A-10549, AUGUST 3, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 86

A-10549: Aug 3, 1925

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APPROPRIATIONS - RELIEF OF INDIGENT INDIANS THERE EXISTS NO RELATION OF GUARDIAN AND WARD BETWEEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND INDIANS WHO HAVE NO PROPERTY HELD IN TRUST BY THE UNITED STATES. HAVE NEVER LIVED ON AN INDIAN RESERVATION. BELONG TO NO TRIBE WITH WHICH THERE IS AN EXISTING TREATY. HAVE ADOPTED THE HABITS OF CIVILIZED LIFE AND BECOME CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES BY VIRTUE OF AN ACT OF CONGRESS. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 18. IS AVAILABLE FOR THE RELIEF AND CARE OF CERTAIN OLD AND INDIGENT INDIANS DESCRIBED IN THE COMMISSIONER'S LETTER AS FOLLOWS: THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF WHITE PINE COUNTY. IT IS STATED THAT THESE INDIANS DO NOT BELONG TO ANY NAMED TRIBE. THEY HAVE NEVER BELONGED TO OR RESIDED UPON A RESERVATION.

A-10549, AUGUST 3, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 86

APPROPRIATIONS - RELIEF OF INDIGENT INDIANS THERE EXISTS NO RELATION OF GUARDIAN AND WARD BETWEEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND INDIANS WHO HAVE NO PROPERTY HELD IN TRUST BY THE UNITED STATES, HAVE NEVER LIVED ON AN INDIAN RESERVATION, BELONG TO NO TRIBE WITH WHICH THERE IS AN EXISTING TREATY, AND HAVE ADOPTED THE HABITS OF CIVILIZED LIFE AND BECOME CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES BY VIRTUE OF AN ACT OF CONGRESS. THE DUTY OF RELIEVING THE INDIGENCY OF SUCH INDIANS DEVOLVES UPON THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES THE SAME AS IN THE CASE OF ANY OTHER INDIGENT CITIZENS OF THE STATE AND COUNTY IN WHICH THEY RESIDE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AUGUST 3, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 18, 1925, FORWARDING COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS DATED JULY 17, 1925, AND REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER EITHER OF TWO APPROPRIATIONS MADE BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1158, 1159, IS AVAILABLE FOR THE RELIEF AND CARE OF CERTAIN OLD AND INDIGENT INDIANS DESCRIBED IN THE COMMISSIONER'S LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF WHITE PINE COUNTY, NEVADA, HAS PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE THE MATTER OF AID FOR TWENTY OLD AND INDIGENT INDIANS UNABLE TO PROVIDE FOR THEMSELVES. IT IS STATED THAT THESE INDIANS DO NOT BELONG TO ANY NAMED TRIBE, BUT APPEAR TO BE A MIXTURE OF SHOSHONE AND PAIUTE, AND THAT, HAVING BEEN RAISED AROUND THE RANCHES OF THE WHITE PEOPLE, THEY HAVE NEVER BELONGED TO OR RESIDED UPON A RESERVATION. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY HAVE THE STATUS OF MANY OTHER INDIANS OF NEVADA AND MAY BE TERMED "SCATTERED NONRESERVATION INDIANS.' THEY HAVE NO PROPERTY HELD IN TRUST FOR THEM BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

THE TWO APPROPRIATIONS MENTIONED IN THE SUBMISSION ARE,"RELIEVING DISTRESS AND PREVENTION, TC., OF DISEASES AMONG INDIANS, 1926," AND "SUPPORT AND CIVILIZATION OF INDIANS, 1926.' THE FIRST OF THESE PROVIDES $700,000 "FOR THE RELIEF AND CARE OF DESTITUTE INDIANS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, AND FOR THE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF TUBERCULOSIS, TRACHOMA, SMALLPOX, AND OTHER CONTAGIOUS AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, INCLUDING TRANSPORTATION OF PATIENTS TO AND FROM HOSPITALS AND SANATORIA.' THE APPROPRIATION "SUPPORT AND CIVILIZATION OF INDIANS, 1926," PROVIDES FOR AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $25,000 "FOR GENERAL SUPPORT AND CIVILIZATION OF INDIANS, INCLUDING PAY OF EMPLOYEES," IN NEVADA.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE DETERMINATION OF THE AVAILABILITY OF EITHER OF THESE TWO FUNDS FOR USE IN RELIEVING THE DISTRESS OF INDIGENT INDIANS THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE MATTER OF GUARDIAN AND WARD RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE INDIANS AND THE MATTER OF STATE RESPONSIBILITY SINCE THE ENACTMENT OF THE ACT OF JUNE 2, 1924, 43 STAT. 253, IN WHICH ALL NONCITIZEN INDIANS BORN WITHIN THE TERRITORIAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES WERE GIVEN CITIZENSHIP IN THE UNITED STATES WITH THE PROVISO THAT "THE GRANTING OF SUCH CITIZENSHIP SHALL NOT IN ANY MANNER IMPAIR OR OTHERWISE AFFECT THE RIGHT OF ANY INDIAN TO TRIBAL OR OTHER PROPERTY.'

IT MAY BE STATED AS A GENERAL RULE THAT THE GRANTING OF CITIZENSHIP TO INDIANS DOES NOT ALTER THE RELATIONSHIP OF GUARDIAN AND WARD BETWEEN SUCH INDIANS AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN A CASE WHERE PROPERTY IS HELD IN TRUST FOR THEM, OR THEY ARE LIVING ON A RESERVATION SET ASIDE FOR THEIR USE, OR ARE MEMBERS OF A TRIBE OR NATION ACCORDED CERTAIN RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES BY TREATY OR BY FEDERAL STATUTES. BUT WHERE THE INDIAN HAS NO PROPERTY HELD IN TRUST, HAS NEVER LIVED ON AN INDIAN RESERVATION,BELONGS TO NO TRIBE WITH WHICH THERE IS AN EXISTING TREATY, HAS ADOPTED THE HABITS OF CIVILIZED LIFE AND HAS BECOME A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES BY VIRTUE OF AN ACT OF CONGRESS, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO RELATION OF GUARDIAN AND WARD EXISTING BETWEEN HIM AND THE GOVERNMENT. UNITED STATES V. SENFERT BROS. CO., 233 FED.REP. 579.

FROM THE FACTS SUBMITTED IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THERE IS ANY OBLIGATION ON THE PART OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO FURNISH RELIEF TO THE INDIANS REFERRED TO, THE DUTY TO CARE FOR THEM DEVOLVING UPON THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES JUST AS IN THE CASE OF ANY OTHER INDIGENT CITIZENS OF THE STATE AND COUNTY IN WHICH THEY RESIDE.

ACCORDINGLY, IT MUST BE HELD THAT UPON THE FACTS APPEARING NEITHER OF THE APPROPRIATIONS REFERRED TO MAY BE USED FOR THE PROPOSED RELIEF.