A-11689, A-13184, MARCH 2, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 675

A-11689,A-13184: Mar 2, 1926

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ADULT OSAGE INDIANS HOLDING CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY WERE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THEIR FULL PRO RATA SHARE OF INCOME WHETHER OR NOT GUARDIANS HAD BEEN APPOINTED BY THE LOCAL COURTS. SUCH CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY WERE ISSUED UNDER THE AUTHORITY IN THE ACT OF JUNE 28. THERE WAS NO PROVISION OF LAW FOR THE REVOCATION OF SUCH CERTIFICATES. * * * AND SO LONG AS THE INCOME IS SUFFICIENT TO PAY TO THE ADULT MEMBERS OF SAID TRIBE NOT HAVING A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY $1. 000 QUARTERLY EXCEPT WHERE INCOMPETENT ADULT MEMBERS HAVE LEGAL GUARDIANS. THE SECOND ALL ADULTS WHO ARE WITHOUT SUCH CERTIFICATES. AS TO THE FIRST THE DIRECTION IS THAT THE MEMBER BE PAID HIS FULL SHARE OF THE INCOME. WHATEVER IS DUE IS TO BE PAID * * *. * * * THE DIRECTIONS AS A WHOLE SHOW THAT THE PERSONAL CAPACITY OF THE MEMBER IS MADE THE TEST OF WHETHER HIS FULL SHARE OF THE INCOME SHALL BE PAID.

A-11689, A-13184, MARCH 2, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 675

OSAGE INDIANS - PAYMENTS OF ANNUAL INCOME UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1921, 41 STAT. 1250, ADULT OSAGE INDIANS HOLDING CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY WERE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THEIR FULL PRO RATA SHARE OF INCOME WHETHER OR NOT GUARDIANS HAD BEEN APPOINTED BY THE LOCAL COURTS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, MARCH 2, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 17, 1926, REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT OF JANUARY 15, 1926, DISALLOWING IN THE ACCOUNTS OF GEORGE N. WISE, FORMER DISBURSING AGENT OF THE OSAGE INDIAN AGENCY, FOR THE SECOND QUARTER OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1925, CERTAIN PAYMENTS IN EXCESS OF $1,000 QUARTERLY TO GUARDIANS OF ADULT MEMBERS OF THE OSAGE TRIBE WHO HELD CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY. SUCH CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY WERE ISSUED UNDER THE AUTHORITY IN THE ACT OF JUNE 28, 1906, 34 STAT. 542, AND, PRIOR TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 27, 1925, 43 STAT. 1008, THERE WAS NO PROVISION OF LAW FOR THE REVOCATION OF SUCH CERTIFICATES.

ACT OF MARCH 3, 1921, 41 STAT. 1250 (SEC. 4), PROVIDES:

THAT FROM AND AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THIS ACT THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR SHALL CAUSE TO BE PAID AT THE END OF EACH FISCAL QUARTER TO EACH ADULT MEMBER OF THE OSAGE TRIBE HAVING A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY HIS OR HER PRO RATA SHARE, * * * AND SO LONG AS THE INCOME IS SUFFICIENT TO PAY TO THE ADULT MEMBERS OF SAID TRIBE NOT HAVING A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY $1,000 QUARTERLY EXCEPT WHERE INCOMPETENT ADULT MEMBERS HAVE LEGAL GUARDIANS, IN WHICH CASE THE INCOME OF SUCH INCOMPETENTS SHALL BE PAID TO THEIR LEGAL GUARDIANS * * *.

IN ITS DISCUSSION OF THIS ACT THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE DECISION OF WORK V. LYNN, 266 U.S. 161, STATED:

FOR THE PURPOSES OF THESE PAYMENTS THE SECTION ASSIGNS THE MEMBERS TO THREE MAJOR CLASSES. THE FIRST COMPRISES ALL ADULTS HAVING CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY, THE SECOND ALL ADULTS WHO ARE WITHOUT SUCH CERTIFICATES, AND THE THIRD ALL MINORS. THE DIRECTIONS FOR PAYMENT TAKE UP THE CLASSES IN THAT ORDER. AS TO THE FIRST THE DIRECTION IS THAT THE MEMBER BE PAID HIS FULL SHARE OF THE INCOME. WHATEVER IS DUE IS TO BE PAID * * *.

* * * THE DIRECTIONS AS A WHOLE SHOW THAT THE PERSONAL CAPACITY OF THE MEMBER IS MADE THE TEST OF WHETHER HIS FULL SHARE OF THE INCOME SHALL BE PAID, OR ONLY A LIMITED AMOUNT DEEMED SUFFICIENT FOR HIS CURRENT NEEDS. IF HE IS AN ADULT AND HAS A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY SHOWING HE IS FULLY CAPABLE OF MANAGING HIS OWN AFFAIRS, THE FULL SHARE IS TO BE PAID * * *.

THIS LANGUAGE CLEARLY INDICATES THAT THE POSSESSION OF A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY ENTITLED THE ADULT INDIAN TO HIS FULL INCOME. IT IS NOT BELIEVED THAT HIS RIGHT TO THE FULL INCOME IS IN ANY WAY CURTAILED BY THE FACT THAT THE LOCAL COURT HAS APPOINTED A GUARDIAN--- THE FACT STILL REMAINS THAT HE IS AN ADULT INDIAN HOLDING A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY. THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF H.R. 5726, WHICH RESULTED IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 27, 1925, 43 STAT. 1008, ADDS WEIGHT TO THIS CONCLUSION. REPORTING THAT BILL THE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS RECOMMENDED THE INSERTION OF A PARAGRAPH TO THE EFFECT THAT UPON THE APPOINTMENT OF A GUARDIAN BY THE PROPER LOCAL COURT FOR AN INDIAN TO WHOM HAD BEEN ISSUED A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY, THE INDIAN SHOULD BE DEEMED INCOMPETENT AND HIS CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY SHOULD BE REVOKED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. IN LIEU OF SUCH A PROVISION, HOWEVER, THERE WAS INSERTED IN THE ACT AS FINALLY PASSED A PROVISION AUTHORIZING THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR WITH RESPECT TO ANY MEMBER OF THE TRIBE OF MORE THAN ONE-HALF INDIAN BLOOD, TO WHOM A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY HAD BEEN ISSUED, TO REVOKE SUCH CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY AFTER NOTICE AND HEARING IF HE SHALL FIND THAT THE INDIAN IS SQUANDERING OR MISUSING HIS OR HER FUNDS. THE ACTION OF THE SECRETARY IS NOT MADE DEPENDENT UPON ANY ACTION BY A COURT. THE CONGRESS BY THIS ACTION NEGATIVED THE VIEW THAT THE APPOINTMENT BY A COURT OF A GUARDIAN FOR AN INDIAN, TO WHOM HAD BEEN ISSUED A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, DETERMINED THE QUESTION OF THE COMPETENCY OF THE INDIAN. IT APPEARS TO BE BEYOND QUESTION, THEREFORE, THAT THE PURPOSE AND EFFECT OF THE LAW IS THAT THE POSSESSION OF A CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCY BY AN ADULT INDIAN IS THE DETERMINING FACTOR IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF PRO RATA INCOME AND ENTITLES SUCH INDIAN TO HIS FULL PRO RATA SHARE IRRESPECTIVE OF THE FACT THAT A GUARDIAN MIGHT HAVE BEEN APPOINTED BY THE COURT.

THE PAYMENTS FORMING THE BASIS OF THE DISALLOWANCE IN THE PRESENT CASE WERE MADE TO GUARDIANS OF ADULT INDIANS HAVING CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN CANCELED OR REVOKED. THE PAYMENTS WERE ACCORDINGLY LEGAL AND PROPER UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1921, 41 STAT. 1250, AND CREDIT WILL BE ALLOWED THEREFOR IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER.

SINCE THE PAYMENTS IN QUESTION WERE MADE, THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1921, HAS BEEN AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 27, 1925, 43 STAT. 1008. THIS AMENDMENT GREATLY EXTENDS THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IN THE MATTER OF FUTURE PAYMENTS OF ACCUMULATED INCOME, EVEN PERMITTING THE PAYMENT OF THE ENTIRE INCOME TO INDIANS NOT HAVING CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY IF THE INDIAN SHALL SO DESIRE AND THE SECRETARY HAS NOT FOUND SUCH INDIAN TO BE SQUANDERING OR MISUSING HIS INCOME.