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws and the antagonism with which Government oversight was at first received is growing less. Normal schools and examinations have raised the grade of teachers, manual training has been encouraged, school funds have been honestly and fairly disbursed, and better schools have cost less per capita than under the old regime. A few towns have been able to raise funds by taxation to support public schools, but as a rule the 119,000 white children in the Indian Territory are without any chance for schooling.
Mineral leases. Under seventy-one leases approved by the Department coal is being mined in the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, and the royalties collected during the year, at the rate of 8 cents per ton, have amounted to $198,449. There are also ten other companies operating under contracts made directly with the tribes before the passage of the Curtis Act. A small amount of asphalt is also being mined there. Some coal, under temporary permission, is being mined on Cherokee lands.
Town sites are being surveyed and platted in all the nations except the Seminole.
Timber and stone are being taken out by contract from the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek nations.
Seminoles. The roll of the Seminoles has been made, their lands have been appraised, and more than half of the tribe has received allotments.
Agreements. An agreement made with the Creeks relative to the distribution of their lands has been confirmed by that nation. A similar one made with representatives of the Cherokee Nation failed of confirmation by the tribe. An agreement with the Choctaws and Chickasaws is still pending before Congress.
The Commission is completing rolls of the various nations, determining citizenship cases, and classifying and appraising lands.
Chippewa and Munsee in Kansas. The small band of Chippewa and Munsee Indians in Kansas have at last had their funds capitalized and their lands patented or sold, and they are no longer wards of the Government, except such minors as must still wait until they are 21 to receive their share of the funds, which is meantime held for them in the United States Treasury.
Northern Cheyenne. Most of the white settlers on the Tongue River Reservation in Montana have been paid for their improvements and have left the reservation, thus leaving for the Northern Cheyenne much needed agricultural land.
Largely through the persistence of the Indian Rights Association Little Whirl-wind was last July released from the Montana penitentiary. He was sentenced for life, and his brother, Spotted Hawk, to be hanged, as accomplices in the murder of a white sheepherder in 1897, while the self-confessed, real murderer, Stanley, was sentenced to only five years’ imprisonment. On a new trial Spotted Hawk was acquitted, but Little Whirlwind was still held in confinement, notwithstanding that Stanley, just before his death in prison, stated that he alone was concerned in the murder and that he had implicated the other two in order to lighten his own sentence.
Among the Northern Cheyenne a revival of the Messiah craze has been suppressed. Porcupine began with the same methods, which were so successful two years ago, convincing his followers of his own supernatural powers, and assuring them of the speedy resurrection of all Cheyenne, and disappearance of all white men. Arrest and confinement at Fort Keough for four months so modified Porcupine’s theory of inspiration that he was released.
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