Accounting for Indian Funds

In January 1880, Congress held hearings on the Meeker Massacre. William Leeds, Chief Clerk of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (often called the “Indian Bureau,” said in his testimony:

“From 1874, for three years, there was $25,000 a year due them [the Utes] that was not paid. Then when the new Ute Commission went out [to Colorado] in 1878, they paid the Indians something on account, but there is now some sixty and odd thousand dollars due them, or more than that.” Leeds noted that this was a “source of constant grievance, and all the more so because Ouray was paid his $1,000 a year.”

          William Leeds was apparently sympathetic to the plight of Indians he encountered in his job with the Indian Bureau, and perhaps irritated with the way the Bureau handled Indian affairs. Leeds had been an investigator for the Board of Indian Commissioners until his appointment as Chief Clerk in 1877.
          In 1879 Leeds had hosted the visit of Hinmaton Yalakit of the Nez Perce, also known as Chief Joseph, who came to Washington to plead his case. During the chief’s visit, Leeds resigned from the Bureau. That same year, Leeds informed the Indian activist writer Helen Hunt Jackson about government supplies for Indians that were left sitting at Rawlings, Wyoming for over a year. (The Indian Reform Letters of Helen Hunt Jackson, 1879-1885)

Leeds quote from: Testimony in Relation to The Ute Indian Outbreak taken by the Commission on Indian Affairs of the House of Representatives, 46th Congress, 2nd Session, HR, MIS DOC No 38

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Published in: on January 17, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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