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Collection 2059 - Thomas R. Wessel Indian Claims Commission Research Papers, 1855-1979

Creator: Wessel, Thomas R.

Provenance Note: Photocopies of research reports and records from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Department of the Interior, Indian Division gathered for Docket 279 -D of the Indian Claims Commission were donated by Thomas R. Wessel to Special Collections in 1976 and 1979. The collection was initially reported to the Library of Congress National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections and assigned entry number 79-630.

Historical Note: Dr. Thomas R. Wessel graduated from Iowa State University in History and earned his Master's and PhD degrees at the University of Maryland. He was professor of History and head of the Department of History and Philosophy at Montana State University before his retirement in the year 2000. He has authored numerous papers on the history of agriculture and American Indians and regularly published reviews for several professional publications. Dr. Wessel was retained as a researcher during the early 1970s to prepare a historical report on the Blackfeet Indian tribe for the Indian Claims Commission. While engaged in this activity he gathered the materials found in this collection.

In 1946, Congress passed the Indian Claims Commission Act as an independent agency to hear and determine claims against the United States by any tribe, band or other group of American Indians residing in the United States. Grievances of an Indian tribe were brought before the three member Commission (later expanded to five members) who were appointed by the president. Decisions were reviewed by the U. S. Court of Claims and the Supreme Court if necessary. Originally created for 10 years, the Commission lasted until 1978 when it was abolished. The U.S. Court of Claims took over pending cases. To establish its case, a tribe presented evidence about tribal history and culture by experts in anthropology, ethnology and history to establish that land claimed was rightfully attributed to that particular tribe. Tribal reservation records were also introduced. If the tribe was determined to have proven its case, the value of the land at the time the land was taken was decided and the U. S. Government paid the tribe compensation.

Content Description Note: Docket 279-D: The Blackfeet Tribe of Indians, Plaintiff vs. The United States of America, Defendant was created on September 25, 1974 when the Blackfeet Tribe claims were severed from the consolidated Dockets 279-C and 250-A and became a stand alone claim. Many of the documents for evidence were carried over from the prior Dockets and are present here. Evidence presented to the Indian Claims Commission for Docket 279 -D came from the records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75 and the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, Record Group 48 from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at Washington DC and the Federal Records Centers (FRCs) at Denver, Colorado, Seattle, Washington and Suitland, Maryland. The documents collected for the "Historical Report on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana" prepared by Thomas R. Wessel are photocopies of annual reports, agency reports by supervisors and special inspectors and reservation agents dealing with the administration of the Blackfeet Tribes and their reservation. Correspondence from residents and other interested parties and inspection reports on agricultural programs, schools, irrigation and cattle are prominent along with the handling of allotments. Also included are copies of the ledger pages recording the Blackfeet Tribe disbursements of funds under treaties, acts and agreements of 1883, 1896, 1907, 1930 and others. A summary of the disbursements by category is also present.

Commissioned reports of other historians and experts in land use including the oil and gas industry are also included in the research. The collection includes reports of the General Accounting Office (GAO)and General Service Administration (GSA). Many of these reports were created for Docket 279-C ( The Blackfeet and Gros Ventre Tribes of Indians, residing upon the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap Reservations in the State of Montana, Plaintiffs vs. The United States of America, Defendant) and Docket 250-A (The Fort Belknap Indian Community sometimes referred to as the Gros Ventre Tribe and Assiniboine Tribe of Fort Belknap Indians vs. The United States of America, Defendant). Many have handwritten margin notes and arguments or points of view. The documents collected for Docket 279-C carried over as necessary to the Blackfeet Docket 279-D. Docket 279-C and 250-A and Docket 279-D photocopies of testimony, exhibits, briefs, finding of facts and other legal papers before the Indian Claims Commission complete the collection.

Contents

Series 1 Collected photocopies of records of Blackfeet from Records Group 75 and 48 from the NARA and FRCs of Denver, Colorado, Seattle, Washington and Suitland, Maryland
Subseries 1 Records of the BIA and Department of Interior at NARA and FRCs, 1899-1974
Subseries 2 Records of the BIA, Blackfeet Agency, Browning MT from NARA and FRC Denver 1874-1942
Series 2 Blackfeet Reservation disbursement records based on treaties, acts and agreements, 1855-1936
Series 3 Papers related to, or contracted for, Dockets 279-C, 250-C, and 279-D
Series 4 Testimony, exhibits and indexes, briefs, and other legal papers

Series 1: Record Groups 75 and 48 of the BIA and Department of Interior

Photocopied files of the records for the Blackfeet from NARA and Federal Records Centers are present in this collection. They were organized chronologically in two groups with the second devoted to the Blackfeet Reservation at Browning, Montana.

Contents | Special Collections

Series 1; Subseries 1: Records of the BIA and Department of Interior at NARA and FRCs, 1899-1974

Photocopied records of the activities of the Federal Government and Blackfeet Tribe from 1899 to 1974 including annual reports, assorted correspondence vouchers, statistical and targeted reports on conditions and activities on the Reservation. Correspondents include the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, various Indian Agents, investigative agents for special problems and residents, white settlers nearby and others. Materials were in proximate chronological order and may have several grouped together when a particular issue is being discussed and resolved.

Box 1
1. 1899
2. 1900
3. 1901
4. 1902
5. 1903
6. 1904
7. 1905

Box 2
1. 1906
2. 1907
3. 1908
4. 1909
5. 1910
6. 1910 (cont)

Box 3
1. 1910 (cont)
2. 1911
3. 1911 (cont)
4. 1912
5. 1912 (cont)

Box 4
1. 1913
2. 1914
3. 1914 (cont)
4. 1915

Box 5
1. 1915 (cont)
2. 1916
3. 1916 (cont)
4. 1917

Box 6
1. 1917 (cont)
2. 1918
3. 1918 (cont)
4. 1919

Box 7
1. 1920
2. 1920 (cont)
3. 1921
4. 1922
5. 1922 (cont)

Box 8
1. 1923
2. 1923 (cont)
3. 1924
4. 1924 (cont)
5. 1925
6. 1925 (cont)

Box 9
1. 1926
2. 1927
3. 1928
4. 1928 (cont)

Box 10
1. 1929
2. 1929 (cont)
3. 1930
4. 1930 (cont)
5. 1931

Box 11
1. 1931 (cont)
2. 1932
3. 1932 (cont)
4. 1933
5. 1933 (cont)

Box 12
1. 1934
2. 1934 (cont)
3. 1935
4. 1935 (cont)
5. 1936
6. 1936 (cont)

Box 13
1. 1937
2. 1937 (cont)
3. 1938
4. 1938 (cont)
5. 1939
6. 1939 (cont)

Box 14
1. 1940
2. 1940 (cont)
3. 1941
4. 1941 (cont)
5. 1942
6. 1942 (cont)

Box 15
1. 1942
2. 1943
3. 1943 (cont)
4. 1944
5. 1944 (cont)
6. 1945

Box 16
1. 1945 (cont)
2. 1946
3. 1946 (cont)
4. 1947
5. 1948 - 1969
6. 1971 - 1974

Contents | Special Collections

Series 1; Subseries 2: Records of the BIA for Blackfeet Agency, Browning MT from NARA and Denver Records Center, 1874-1942

This group of photocopied documents includes reports of the Blackfeet Agents at Browning MT, annual reports plus assorted issues on the reservation related to the schools, rations, housing, stock and agricultural issues, the allotment program, land use, tribal government, medical needs and relationships with white neighbors. Financial reports, billings and statistics are also present. The documents have been chronologically arranged.

Box 17
1. 1861 - 1874
2. 1875
3. 1876
4. 1877
5. 1878
6. 1879
7. 1880
8. 1881
9. 1882

Box 18
1. 1883
2. 1884
3. 1885
4. 1886
5. 1887
6. 1888
7. 1889

Box 19
1. 1890
2. 1890 (cont)
3. 1891
4. 1892
5. 1893
6. 1893 (cont)
7. 1894
8. 1894 (cont)

Box 20
1. 1895
2. 1895 (cont)
3. 1896
4. 1897
5. 1898
6. 1899
7. 1903
8. 1904
9. 1905
10. 1906
11. 1908
12. 1914-16
13. 1919

Box 21
1. 1920-23
2. 1926-28
3. 1930-31
4. 1933
5. 1934
6. 1935
7. 1936

Box 22
1. 1937
2. 1938
3. 1939
4. 1940
5. 1941
6. 1942
7. Misc. materials (not dated or semi-legible)

Contents | Special Collections

Series 2: Blackfeet Reservation disbursement records based on treaties, acts and agreements, 1855-1936

A collection of the copied ledger pages for disbursements of funds by category for the Blackfeet Tribe in accordance with established acts, treaties and agreements with the United States government and photocopy of a summary of all disbursements by category. Included are some items not directly used in Wessel's history for Docket 279-D.

Box 23
1. Treaty of 1855 disbursements
2. Act of April 30,1908 list of categories
3. Summary of disbursements, July 1969, GOA for all treaties, acts and agreements
4. Provisions - 1883,1896,1907
5. Education - 1883, 1896, 1907, 1930
6. Per capita cash payments - 1883, 1896, 1907, 1929, 1936
7. Agricultural aid - 1883, 1896, 1907
8. Clothing - 1883, 1907
9. Survey and alloting - 1907
10. Industrial assistance - 1883
11. Expense of Indian council meetings and delegations - 1883, 1896, 1930
12. Agency buildings and repairs - 1883, 1896, 1907
13. Feed and care of livestock - 1883

Box 24
1. Purchase of livestock
2. Pay and expenses of range riders
3. Indigent Indians - 1883
4. Indigent Indians - 1930
5. Work and stock animals - 1907, 1896
6. Pay of attorneys - 1894, 1924, 1935
7. Purchase of land - 1883
8. Rehabilitation, construction of houses, wells, fences, etc. - 1936
9. Medical expenses - 1883, 1907
10. Miscellaneous agency expenses - 1883
11. Autos, vehicles, maintenance repairs - 1883
12. Household equipment and supplies - 1883, 1896
13. Hardware, glass and oil - 1883, 1896
14. Fuel and light - 1883
15. Expenses, care and sale of timber - 1883
16. Indian dwellings - 1896
17. Pay of farmers, stockmen, laborers - 1883, 1896
18. Pay of clerks, teamsters, stenographers & typists, mechanics, butchers - 1883, 1896
19. Pay of miscellaneous employees - 1883, 1896

Contents | Special Collections

Series 3: Papers related to, or contracted for, Dockets 279-C, 250-C, and 279-D

Copies of reports by independent historians, government agencies, and published treatises on the history and financing of Indians in Montana especially the Blackfeet at the Browning Reservation and the Fort Belknap Reservation and their related communities. Some were contracted by either the plaintiffs (Blackfeet Tribe and Fort Belknap Tribes) and some by the United States Government as defendant. Records of the exploration for oil and gas(including a copy of the Seminole Nation ( of Oklahoma) suit before the Commission), the grazing of cattle and allotments on the reservations were analyzed and interpreted as well as the chronicle of the history of the reservation through official reports and records.

Box 25
1. US General Accounting Office Re: Petition of the Blackfeet, Blood, Piegan and Gros Ventre Nations residing upon the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap Reservations in the State of Montana and... March 28, 1929 (vol 1.)
2. US General Accounting Office Re: Petition of the Blackfeet, Blood, Piegan and Gros Ventre Nations residing upon the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap Reservations in the State of Montana and... March 28, 1929 (vol 2.)
3. US General Accounting Office Re: Petition of the Blackfeet, Blood, Piegan and Gros Ventre Nations residing upon the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap Reservations in the State of Montana and... March 28, 1929 (vol 3.)
4. US General Accounting Office Re: Petition of the Blackfeet, Blood, Piegan and Gros Ventre Nations residing upon the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap Reservations in the State of Montana and... March 28, 1929 (vol 4.)
5. US General Accounting Office Re: Petition of the Blackfeet, Blood, Piegan and Gros Ventre Nations residing upon the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap Reservations in the State of Montana and... March 28, 1929 (vol 5.)
6. Docket No. 204 - A copy of the Seminole Nation ( of Oklahoma) suit before the Commission), June 24, 1966

Box 26
1. Dockets 279-C and 250-A: GSA Report Re: Petitions of July 16, 1969
2. Dockets 279-C and 250-A: Accountants' report on review of GSA and GSO reports and supporting documents, Apr 2, 1971
3. Dockets 279-C and 250-A: Accounting report on Research on Accounting Procedures
4. Dockets 279-C and 250-A: Accounting report on Delivery of goods and supplies 1880-1920
5. Dockets 279-C and 250-A: Accounting report on Property other than Money Ft. Belknap and Blackfeet Reservations Sept 24, 1974
6. Docket 279-C and 279-D: Supplemental general accounting report Dec, 17, 1974
7. Docket 279-C and 279-D: Appendix A-4 to supplemental accounting report Dec 16, 1974 8. Docket 279-D: Oil and Gas : Management of Oil and Gas Resources on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation 1873-1946 by J. H. Ashford, Jr. And K. M. Raymond, August 30, 1975
9. Dockets 279-C, 250-A and 279-D "Economic Changes in Montana Affecting the Blackfeet" Gates, P. W., 1975 ( a draft of following publication )

Box 27
1. Dockets 279-C, 250-A and 279-D "A History of Economic Influences on the Fort Belknap and Blackfeet Indian Reservations" by Dr. P. W. Gates, August 1975
2. Docket 279-D "An historical analysis of the administration of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation by the United States, 1855-1950's" by Michael F. Foley, ca1975
3. Docket 279-D Footnotes for "An historical analysis of the administration of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation by the United States, 1855-1950's"

Contents | Special Collections

Series 4: Testimony, exhibits and indexes, briefs, and other legal papers

Copies of assorted legal documents present at hearings before the Indian Claims Commission for Docket 279-C and Docket 250-A (combined) and Docket 279-D. They include the historians exhibits and digests of those exhibits, exceptions to the U.S. Government's financial and accounting evidence, motions for rehearing and other pertinent documents.

Box 28
1. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Digest of Historian's Exhibits (vol 1) pg 1-165
2. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Digest of Historian's Exhibits (vol 2) pg 166 - 329
3. Docket 279-D - Digest of Historian's Exhibits pg 329A-499
4. Docket 279-D - Digest of Historian's Exhibits pg 500-653 (cont)
5. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Plaintiffs requested findings of fact and brief - Introduction and fiscal findings

Box 29
1. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Plaintiffs requested findings of fact and brief -Footnotes to Plaintiffs requested findings of fact
2. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Petitioners' exceptions to defendant's accounting Jan 26, 1971
3. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Defendant's response to Petitioners' exceptions to defendant's accounting, April 1971
4. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Petitioners' Motion for order for supplemental accounting and for partial summary judgment and memorandum on support thereof, Aug 24, 1971
5. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Memorandum of history of Docket No. 250 submitted in response to the request of the commission made Apr 26, 1971 during the course of trial in the above-mentioned dockets, Oct 14, 1971
6. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Opposition to Plaintiffs' motion for order for supplemental accounting and for partial summary judgment, Nov 1, 1971
7. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Petitioners' reply to defendant's opposition to Petitioners' Motion for order for supplemental accounting and for partial summary judgment, Nov 12, 1971
8. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Petitioner's reply to defendant's Opposition to separate Motion of petitioner Assiniboine Tribe of Ft. Belknap Indians for partial summary judgment and for pleading to conform to the proof, Nov 16, 1971
9. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Defendant's motion for rehearing, Dec 21, 1973
10. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Plaintiffs' response to defendant's motion for rehearing, Jan 14, 1974
11. Dockets 279-C and 250-A Plaintiffs' motion to amend their supplemental exceptions to defendant's accounting reports, Jan 30, 1975
12. Docket 279-D Order severing separate claims of Blackfeet tribe from consolidated dockets, Sep 25, 1974
13. Docket 279-D Plaintiffs's supplemental exceptions to defendant's supplemental accounting reports, Feb 6, 1975
14. Docket 279-D Plaintiff's Exhibit MF-2199 errata, Nov 28, 1975
15. Docket 279-D Plaintiffs requested findings of fact and brief - concerning fiscal matters
16. Docket 279-D Plaintiffs requested finding of fact and brief concerning fiscal matters - footnotes

Box 30
1. Docket 279-D "Historical report on the Blackfeet Reservation in northern Montana " defendant's exhibits files prepared by Thomas Wessel (vol.1)
2. Docket 279-D "Historical report on the Blackfeet Reservation in northern Montana " defendant's exhibits files prepared by Thomas Wessel (vol.2)
3. Docket 279-D "Historical report on the Blackfeet Reservation in northern Montana " defendant's exhibits files prepared by Thomas Wessel (vol.3)

Box 31
1. Docket 279-D "Historical report on the Blackfeet Reservation in northern Montana " defendant's exhibits files prepared by Thomas Wessel (vol.4)
2. Docket 279-D "Historical report on the Blackfeet Reservation in northern Montana " defendant's exhibits files prepared by Thomas Wessel (vol.5)
3. Docket 279-D "Historical report on the Blackfeet Reservation in northern Montana " defendant's exhibits files prepared by Thomas Wessel (vol.6)

Box 32
1. Docket 279-D "Historical report on the Blackfeet Reservation in northern Montana " defendant's exhibits files prepared by Thomas Wessel (vol.7)
2. Defendant's exhibits (loose in file)
3. Docket 279-D Defendants Exhibits - Oil and Gas - OG #1-6
4. Docket 279-D Defendants Exhibits - Oil and Gas - OG #7-26
5. Docket 279-D Defendants Exhibits - Oil and Gas - OG #27-41
6. Docket 279-D Defendants Exhibits - Oil and Gas - OG #42-59

Box 33
1. Docket 279-D Defendants Exhibits - Oil and Gas - OG #60-72
2. Docket 279-D Defendants Exhibits - Oil and Gas - OG# 73-95
3. Docket 279-D Defendants Exhibits - Oil and Gas - OG #96-99
4. Docket 279-D Defendants Exhibits - Oil and Gas - OG #100-126
5. Docket 279-D Plaintiffs requested findings of fact and brief - Oil and Gas Findings
6. Docket 279-D Footnotes to Plaintiffs findings of fact and brief - Oil and Gas Findings

Box 34
1. Docket 279-D Testimony of David A. Bentzin and Maynard E. Robertson, Jr. Dec 8, 1975 (vol V)
2. Docket 279-D Testimony of Maynard E. Robertson, Jr (resumed), Dec 9, 1975 (vol. VI)
3. Docket 279-D Testimony of James Harvey Ashford, Jr and Kenneth Raymond, Jan 7, 1976 (vol. XI)
4. Docket 279-D Testimony of Kenneth Raymond (resumed) Jan 8, 1976 (vol. XII)
5. Docket 279-D Testimony of James Harvey Ashford, Jr., Jan 21, 1976 (vol. XIXa)
6. Docket 279-D Testimony of James Harvey Ashford, Jr. (Resumed) Jan 21, 1976 (XIXb)
7. Docket 279-D Testimony of James Harvey Ashford, Jr. (Resumed) and Kenneth Raymond Jan 22, 1976 (vol. XX)
8. Docket 279-D Testimony of Kenneth Raymond (resumed) and Thomas R. Wessel, Jan 23, 1976 (vol. XXI)

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 5/13/09