Fairbanks, Alaska, July 5th, 1915.  




Held in the library room at Fairbanks, Alaska, on July 5th, 

1915, between the Chiefs and headmen of the bands of Indians 

living along the Tanana River and Delegate James Wickersham, 

Thomas Riggs, Jr., Member Alaskan Engineering Commission, 

and C. W. Richie and H. J. Atwell, Acting Register and Re-

ceiver of the United States Land Office, at Fairbanks, Alaska.  


The following Indians were present at the said council:  


Na-da-tuts, or Chief Joe, of Salchakat, 

Thla-den-no-duch, or Chief John, of Chena, 

Be-yats, or Chief Thomas, of Nenana, 

Do-no-hra-da-da, or Julius Pilot, of Nenana 

Yo-kah, or Chief Charley, or Minto, 

Sits-tsu-dau-tuna, or Chief Alexander, of Tolovana, 

Klewk-doo-aw, or Titus Alexander, of Tolovana, 

Kruz-ah, or Chief Ivan of Crossjacket, 

Yit-su-dad-a-kwot, or Alexander Williams, of Ft Gibbon, 

Sut-nal-nich, or William, of Fort Gibbon, 

Nan-no-juk-thlit-lu-kwah, or Albert, of Ft Gibbon, 

Ba-cha-ta-naw-da-talth, or Jacob Starr, of Ft Gibbon, 

Johnny Folger of Ft Gibbon, and 

Paul Williams, of Fort Gibbon, Interpreter.  


There were also present;  


James Wickersham, Delegate to Congress,  

Thomas Riggs, Jr., Member Alaskan Engineering Commission,  

C. W. Richie and H. J. Atwell, Acting Register and 

Receiver of the United States Land Office, at Fairbanks, 

Guy H. Madara, Episcopal Minister, and 

G. F. Cramer, Special Disbursing Agent, Alaskan Engineering 



Rev Guy H. Madara first addressed those assembled, saying that the 

Chiefs and headmen of the Indians present represented the Indians from 

Salchakat down the Tanana River to Fort Gibbon, probably 1200 to 1500 

Indians. He said these men had come to Fairbanks to discuss some 

matters of interest to their people and that he desired that they be 

given a hearing.  



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Delegate Wickersham then told the Indian Chiefs that Secretary 

of the Interior, Lane, in Washington, had charge of all matters connected 

with Indians and Indian lands in Alaska, that he knew Mr. Lane and that 

the Secretary was a good friend of Indian people and wished to protect 

them in all their rights. He asked the Indians to state fully what they 

wanted the Secretary to know and promised their words should go to 



Some of the Indians then wished to talk and Paul Williams, from 

Fort Gibbon, a fluent speaker in both the Indian and English tongues, 

acted as interpreter at the request of the Indians. 


Chief Ivan, of  Crossjacket, through Paul Williams, Interpreter, 

says: That he is sick and hard of hearing. He was a young man when the 

United States officials or to appeal to the Government for help, and 

that this is the first time he can come to the officials to talk. 


Chief Thomas, of Nenana, through Paul Williams, Interpreter, 

says: Long time since the United States for control of Alaska, but he 

now wishes to consult with the United States officials and that his main 

object in talking is to get better education for the Indians. 


Here Delegate Wickersham arose and asked the Indians, through 

Paul Williams, Interpreter: “What do you want the United States to do 

for the Indians? What do they need the most to make them comfortable in 

their homes?”  


Chief Charley, of Tolvana, through Paul Williams, Interpreter, 

says: That he wants advice from the United States. What can the United 

States do for us? We want many things but what can er get if we want it? 

When we know that we talk. Alaska is our home, we do nor know where our 

people came from, but we are the first people here – the while people 

came after is, and we want the white people to protect and help us.  


Chief Jacob Starr, of Fort Gibbon, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter, said: We came up here today to talk to Delegate Wickersham 

because he talked to Chief Alexander at Tolvana, and we want to under- 

stand what he meant by that talk. What you told Alexander the natives 

did not believe and came here to find out. After we learn that we will 



Chief Alexander, of Tolvana, through Paul Williams, Interpreter, 

said: That he told the Indians what Mr. Wickersham told him, but the 

Indians did not believe him, thought he did not understand. Hopes Mr. 

Wickersham will tell the natives so they will believe Chief Alexander. 


Delegate Wickersham: Oh, Alexander told you the truth. I 

talked to him and told him about the homesteads and reservations just as he 

told you I did. He told you the truth.  



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Delegate Wickersham said to the Indians, through Paul 

Williams, Interpreter, ”I am glad to see the Indian Chiefs here 

from Salchaket, Chena, Nenana, Crossjacket, Tolovana, Fort Gibbon, 

all up and down the river. I have been elected by the people of 

Alaska, to go to Congress in Washington, to represent all the people 

of Alaska, including the Indian people. I can say, as your friend, 

that I want to do everything I can to help you. It is my duty to 

help make laws for the Government of the people of Alaska. Mr. 

Riggs, here, is your friend, too. Mr. Riggs is the Commissioner in 

charge of building the Government Railroad from the Coast to the 

Tanana River. He is a friend of Secretary Lane of the Department of 

the Interior. Secretary Lane has appointed Mr. Riggs 

to have charge of the building of the railroad in Alaska. Mr. Riggs 

and Mr. Lane are friends and Mr. Riggs is your friend. Mr. Richie, 

here, is the Land Agent here is Fairbanks. He knows all about the 

land laws. Mr. Richie was appointed to his office by Mr. Lane, or he 

was appointed under Me. Lane’s general jurisdiction. Mr. Richie is 

your friend and wants to help you. Now we three men know Mr. Lane 

very well. Mr. Lane lived out on the Pacific Coast in the State of 

California and in Washington State. He knows the Indian people and 

knows what they want, and he is a food friend of the Indian people. 

he wants to hear you just as we do.  


“Some time ago I was down at Tolovana and I had a long 

talk with Alexander. I told Alexander that the white people were 

building railroads in this country now. White men are coming out 

and taking up the land; they are staking homesteads, cultivating the 

land, raising potatoes and all kinds of crops. Oh, there are many, 

many white men in the United States, as many as there are trees on 

the hills here, and in a few years many of them are coming to Alaska, 

and they are going to take up land. Mr. Richie and the men employed 

in the Land Office are surveying the land and they are going to 

survey all the good land, they are running lines so that they can 

tell where the good land is, and so they can tell how much 350 acres 

are, on the ground. And the white men coming from the United States 

are going to keep taking up the land until all the good land is 

gone and the Indian people are going to have to move over. The 

white men are going to take all this good land, and when all the good. 

land is gone, the white men are going to keep on taking more land. 

After while the Indian will have no land at all. He cannot live in 

the water and he will have nothing to so, and this is what we want 

to talk about. I told Alexander that Indian men can take land. I 

told Alexander that the Indians were the first people here. I told 

Alexander that the Government did not want to have the Indians pushed 

off; that the Indians are good men -- I notice many of you have a 

cross, that you belong to the white men’s church, -- wear the white 

man’s clothes; that you are learning to talk like white men and are 

sending your children to school the learn, and that you are learning 

the law of the white men.  



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“We want you to have a home, we want your people to take 

land, we want you to take good land, and we do not want you to be 

just pushed aside. We are talking to you so you can understand, and 

we want you to do something before it’s too late. Now, I told 

Alexander that there were two things you can do: First, you can take 

a homestead of 160 acres; you can pick out that land and stake on 

it, and live there forever with your children. You can always have 

your home there. The white man can come looking for land and you can 

tell him to go on, this is your land, he cannot take your land away 

from you.  And you would be just equal to the white man. This is 

one thing you can do. Then I told Alexander that there is another 

thing you can do: You could ask the Government to give you an Indian 

reservation. The President of the United States and Mr. Lane, the 

Secretary of the Interior, can stake a big reservation for all the 

Indians to have together. The President or Mr. Lane could make that 

reservation at Salchaket, or at Nenana, or at Tolovana, or at Kantishna, 

or at Crossjacket, or at Fort Gibbon, anywhere in Alaska where the Indian 

people want it. If the president makes a big reservation, all the 

Indians can liver there. You and your people could build an Indian 

town there. You could have a church, and school and an Indian Agent, an 

official agent of the President who would show you how to plow land 

and raise potatoes and other crops. And I told Alexander to talk with 

the Indian people and tell them these thing and ask them what they 

want to do.  And Alexander did that, and now you people are here to 

talk to us about it. Now, what we want to know is what you Indian 

people want. Do you wish to take homesteads of 160 acres apiece, or 

do you want a big reservation where all the people can come together. 

If you don’t do something the white man will rake all the best land 

for theirs. You can take land just like a white man, and you are just 

as good in the eyes of the law as a white man. You have just the same 

right under the law as a white man to take land. If you do not know the 

law you want to learn it. Now we are trying to tell you the law 

trying to make you understand that you must take land so the white men 

won't get all the best of it, and if you want a homestead of 160 

acres for each one of you and for every Indian man over 21 years of age

you can get it.  Every Indian man in the Tanana Country over 21 years 

of age can take a homestead. You can take up homesteads side by side. 

Now, you ought to do something. You ought to either take homesteads 

or ask the government to make you a big reservation. If you don’t do 

this the white men will get the best of it. Now you can get the best 

of it. When the white men come into the country the land will all be 

taken up quickly, so we want to help you now. If any of you men, or 

any Indian man in the Tanana Valley, wants to take up a homestead, come 

to see Mr. Richie. Mr. Richie is the Land Officer and his office is 

in the Court House here in Fairbanks. He is your friend and wants to 

help you and he will tell you what to do. I will help you and will do 

anything I can to help you, and Mr. Riggs will help you too.   We want 

you men to get your land before it is all gone, that is all.”  



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Rev. Guy H. Madara: “Mr. Wickersham, what you say is all 

true. It has been dome with the Indians Outside and it will be the 

same here. Forced back and back until there is no place to go. I am 

sure that the Indian chiefs have no idea of reservation. They may say 

a great deal about it. There is no use in my saying it. There is one 

objection to the present allotment that I want to speak before they 

start to talk, and that is this: In my opinion, is does not fill the bill. 

It proposes that the Indian leave his tribal relations and live alone. 

I have had several allotments which were staked by the Indians and which 

are now in the process of being given to them. The Indians live along the 

Rivers and when they come to Fairbanks it takes much time and expense. 

They cannot leave and go to town at any time because they must catch 

their fish, hunt, trap and otherwise make their living. Thomas, at Wood 

River, has staked an allotment. There are possibly a dozen more who have 

staked allotments and when the Land Office investigates the claim they 

look to see if a cabin has been built and they look to see if a garden 

has been made, and is they find no permanent improvements they believe 

that the Indians do not occupy it permanently. The Indians 

cannot  do this because they have not the capital necessary to start. I 

think that most of the things I have said will be said by the Indians 

themselves with better grace, so I will wait until they have spoken, and 

then will possibly have more to say. 


Paul Williams: If you gentlemen will kindly allow me to say 

a few words, I have been in the service among the Indians for the last 

fourteen years. I have worked as an Indian interpreter for the last 

fourteen years. And I have has a little knowledge from the civilized 

people, and lately have studied greatly the affairs of our people, and as 

I have listened, so far was very much pleased with the statements made by 

Mr. Madara, for the statements he has just made are what my people wish 

to say also. Now, about this homestead, there is, perhaps, this one 

objection that I think makes it rather impossible. If any Indian wants 

to take up a homestead and live there continually with his family and 

take himself away from his own people, there is only one thing I would 

suggest to you government people. They do not have the money to build a 

cabin on the homestead and they cannot stay there continually for they 

depend for a living upon their fishing, hunting and trapping, and they 

have to travel far to do this. So if they should take up homesteads it 

would be rather impossible to have them live there on it permanently. 

Then, if they should make a big reservation, the Indians would have 

to move from their tribal relations, and not live where they have been 

used to and in the places which are their homes.  


Delegate Wickersham:  Suppose several smaller reservations 

could be made, say one at Salchacket, one at Nenana, one at Tolovana, 

and one at Fort Gibbon, and let them go on the reservations which are 

nearest where they have always lived.  


Paul Williams: That would be about the same. It would take 

them away from the old homes and habits where they have been used to 

living, which is the same therefore as their native towns.  



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Chief Ivan, of Crossjacket, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter, says; "I remember ever since the ground was bought 

from Russia  by the United States government when we used the stone 

axe and the flint match, when I was a small boy. We have never 

had a chance to see  the Government Officials and tell them what we 

wanted. I have heard that the United States Government was supposed 

to be a good government and according to reports that I have heard 

they even protect the dogs in the street. And if the Government 

is able to protect the dogs in the street it should be able to 

look out for us. I am the son of Old Ivan, and when he died long 

years ago, I took his place, and have represented the people ever 

since. I am an old man now and sick, and likely to pass away at any 

time, so it makes no difference to me, but I am a friend of 

people and I want to look out for their interests, and this will be 

the last time I will consult with the Government Officials."  


Paul Williams, Interpreter: "I think it would, be wise, 

as you have suggested, to talk over this thing you suggest, as to 

whether we wait to take up homesteads or weather we want one big 

reservation. I will tell them of this and we will wait until 

afternoon to answer, and decide among ourselves.”  


Delegate Wickersham: I suggest that Mr. Richie explain 

to them how to secure a homestead claim"' 


C. W. Ritchie, said to the Indians, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter; "The homestead allotment law, as approved by Congress, 

gives every Indian who is 2l years of age or the head of a family 

160 acres of non-mineral, unreserved land. In order to secure his 

entry, he should also stake the corners of his land, which should be as 

nearly square as possible. The homestead may be taken up anywhere 

in the rolling lands, or facing up a river, but if it is facing on 

a river like the Yukon there must be a strip of land one quarter mile 

wide between each homestead. After he stakes the land he may come to 

the Land Office with two witnesses. If the Indians and his two 

witnesses will come to the Land Office we will make out all the 

papers necessary which will cost you nothing. We find our where you 

want your land and get the correct description and protect you in 

every way we can. There is no expense attached to anything the 

Government does for you in the Land Office, everything is free. The 

two witnesses you bring should know the same of the land as you know 

yourself. And if you have used or claimed the land for a period. 

of years, the witnesses want to testify to that. The witnesses want 

to know and should know that you are twenty one years of age or the 

head of a family, and that you are an Indian of the District of Alaska 

This is all that the witnesses need know. Then when you come to the 

Land Office a paper the same as this (showing a blank application — 

Form 4-021 G. L. O. series) is made out and filed with the Land Office 

It is then sent to Secretary Lane, your friend, and the land will be 

reserved for all time for your use and for all time fro the family 

that follows after you. The law provides that an allotment or a 

homestead shall be occupied by the Indian. He need not live on it all  



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the time but it should be his home the same as the white man makes 

a homestead  his home. He may go fishing and hunting and visit his 

neighbors and go to potlatches, but he should have this place as his 

own home. It is desirable that is, the Government would like to 

have him cultivate the land of his homestead, but he is not supposed 

to work himself to death doing it.” (Applause).  


Thomas Riggs, Jr., told the Indians, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter:   "Secretary Lane is a, great friend of all the Indians 

and he has charge of all the Indians in Alaska and in the United 

States, and, there are many, many thousands of them. In one of the  

tribes in the United States they made him a chief they thought so 

much of him. And he is trying to help the Indians all the time to 

better their conditions in education and property. Secretary Lane 

cannot make laws or change them but be can interpret the laws to the 

best advantage of the Indian. If the laws are not suited to the Indians 

of Alaska then new laws must be tried to be made although that may be 

impossible, and that is where Judge Wickersham would try to help you. 

The delegate has explained to you the two systems by which Indiana can 

take up property in Alaska, and the Indians can take some action and 

do it very soon, because after the railroad which we are building comes 

into this country, it will be overrun with white people. They will 

kill off your game, your moose, your caribou and your sheep. They 

will run all of them out of the country and they will have so many fish 

wheels on the river that the Indian will not get as many fish, so I 

say the Indian must protect himself by one of the methods which has 

been outlined under existing laws. If you ask Secretary Lane to put 

aside reservations for you he will set aside large bodies of land for 

your use and no white man would be allowed on them and the Indian would. 

hold them for all times. If the Indian, on the other hand, takes up 

his homestead he must for a certain amount of work on it, but nobody 

will be able to take his land from him, but you have got to make up 

your mind what you want to do before Judge Wickersham  or Secretary 

Lane can take any action. And so you must get together and talk this 

matter over and submit to either Secretary Lane or Judge Wickersham, 

just what your opinion is and what you want done. When present con- 

ditions are changed, the Indian’s livelihood will be taken away from 

him by the killing off of the game and fish, but when you have land 

either in reservation or homestead you will have something of value, 

something that you can live on, something on which you can always make 

a living by work, which need not be too hard.” 


Delegate Wickersham, to the Indians, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter:  “Now, we will meet you men here again at 4 o’clock. 

In the meantime you can talk it over among yourselves and tell us just 

what you want to do. I have told Alexander just what you should do, 

and told him that we are all your friends and that we want to help 

you, and not take your lands away, and Alexander can tell you what I 



Paul Williams, Interpreter: "Alexander says that he believes 

all you told him, and he will tell his people.”  



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The meeting adjourned, and at 2 o’clock, the Indian Chiefs 

and Judge Wickersham, Thomas Riggs, Jr., C. W. Richie, Rev. Guy H. 

Madara and G. F. Cramer met at Johnson’s Studio and had a picture 

taken of the group, the Indians dressing in their native clothes.  


At 4 o’clock, the above mentioned men met the Indian Chiefs 

at the Public Library, to talk over the matter further. The Indian 

chiefs gave a dance on the porch of the library, which  

was very much enjoyed.  


The Council was then assembled in the Public Library.  


Delegate Wickersham, to the Indians, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter:  “If these chiefs have talked this matter over and they 

want to say anything tell them to fo ahead and tell us. This young 

man will take it all down just as it is said and then write it all 

out and it will go to Washington. Tell them to be careful what they 

say and say what they mean.”  


Chief Ivan, of Crossjacket through Paul Williams, Inter- 

preter:  : "I wish to state that I remember my conversation this 

morning. I may say some things that I should not say, but you must 

remember and excuse me if I do not make such a break, but you people have 

a mind and have something to depend on, like books, which we do not 

have. We are ignorant, but we try to do the best we can. We don't 

want to go on a reservation but wish to say perfectly free, just as 

we are now, and go about just the same as now, and believe that a 

reservation will not be a benefit to us. We feel as if we always had 

gone as we pleased, and the way they all feel is the same. We don’t 

want to be put on a reservation. Now what we wish you to do is - 

as you are here as Government officials and we know that you are the 

Government’s representatives -- now we wish you to give your word. 

You tell us that you will be our friends, and it is for your people 

to promise us, so that we will have your words in mind when we leave 

Fairbanks. The only news we hear are generally some rumors, which 

we hear from some young one, not from the old middle aged 

because they cannot speak the English language. But these rumors we 

wish you to give us in writing so that we will know ourselves what 

you people are going to do for us."  


(Here some of the natives objected to the public place 

where the talk was being held, so all doors were closed.)  


Chief Ivan, through the interpreter, then continues: “You 

must remember that I am making this statement in the name of the 

natives, all the natives that are in this district here. I am making 

this statement because I consider that all these natives that I 

represent I am sure do not want to be put on a reservation. They 

don't want to have one and therefore I am making this statement for 

the natives I am here to represent,"  



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H. J. Atwell, to Paul Williams, Interpreter: "Can you tell 

us what tribes Chief Ivan represents?" 


Paul Williams, Interpreter: “He represents Crossjacket, Tanana, 

Hot Springs, Kokrines. They have no Chiefs here.''  


Thomas Riggs, Jr.: “Is he the spokesman for all these tribes?” 


Paul Williams, Interpreter: “No, he is the first one to speak, 

but these other chiefs present will talk after he does, in turn.”  


Chief Thomas, of Nenana and Wood River, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter: “I won’t say very much now because there are other people 

to say something too, so I won’t have a composition here now, but, I am 

going to suggest, of course, on one point, and that is that all of us 

Alaska natives and other Indians will agree with us, that we don't want 

to be put on a reservation. That one thing, that you people of the 

Government, Delegate Wickersham, Mr. Riggs, and Mr. Richie, you people 

don't go around enough to learn the way that the Indians earn living, so

we want to talk with you to explain our living to you, for we are anxious 

to show your people. I wish to especially state that when I talk to you 

now, I wish to show you that you are touching my heart and at the same 

time I wish to touch your heart. Of course, we want to feel perfectly 

free when talking to you, and you must understand that anything we say 

if wrong, is meant the right way, and we want to feel that you are going 

to allow us to have just what we are asking for. We have perfect confid- 

ence in you and feel that you will be able to give us that we wish for.''  


Chief Alexander Williams of Fort Gibbon, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter: "This man that makes the speeches has just said what I want 

to say myself, so I don't want to say much more, but I am very thankful 

to you for paying so much attention to us in this manner. When the 

United States purchased Alaska from Russia, we heard that we were in 

somebody’s hands that was to do as good. About the reservation business, 

I feel pretty strong against it myself. When the United States was purchased 

the land this Government left us live by ourselves and did not interfere 

and I hope that the Government  will not do anything to hurt us as we are 

the natives of the country. They left us alone before and we hope they 

will do so now. This will do for the present.”  


Chief William, of Tanana, through Paul Williams, Interpreter, 

said: “Us natives are an ignorant people as to the Legislature that is 

making laws for the natives, but now we feel that we have been awakened 

by you people and that is what we are here for. There are times when we 

cannot reach you people, the Government  of this United States, and there 

is no way we can learn what laws have been make for is and what changes 

have been made regarding the lands of the natives. We ought to be notified 

in writing about these things. True, we cannot read it ourselves, but 

our young folks who are going to school can read it. We want to keep 

posted on such matters and wish that we should be able to be kept posted 

on the many matters going on. We are very glad that we have the oppor-  



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tunity to speak to your people, for we cannot reach your Capitol, but 

we now have the opportunity to speak to you, as you have come here, 

and we know that what we want shall be heard. Then you say to the 

people here that the Government feels like sending the doctor here."  


Delegate Wickersham "Who does he mean by "the doctor”?"  


Paul Williams, Interpreter "A Government doctor to be sent 



Chief Williams, continuing: "We come here of course to get 

help from your people and we expect to get it. We want you to give us 

any advisement you can as to how to deal with this question, and all 

advisements we will take at any time.” 


Chief Jacob Starr, of Tanana, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter "The reason we came up was to find out about these rumors 

we have been hearing, but what we heard was mostly rumor. Coming up 

here at our own expense means a lot to us and we want to find out about 

these rumors, some may he true and some not true, and we come here for 

your advisement. You people must remember that now you are representing 

up here all the Government. For years past we have been wishing to get 

into the Capitol, to have a native represent us, but that we have been 

unable to do. We have had no opportunity to speak for ourselves. We 

know you people can go there and suggest anything you wish, and now we 

are talking just as if Secretary Lane or the President was up here. Do 

it for us and write it down clearly, so we can see what is being done, 

and not have only rumors. We are ignorant of the law. The only law we 

know, and the majority of us abide by it, in the Missionary. We listen 

to our Missionary. By that you can see for yourself we are trying to 

live up to some rulings, and if we could be posted on the laws, and the 

United States will see that we try to live up to them like we do to the 

Missionary’s rulings. You gentlemen must remember that we have been 

trying to go out and learn these things, but we had no way to enable us

to do it. Now we ask you to do your best for us. We come to you people 

and we are appealing to you people.”  


Chief Charley, of Minto, through Paul Williams, Interpreter, 

said: What the people had suggested is my wish so I won’t say much 

about it now. You, Judge, are the elder brother and we native are 

your younger brothers, and we come to you for help. We have no strength 

and we feel that you older brothers are strong and overpower us. You 

are able to handle this, and we expect you to handle it for us. I wish 

you to understand that what all my people have said and I agree with. We 

prefer to have homesteads and we do not want a reservation. Some of us 

have already begun to take up land some time ago, and we want to get 

these claims approved. Missionaries are trying to help us and the 

Missionaries have asked us to keep our places or homes in neatness, and 

we are beginning to keep them so, and in order, and if the white people 

are coming in here like the slush ice to cover all the villages, we 

expect your people to protect us from them."  



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Chief Alexander, of Tolvana, through Paul Williams, Inter- 

preter, said: “ When I saw you down at Tolvana, you remember how much 

I thanked you for being able to see you there. Others have made the 

suggestion and I want you to understand that we all appreciate your 

being present. You told me that you were our people’s friend, and you 

did not like to see us get into any kind of mischief. You stated to 

me that anything we want we shall talk to you about now. Therefore, 

the people now being present, I say that I feel the same way as I felt 

at that time, and I tell you that we are people that are always on the 

go, and I believe that if we was put in one place we would die off like 

rabbits, and I told you also that if you wanted to so anything good 

for us here, you must select somebody for us who was truthful and not 

untruthful. I ask you not to let the white people come near us. Let 

us live our own lives in the customs we know. If we were on government 

ground we could not keep the white people away. One more thing, from 

now on, I wish you would leave written instructions here with us, so 

we may know these things. This is all I want to say at the present 

time. I have more to say about some other things, but not at the present 

present time.”  


Here Chief Joe, of Salchacket, was requested to speak, but 

he could not understand the native language spoken by Paul Williams, 

the Interpreter. He understands Wood River and Nenana dialect, but 

not Tanana. He was interpreted by two different Indians. He said:  


"I am very thankful for being here. This is the first time 

I have been here and not mush acquainted. I never have talked to the 

Government people before. This is the first time in my life I ever had 

the chance. Fortunately, I am able to speak to you on this celebration 

day of the U.S. Government, on what is supposed to be one of the 

biggest holidays in the United States. We people are depressed. Every 

one of us here are just like one man, and I feel as they all do. We 

are suggesting to you just one thing, that we want to be left alone. 

As the whole Continent was made for you, God made Alaska for the Indian 

people, and all we hope is to be able to live here all the time. And 

we wish to ask you to give us written instructions on our matters.”  


Chief John, of Chena, through Paul Williams, Interpreter, 

said: “Quite a while ago we sent for white people. At that time we 

felt that we would be able to have better living. I have heard that 

there is a Government which is ruling us, and I feel that I belong to 

some kind of a Government, but we want to know what this Government 

is. We wish that we could know just what it means. I have been in 

Fairbanks only this one time, and I have never been able to talk to 

any of these Government officials, but today on account of you people, 

who have listened to the talk of the Chiefs, we have been able to 

consult with the Government. For quite a while we have been expecting 

the Government to so something for us. There are times when we feel 

that we should have some assistance from the Government. Of course,  



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some day we may get help from the United States Government, but we do 

not see any written instructions from the Government ourselves. Way 

back in the early days there was no such thing as a Chief, but lately 

there are some, and we feel if the natives must have a chief, then the 

white people surely must have something bigger than a Chief to rule.”  


Julius Pilot, of Nenana, through Paul Williams, Interpreter, 

said: “This certainly is a good day for us to meet here, when all the 

celebration is going on, and we wish you to know that we are pleased 

to be here. We did not see the person who made this world, the man 

who makes the sun shine on this ground. Perhaps this man that we have 

heard so much about is God. We are the people that were put here by 

God, the Person who made the world, so now it is just the same as if 

we were talking to the Creator through the President of the United 

States. Some day, we will expect that something will be accomplished 

by this meeting here today. If it is accomplished, we want one thing, 

and that is that the Chiefs be notified. That means the same as inform- 

ing all the Indians.”  


Titus Alexander, of Tolvana, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter, said: "I have nothing extra to say, but what the people 

here and the Chiefs have said, I agree to. I will be very pleased 

if the people will grant us the suggestions these chiefs have made, 

and will feel that you people have accomplished, what the natives have 

asked for in the name of God.   I have been wishing to know who these 

gentlemen were we were coming here to see, and just as soon as we 

landed here this gentleman welcomed us with very generous words. We all 

feel very pleased to see that you are all just as kind, and wish to 

tell you so.”  


Alexander Williams, of Fort Gibbon, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter, said: “Every one of us had a chance to say something, 

now, we all must thank you for allowing us to make suggestions. I 

wish to thank you for allowing us to be talking all this time, now that 

we are here.”  


Delegate Wickersham: ''It is now up to Paul Williams, the 

Interpreter, to make his own statement.”  


Paul Williams said: "I made my suggestions this morning, 

and I don’t know as I care to say anything more regarding these affairs. 

Judge Wickersham, Mr. Riggs, Mr. Richie and Mr. Atwell, as I said this 

morning, I have had a chance to work among my people, my own people, for 

the past 14 years, and I also stated this morning that I was glad to say 

that I was able to know more about their living than you do, and I always 

feel that at any time I should advise you Government officials or our 

Missionaries, and that my advisements would mean a great deal because of 

the experience I have had with the native people. Therefore, I wish 

you to take this in mine, that about this reservation, I think is a 




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"It is along this line that I will mention. For this one 

reason, Alaska is a cold country and I don’t think it would ever do 

for a reservation. In the states your Government reserves for 

the Indians and gives them a good start. First, the Government pur- 

chase their ground for them and puts it in good condition for raising 

vegetables and making farms and raising cattle. That is different 

from here. Of course, the Government could raise cattle here and grow 

vegetables for the people to live on, but we natives of Alaska are 

different from that. We feel that just as soon as you take us from 

the wild country and put us on reservations that we would soon all die 

off like rabbits, just as the chief has said. We live like the wild 

animals, -- in long times ago out people did not wear cotton clothes 

and clothes like the white men wear, but we wore skins make from the 

caribou. We lived on fish, the wild game, moose and caribou, and ate 

blueberries and roots. That is what we are made to live on, -- not 

vegetables, cattle, and things like the white people eat. As soon as 

we are made to leave our customs and wild life, we will all get sick 

and soon die. We have moved into cabins. There is no such thing now 

as the underground living, and as soon as we have done this the natives 

begin to catch cold. You used to never hear anything of consumption 

or tuberculosis . The majority of people say that whiskey brings 

tuberculosis to the Indians, but this is not true. It its because we 

have changed our mode of living, and are trying to live like the white 

men do. I feel that the natives are entitled to their own land, and 

should not be put on a reservation. If the homestead is allowed, I 

think that the natives should be permitted to take up their own home- 

steads, but I think these people have told you just what they want. 

There is one more subject that I want to talk on which I will hold until 

you people answer what we have to say. There is on here we have not 

heard from. Our missionary, Mr. Madera, may suggest something.”  


Reverend Guy H. Madera, Missionary, said: "I cannot say much 

more than I said this morning. The question is a hard one to settle. 

We don’t want a reservation, but will be glad to have allotments. In a 

very few isolated cases we can take up allotments. The majority of the 

Indians cannot do this. There is in the Indian life one very sweet 

feature -- that is, their mutual helpfulness. There is no such thing 

in an Indian village as one person having plenty and other being hungry. 

If one person has luck and gets a black fox and sells it, he has plenty 

of grub. He stores it in a tent or cabin and everybody goes in and eats. 

If one man kills a moose, this moose belongs to the whole village. That 

is what we call community life. It would be too bad if that were taken 

away, which it certainly would be if they had to all live on separate 

allotments. The reservation would result in the Indian soon perishing 

for they could not live in one place. Today the Indians are self- 

supporting and independent. They do not bother anybody to give them 

grub. They do not ask the Government for anything. They keep the law, 

unless they are given whiskey. They are wards of the Government, and 

this is the same as children of the Government. They have many traits 

that I would like to see perpetuated. Between the reservation and the 

allotments, Delegate Wickersham prefers the reservation. The Tanana  



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River runs all the way down this valley and about 35 miles on each side

are the foothills of the Alaskan Range and about 40 miles on the other

side of the Tanana Hills. All that country is hunted by the Indians.

To give them a reservation big enough for them to live on like they do

at present, would mean several hundred miles and I don’t think the Gov-

ernment can afford to give them that much ground. A smaller reservation

would help them, if there could also be a hunting reservation made,

extending to the foot hills. This would help then and not interfere

with development. I think it best to set off a large tract of land

where only Indians could hunt and trap.” 


Chief Alexander, of Tanana, through Paul Williams, Interpreter, 

said: “I am very thankful to Mr. Madara for giving an address like that.” 


Delegate Wickersham: "Mr. Riggs, do you want to make some more

observations for their benefit?" 


Thomas Riggs, Jr., to the Indians, through Paul Williams, 

Interpreter, “As for as I can make out, from what the chiefs have said

the Indians want certain things, and I want to know if I have understood

it rightly. They want to keep their present villages free from encroach-

ment by the white man.   They want freedom to come and go as they want to,

fishing and hunting, and if they take up their allotments, they don’t want

to have to live on them perhaps all the time that the law demands, but if

they do take up allotments they will built cabins and call them their homes.

Is that the opinion of the assembled chiefs?” 


Unanimous answers from the Indians: “Yes”. 


Paul Williams, Interpreter: “I think, gentlemen, that as far

as these natives taking up homesteads, they want to do this at present,

but they also want to maintain their villages. Would it make any

difference to the natives if they did take up allotments – could they

still hold their villages?” 


Thomas Riggs, Jr.: “I think that is a question for Mr. Richie

of the Land Office to answer”. 


Paul Williams, Interpreter: "At present they have their

native villages. What we want to know is if we are entitled to take up

homesteads, could we still maintain our villages and take up homesteads

at the same time?” 


C. W. Richie: “As the law is at present, a native does not

have to take up an allotment, that is simply a privilege the Government

gives him if he wishes to take a certain piece of ground, it will be held

to him and from all white men. If he wishes to live in a village or

if he wishes to live on his homestead he can do so. He does not have

to take his allotment, it is simply an offer the Government  makes. The

law also provides, and Mr. Atwell and myself and all Government men in

our service, are instructed to see that the Indian villages are not

encroached upon. Any village or homestead cannot be encroached upon

by the white man." 



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Thomas Riggs, Jr.: “Can an Indian live in his village and

have an allotment at the same time?” 


C. W. Rickie: "This has not been decided by the Department.

If an Indian has an old fishing site he cannot live in his village

all the time and still keep his fishing site. The allotment proposi-

tion implies use and occupy in order to hold it, and you must use

and occupy it. If you do not, you cannot hold it.” 


Delegate Wickersham: "I want to talk to them about reserva-

tions. The Chiefs say they want to hold their village sites. Under

the law the Secretary of the Interior or the President can mark out

a big tract of land around one of their village sites, maybe ten miles

square, or may be a hundred miles square, or one mile square. Any amount

that the Secretary of the Interior of the President thinks is necessary

for their use. If he did that, there would be a reservation, but they

would continue in that case to live in their own homes and villages.

Of course, the President may make a large reservation and ask all of 

them to move to one place, but I do not think he would do that now

that you have all expressed opposition to it. The Secretary of the

Interior would want to do the best thing for them, and he might think

it was necessary to mark out a reservation, one or more of them. If

he did that he would make all reservation at Tolvana, say, two miles

square, that would be around Chief Alexander’s house, and Chief 

Alexander and his people would continue to live there. They would be

just as free as they are now. They could go fishing whenever they

pleased and could go hunting whenever they pleased. They could go south

and hunt and they could go up the Tolvana and they could go to Fairbanks

and they could go anywhere they pleased. A reservation is not a prison.

A reservation is more for the purpose of helping the Indians. It is

made to help them, and if a reservation is made at any place, the

Government would appoint an agent there to help the Indians. They

would start a school for the children and would build a church, and the

Indians would be just as free as they are now. I want to say again

that a reservation is not a prison.. A reservation would not be made 

for the purposes of limiting the people, but to help them. On the other

hand, the people can take up homesteads and go fishing from their

homesteads, and they may go to the Kantishna or up the Tolvana, just

as they do now. A homestead is not a prison either. Both the home-

stead and the reservation would be simply a piece of land set aside by

the Government for their use. The only difference is that in the case

of a homestead, each man has his piece of land, but if it is a reserva-

tion they all have an interest in it. But after a while the Government 

might survey the reservation and deed each one of them a part. Now, I

lived, long ago, down at Puyallup. For twenty years there was an

Indian reservation there, and the Indians were my friends and I was their

attorney. I helped them many times. They had a big reservation there.

A great many of them lived on this reservation, and a great many of them

had homesteads on this reservation. Some time ago the Government surveyed 



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the reservation and gave each one of them 160 acres of land, some 80

and some 160. The Government had a big school there, and churches.

These Indians were perfectly happy and perfectly free, and went hunting.

They were good people and now they own their reservation. Some of

the land has been sold. I don’t agree with the people here. They

think that a reservation is a bad thing. I think that a reservation is

excellent and the best thing that can be done for the Indians, but we

want you people here to say what you want, and we take it down in this

book and we are going to have it all written out and send it to the

President and to the Secretary of the Interior, and when they consider

about you they will read that and will understand what you people say.

Now, I cannot make a reservation, I cannot give you a homestead. These

other gentlemen cannot make a reservation, or give you a homestead.

None of us can make you do anything. Nobody can force you to do any-

thing but the President of the United States, and the President of the 

United States can make you move on. Now, we are going to tell him just

what you are saying, and we don’t know what he will do. We are going to

try and get him to help you. I am going to be your representative in

Congress for two years, and I will help to make laws, but we don’t have

to make laws about reservations and homesteads. But I am going to live

here for many years and I want you men to know that I am your friend and 

if I can be of any service to you I am going to do it, and don't you

believe that the Government wants to do anything to hurt you. The

President and the Secretary want to try to help you.  They want you to

have homesteads. They want you to have homesteads where they can keep

bad people away from you. If it is on a homestead or a reservation,

they will keep the white people away, and they will protect you

help you in either place, but all this talk today I hope you will take to

your hearts, because Mr. Riggs here is going to build a railroad and

these gentlemen are going to continue to survey these lands, and when

Mr. Riggs’ railroad is built, the white people are going to come in here

in great numbers and push, and push until the Indians are clear off the

best land and you people must do something. If you don’t you won't

have any homesteads, for the white people will get all the best lands.

This is what I want you to see. And you must not put it off too long.

You must not put it off until it is too late. Of course, there will

be plenty of land in this country one hundred years from now, but it

will not be the best hunting and fishing grounds. All the land on the

river will be gone. Then where will you live? The white man know

just as much about taking good land as you do and he is going down to

the Land Office and take this land, so we want you people to beat him

there and get your homesteads. The Government will protect you either

on a homestead or on a reservation. Let me tell you again, I want you

to do something and do it soon. The white man has already been taking

the best places. You have got to do something soon or there won’t be

anything left. You don’t want to be left out. What I am trying to do

is to make these Indian Chiefs see that there is going to be a change

and I want them to get homesteads before they are too late.”  <![endif]>


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Chief Ivan, of Crossjacket, through Paul Williams, Inter-  

preter: "I have misunderstood you and would like to say something

now. I have a village of about 12 cabins, 14 or 15 families there

A very important place for the natives. It is where the road goes

onto the Kantishna, into Fort Gibbon and up to Fairbanks. We live

there during the winter and during the summer and in the woods hunting

and and fishing. Now, what I wish to know is what should we do to hold

that ground?” 


Delegate Wickersham, through Paul Williams, Interpreter:  

"'Well, that would depend upon how good this place is. If you wanted

to you could have a large reservation taking in your village and the

country around it. Under the law, the white man when he takes a home-

stead must live on it as his home. He must live on it under the white

man’s law. Where you have your 12 cabins owned by Indians no white man

has a right to go into those cabins. No white man has the right to live

on that ground. That ground and the cabins and everything around them

belong to the Indians, and if a white man goes there and the Indians

will come up here and tell the Land Office men they will see that the

white man is put off the land. There is nothing about a reservation to

be scared of. A reservation is a good thing for the people, for all

your people and all your families. I think it would be a good thing to

make a reservation five miles square and keep the white men off. Long

time ago, there was some of your people and they want over on the head-

waters of the Fraser. They kept on traveling for away, on and on, and on,

till they got to Mexico. They talk the same language you do. They are

descendants of the same people as you are. They are three thousand

miles away but they talk your language just the same, and all these

people are your people. They have horses and cattle and sheep and farms

and all kinds of implements to work with. There are reservations of

your people in Oregon. They live on reservations all through the

country. It is a mistake to be afraid of reservations. Your villages

are reservations now, and the Government will make them for you and

villages and protect them from the white man. And if you want homesteads

and schools and churches, the Government will make them for you and

protect them. They are your friends and are trying to help you and not

to hurt you." 


H. J. Antwell, through Paul Williams, Interpreter, said to the 

Indians: “Two years ago there were reservations five miles square

proposed around certain villages on the lower Yukon, that is, below the

mouth of the Tanana. The recommendation was that the Indian be kept on

the reservation and the white man be kept from coming there. The recom-

mendation was sent up here to us to make a report on, as to whether it

would be good or bad for the Indians. We reported that such a reservation

would be bad for the Indians. We reported that the Indians were used to

roaming over the country, hunting and fishing everywhere and that they

would go a long way up and down the river to do this. The proposed res-

ervations have not been made. 


After a vote of thanks from the Indians for allowing them to

express their wishes to the officials of the Government, and with the

statement that they knew everybody was tired, the meeting was closed and 



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the Indians were advised by Delegate Wickersham to talk the matter

over thoroughly among themselves and let him know just what they wanted. 


On July 6th, at 4:00 o'clock P. M., at the Public Library,

in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Council reassembles, the same persons being



Paul Williams, Interpreter: "Well, I guess we are through

with this reservation business. We have decided about that". 


Delegate Wickersham: “You don’t want a reservation?”  


Paul Williams: “We don’t want a reservation.” 


Delegate Wickersham: “How would you like a withdrawal of

the land around your villages for the use of your Indians?” 


Paul Williams: “What do you mean, a line around the villages?"


Delegate Wickersham: “No, a withdrawal of the land several

square miles around the villages for the exclusive use of the Indians?” 


Paul Williams: "Couldn’t they do that themselves by allotments?” 


Delegate Wickersham: “They could take homesteads.” 


Paul Williams: “Yes, they could take homesteads, and another

thing I am going to ask: If the natives take up homesteads or allotments

do they have to have a quarter of a mile strip around their ground between

the homesteads or can they have homesteads right close up to each other?” 


C. W. Richie: "Only where the land is near a river, like the 

Yukon or Tanana, a river that is traveled by boats and launches, they

have to take strips between the homesteads; where the allotments are

taken up back from the river they can be up close against each other with

no space between the allotments.” 


Paul Williams: "Then, if we had these homesteads where the

town is, could we claim that if somebody had it for a homestead, one

chief’s homestead, like one big family and all live there like we do

now? Could we hold it that way?"


C. W. Richie:  "No. The patent would issue to the man or

chief who took up the homestead and it would belong to him.” 


Paul Williams: “Then in such a place as Crossjacket, where

we have claims for two miles square which haven’t been recorded there.

We could take as a homestead in the name of Chief Ivan Henry –

suppose Chief Ivan takes that as a homestead, couldn’t the natives come

back and use that village just as they do now?” 


C. W. Richie: "They could if Chief Ivan Henry would let them,

and if he agreed to it, yes, but the Government would finally issue

title of the homestead to Chief Ivan alone, and he would then be

the owner of the ground, but if he wished the other natives to come there 



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they could come, but the chief's homestead couldn’t be two miles

square, it could only bee 160 acres, or half a mile square.” 


Paul Williams: “But right back of Chief Ivan couldn’t

somebody else take up a homestead, and on each side of him. enough

to cover the two miles square?'' 


C. W. Richie: Where the village is on the river those home-

steads would have to have a quarter of a mile strips between them.

That would cut the two miles of shoreline into four claims with strips

between the homesteads. 


Paul Williams: "And these strips between, some white man 

could come in there are start a store or something on those strips?” 


C. W. Richie: “The strips between the homestead are

reserved by the Government. Nobody could take the strips that are



Paul Williams: "This place the, Crossjacket, -- I am refer-   

ring to Crossjacket, because it is held by natives alone and the white 

people have been trying to get in there for so long – if we threw it

open for homesteads, and took up the two miles square in homesteads,

cut up by the strips between, won’t the white people get in there, on

those strips, and start a store, and live on the quarter mile strips?” 


C. W. Richie: “Nobody could live on the quarter mile strips.

The Government reserves these strips. And even now no white man can

take the Indian villages. They are now reserved and are safe. Nobody

can take the Indian villages away from you. But this protection is

only for just what the villages cover, and what is actually needed for

the villages. It doesn’t give the Indian any right to the timber that

he will need for his firewood in the years to come, or any hunting

ground, but the villages themselves nobody can encroach upon. 


Paul Williams:    “That is what I wanted to find out. I am

especially referring to Crossjacket because it has been marked for two

or three years and has always been held by the natives and the white

people kept out.” 


Delegate Wickersham: “Who marked it – you say that it has been 



Paul Williams: "The natives themselves marked it, but it has

never been recorded, but the village has been there from generation

to generation.” 


Delegate Wickersham: "Well, for further advice on this you

can always see Mr. Richie, and I think it is best that you consult

with him about this.” 


C. W. Richie: "Paul, you can tell your people that at any time

they want to know anything about taking up the homesteads or allotments, 



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or any time they want advice about their land matters, if they will

come to me, I will be very glad to tell them what they want to know

and to advise them the very best that I can." 


Paul Williams: "Then, you people will understand that we

natives have decided to keep off the reservation, and do not wish to

go on a reservation at all. But our next suggestion, that we wanted

and of course which we shall wish the Delegate  to bring up for us and

see what he can do for us about it, after we have discussed the matter

among ourselves we have decided that we are going to ask the Government 

to see what it could do for us. It has been so long ago now since

the Mission came, in fact the Missionaries have been with us longer

than this Government has, and they have always done all they could for

the natives, but somehow or other they have always been pretty short

on workers or on money so that they couldn’t very well accomplish what

the natives have needed on account of being so short of funds or of

workers; so now, we have decided that we all wish to ask the Government 

if they couldn't get us some industrial schools. If they wish to help

the Indians, the natives, that is the best thing the Government could

do for us, and I think it is about time for the Government to look

after us. So I think the best thing we can ask for is an industrial



Delegate Wickersham: ''You want to learn trades?" 


Paul Williams: "Yes. As you told the Chiefs here yesterday,

you said this country would be all crowded with people coming in and

of course, I  know that is going to happen too, in my own knowledge, and

the game will be short, the fishing will be short, the fur will be

short, and everything will be short that the natives are using now, and

in time it is going to take money for the natives to live, and we all

realize that, so I think it is time for the Government to give assistance

to the Indians, either by themselves, or through the Missionaries who

have been with us so long but cannot do so much for us because they are

short of funds and workers. So far as we know the Government has done 

nothing toward assisting the natives’ education. Of course, the Bureau 

of Education has got schools here and there, but they are public schools

and the natives practically live from hand to mouth and are out rustling

for their living mostly. They have villages, of course, but they only

live there for a week or to weeks and then go on a fishing or hunting

trip, and take the children with then, and so they cannot go to these

schools the Bureau of Education has established and live with their people." 


Delegate Wickersham: “How are you going to make these native 

children go to school then if the Government builds as industrial school?" 


Paul Williams: "If they put up an industrial school, with a

boarding school or anything, then they can keep the native children there.

That would be different from public schools for the children would stay

there and would not be with the older natives fishing and hinting so much.

Of course, if you think I am bringing up something impossible, it is for

you to say so." 



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Delegate Wickersham: “It isn't impossible. It is quite  

possible. If the Government builds an industrial school here these  

native children could go and learn trades. Paul, do all these  

natives here want such an industrial school?"  


Paul Williams: “They say that is the way they all see it,  

and that they all want it.”  


Rev. Guy H. Madara, Missionary: “Five years ago, the Mission  

sent a half breed boy out to educate him, Arthur Wright, who has been  

at North Herman Mission. He came in last summer, and he has the  

ability and enthusiasm necessary to do good work. At the present  

time, the Mission has the logs up at Nenana for an industrial school  

building, which they expect to finish this fall. That is the present  

plan. The great trouble we have found is that the only way to get  

the children in school and keep them there is to take them and board  

them and keep them. With their people, the children do not live in  

one place long enough to go to school, and when they do Indian customs  

are such that the life of the Mission, being orderly, is not in line  

with the life of the native villages, and it is hard for the children  

to come. For instance, I don’t think there is an Indian at the village  

— I don't think there is an Indian in the Tanana Valley — who goes  

to bed three nights in succession at the same time. Now, school  

children have to do that if they are going to get any good out of  

school. Some of these men have children at Nenana, now, others have  

not. But there are some present, who will send their children this  

fall to begin learning this industrial work. Our capacity, at Nenana,  

is at the most about thirty five or forty children, girls and boys  

together. Unless there be a boarding school, there is no use attempt-  

ing any industrial work. There are a great many more children in this  

section of the country, that want to come to school, that we cannot  

take care of. We want to take care of all we can, but sometimes it is  

quite a strain on our resources to take care of them, and I think it  

might be a good plan to ask the Government to establish a school at  

Tanana, or possibly at Crossjacket, either by aiding the Mission  

financially and letting them so it or by doing it themselves, through  

the Bureau of Education, but without a boarding school in connection,  

there is no use of attempting it. The natives have to follow the  

game and the fish already. He couldn’t stay in one place and live.  

So the only thing to do is to establish a boarding school, probably at  



Upon Paul Williams interpreting to the Indians what Reverend  

Madara said, there was unanimous approval, and Paul Williams said: 

“They say ‘Really, what we wish very much’.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Let me ask you some questions, Mr.  

Madara. What arrangement has been make for doing anything for the  

Indians at Salchaket, by the Mission?”  



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Mr. Madara: "We have at Salchaket two workers. They  

belong to the Episcopal Mission. One is a trained nurse and the other  

one has charge – both ladies. They have day school for the children  

and at present they have two children living in the house with them  

and when the boys are home from hunting they have night school for the  



Delegate Wickersham: “Who build the school building?”  


Mr. Madara: “The Mission”.  


Delegate Wickersham: “What did it cost, approximately?”  


Mr. Madara: "I couldn’t tell you now”.  


Delegate Wickersham: “About how much per annum does it cost  

for the maintenance of the school at Salchaket?”  


Mr. Madara: "It cost us last year in the neighborhood of  

$5500.00, paid for entirely through the Episcopal Mission by money gotten  

from people in the East, with absolutely no help from other sources.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “No National or Territorial aid given it?”  


Mr. Madara: “No.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Where is the next mission?”  


Mr. Madara: “Chena village, fifteen miles from Salchaket.  

We have no workers there at present, although we hope to have one this  



Delegate Wickersham: “What is being done there for the Indians?” 


Mr. Madara: “The only think I am able to do now is to give  

them Sunday services and sometimes occasional services during the week.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Where do you live, Mr. Madara?”  


Mr. Madara: “At Chena, proper. Three miles above the Indian  

village. You understand that my work is the supervision of all the  

whole Tanana Valley Missions.” 


Delegate Wickersham: “What other effort is being made  

by any other persons or churches to help and to educate the Indians?”  


Mr. Madara: “None”.  


Delegate Wickersham: “Below Chena Village, where is the next  



Mr. Madara: “The Nenana Mission”  



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Delegate Wickersham: “That is the point where the  

Government Railroad is supposed to cross the Tanana River, isn’t  



Mr. Madara: “Yes”.  


Delegate Wickersham: “How far from where the railroad  

work will be carried on is your mission established?”  


Mr. Madara: “Adjoining it.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “What have you there?”  


Mr. Madara: “We have a large two story hall, a two story  

hospital, a large school room, and an industrial building in the  

process of erection, a two story cache, stables, outbuildings, and  

also two cabins.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “How many teachers or other employees  

do you have there?”  


Mr. Madara: “Seven.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “By whom are they maintained?”  


Mr. Madara: “The Episcopal church.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “And they fet no assistance from the  

Government or Territory?”  


Mr. Madara: “None.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “What was the expense of maintaining  

this plant last year?”  


Mr. Madara: “Between $11,000.00 and $11,500.00.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Where did you get the money?”  


Mr. Madara: “From voluntary gifts and from grants from the

Board of Missions.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “How many Indians, children and adults,  

are given assistance there, either by way of education or in any  

other ways?”  


Mr. Madara: “In the neighborhood of three hundred.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “And what bands or tribes do they belong  

to, mostly?”  



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Mr. Madara: “Wood River, Nenana, Minto, Tolvana. In  

addition to which we have children from all along the Tanana and the  

Yukon Rivers in the schools conducted there.” 


Delegate Wickersham: “Where is the next place below that  

where you have a mission?”  


Mr. Madara: “There is nothing between there and Tanana.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “What is there at Crossjacket?”  


Mr. Madara: “An Indian village.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “No school or mission of any kind  



Mr. Madara: “No. Crossjacket has been a growing village  

for several years, gradually growing larger through the coming of the  

Indians from Tanana to Crossjacket. It has now reached proportions  

where it is necessary to do something, and it is the intention of the  

Mission to establish a mission there as soon as it can possibly do it.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Where is the next mission?”  


Mr. Madara: “At Tanana. There is a large hospital and it  

is just in process of erection. There are two resident workers there  

 with a resident priest coming in this summer, which will make three.  

At the Indian mission, we have in addition to the hospital, a school  

and a shop.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “What kind of shop?” 


Mr. Madara: “A carpenter shop and a sawmill plant.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “To whom does the sawmill belong?”  


Mr. Madara: “To the mission.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Is there a Government building there?”  


Mr. Madara: “The Government has a public school building  

there, right across from the Mission, which was erected by the Government  

through the Bureau of Education.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “How many children are there at that  

place, either in the Mission schools or at the Government school?”  


Mr. Madara: “Altogether there must be about thirty or forty  

children going to the two schools.”  



[page break]  



Delegate Wickersham: “How long has that Mission been there?”  


Mr. Madara: “Since 1900”.  


Delegate Wickersham, to Paul Williams, Interpreter: “Where  

were your born, Paul?”  


Paul Williams “At Mike Hess Creek, above Rampart.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “How far from Gibbon?”  


Paul Williams: “About a hundred miles.”  


Delegate Wickersham to Mr. Madara: “Has the Bureau of  

Education any school of any kind in the Tanana country?”  


Mr. Madara: “Nothing at all. They built the school building  

at Nenana and for one or two years supported a teacher there, but the  

Mission, about five years ago, took this over from the Government and  

has ever since supported the work there.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Why did the mission take it over rather  

than lat the Bureau of Education maintain it?” 


Mr. Madara: “Largely through friction between the teachers  

and the mission employees.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “And it was turned over so that it would  

be under one head?”  


Mr. Madara: "Yes”.  


Delegate Wickersham: “Are there any more missions in that  



Mr. Madara: “In addition to these there is a mission at  

Tanana crossing which of course will not be affected by anything we  

do here, but which is a part of the work being done by the Church in  

the Tanana Valley.” 


Delegate Wickersham: “How many Indians people are there in  

the valley above Salchaket?”  


Mr. Madara: “There are about 400 who center at Tanana Crossing  

and there are tribes up on the Nebesna and Shushana which I have never  

even seen and know nothing of. It is impossible to carry the mission  

work to them. It is almost impossible to take the work to Tanana  




[page break]



Mr. Riggs: “Is the work between the Bureau of  

Education and the Mission, as a rule, harmonious?”  


Mr. Madara: “I would rather not answer that, because I have  

had no personal experience with the Government school teachers.”  


Delegate Wickersham, to Paul Williams, Interpreter: “Ask  

these Chiefs is they would presser to have the industrial school  

located at Crossjacket or at Tanana, or at Salchaket, or any other  

place on the river.”  


Chief Alexander Williams, of Fort Gibbon, through Paul  

Williams said: “We expect the Government to establish the school  

where is will be the center for the Tanana Valley and the Yukon River  

and the Koyukuk river and down river.”  


Chief Jacob Starr, of Fort Gibbon, through Paul Williams  

Interpreter, says he thinks it is right that it should be in the  



Delegate Wickersham: “They want the school centrally  

located. Now, will they all support the school and send their children  

there if there is one established by the Government?”  


Chief Alexander Williams, of Fort Gibbon, through Paul  

Williams, Interpreter, said that if any of his people objected to  

sending their children to the school when it was established that he  

would make them come.  


Chief Alexander or Tolvana, through Paul Williams, Inter-  

preter, says that he has his child now in care of the Mission school  

 and that you can see for yourself that he is anxious to get his  

children educated and if there is an industrial school put up, he  

will be willing to put his child there, and see that his people send  

their children there.  


Delegate Wickersham: “Ask them, Paul, if there is any one  

of them here who will object to sending their children to school if  

an industrial school is established, either by aiding the Mission or  

by establishing an independent Government school.”  


Paul Williams, Interpreter: “Chief Jacob Starr says he is  

willing, and Chief Alexander, and Chief Thomas says he won’t agree  

because he has got one of his own children now in the Mission at  



Delegate Wickersham: “He wants to send his children to the  

mission school at Nenana?”  


Paul Williams, Interpreter: “He says that as long as the  

school is there so close he would prefer to send the children there.”  



[page break]



Delegate Wickersham: “But they all favor the establishment  

of a centrally located industrial school?”  


Paul Williams, Interpreter: “Yes.”  


Chief Ivan, of Crossjacket, through the interpreter, said:  

“I am willing. I haven’t got a child of my own of course but that  

cuts no figure with me, I am the head of the other natives, and of  

course if a school is established he is going to see it supported.  

I want the school and any time I get any advice from the Government  

or the mission I will see that the children do go to the schools.  

It is for the benefit of my people and I wish it would be established.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Well, do they all feel that way about  



Chief Julius Pilot, of Nenana, through the interpreter, said:  

That he agrees to it. That an industrial school ought to be established  

by the mission or the Government. He says the railroad is coming  

through to Nenana and they don’t know whether they mission ground is  

liable to be taken away by the Government and if so the mission would  

have to remove its buildings and take their schools to some place where  

they could stay and it would be wasting time, and for that reason he  

prefers to see the school some other place.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Paul, how many Indians, men, women and  

children, old and young, are there at Tanana, and from there up to  

Salchaket, altogether?” 


Paul Williams: “I don’t know anything about the people up at  

Salchaket. Mr. Madara would know.”  


Mr. Madara: “Over two hundred Indians.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “How many at Crossjacket?”  


Mr. Madara: “About sixty.”  


Delegate Wickersham to Chief Charley, of Minto, through Paul,  

the interpreter: “Chief Charley, how many Indian people, old, young,  

and middle aged are there at Minto?”  


Chief Charley, through Paul, interpreter, said that he had  

 never taken a census and did not know.  


Delegate Wickersham: “Mr. Madara, how many Indian people are  

there at Salchaket, altogether?”  


Mr. Madara: “About sixty.”  



[page break]



Delegate Wickersham: “How many at Chena?”  


Mr. Madara: “Forty.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “At Minto?”  


Mr. Madara: “The total of Nenana, Minto and Tolcana, is  

about three hundred and fifty.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “How many do you think there are  

altogether, between Salchaket and Tanana, counting bother these places?”  


Mr. Madara: “The population is somewhat floating, but I  

would say about seven hundred to eight hundred, and possible more.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “And about how many are children now  

over twenty years of age – from babies up to twenty one?”  


Mr. Madara: “A rough estimate, well, I think there would  

be about 40%.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Then, Paul, the short of it is that  

the Indians all want an industrial school for the young Indian people  

to be located at some central point and to be controlled either by  

the mission or by the Government, or by both. All of them are in favor  

of that, aren’t they? Tell them if they are to hold up their hands.”  


Unanimous approval, all of them holding up hands.  


Delegate Wickersham: “You tell, the Indian people, Paul,  

that I went to school when I was young and Mr. Riggs went to school  

and got a good education, and Mr. Richie and Mr. Madara and Mr.  

Atwell all want to school, and we all favor school. We can’t estab-  

lish the school you want, but we will do what we can to help you to  

get schools. We will send this paper in which you have all said that  

you want schools to the Secretary of the Interior and ask him to help  

you. The Secretary of the Interior is a good man. He is strongly in  

favor of schools for the Indians, and we are sure that he will do  

something to help them, but we don’t know what.”  


Paul Williams, Interpreter: “They want to talk about some  

labor now. Some labor that they want the Government to allow them  

to do.”  


Chief Alexander Williams says: “Us natives are self-supporting  

people, of course, and in order to support ourselves we have to work  

for a living. Therefore, although we got the land, they wish the  

Government to allow them to work whenever they have anything to do. That  

would be a help to them just as much as the schools would. There are  

quite a few things that they are able to do that other people do.”  



[page break]



Delegate Wickersham: “The Indians want a school and  

they also want a chance to work, is that is?”  


Paul: “They all feel that way. They don’t want to get  

up and talk about it because it takes so long, to I asked them if  

they all felt that way and they all said they did.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “How do you mean that they want to  



Paul: “I might explain that. The army has posts in  

different places. Each telegraph station lets out contracts for  

wood. Each telegraph station lets out contracts for fish each year.  

This would mean quite a bit of money for the natives if they could  

get the contracts, but they never are able to get the contracts.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Why, Paul?”  


Paul: “The white men get the contracts because they can  

read and write and the white man gets it before the Indians know  

that there is a contract to be let.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Can the natives cut the wood as  

cheaply as the white men?”  


Paul: “They could and would if they knew anything about  

them wanting the wood cut.”  

Delegate Wickersham: “Can the natives cut the wood as  

cheaply if they had the chance?”  


Paul: “Yes.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Can the natives put up the fish as  

cheaply and as well as the white men do, if they has the chance?”  


Paul: “The native puts up a better fish then the white men  

do, because that is his native food and he has to put it up the very  

best way he can.  


There are so many white people here, and the natives  

altogether depended on their trapping, hunting and fishing, but the  

game laws are enforced now and they are not supposed to sell meat or  

fish or anything, and so they must have some way to get money, and they  

think it is time to ask for labor. Now on the railroad, they could  

go on the line just as well as the white people with a pick and shovel  

but they never have an opportunity, but even so, I believe that natives  

could do just as well as the white people on the railroad work.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “But if they were given work would they  

stick to it, or would they want to go hunting and fishing?”  



[page break]



Chief Alexander Williams, of Fort Gibbon, through Paul  

Williams, Interpreter, said: “Any time the natives get a job that  

they are able to handle they will handle it. I am an Indian and  

I had a job from the white people for 34 years.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Doing what?”  


Chief Alexander Williams: “Piloting boats.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “On what boats?”  


Chief Alexander Williams: “Mostly all the company boats.  

The A. C. Company, and the N. A. T. T. and the N. N. boats, on the  

Yukon river.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “For how many years?”  


Chief Alexander Williams: “Thirty four.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “”Have any of these other men worked  

as pilots?”  


Paul Williams: “Julius Pilot did.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “For how long?”  


Paul Williams: “Seven years.”  


Paul Williams: “You see when there is any market or any  

demand for meat, the Indian has got meat and the white men for meat,  

the white man’s meat is bought first always, and if the Indian got  

a fish to sell and the white man got a fish to sell, always the white  

man’s fish is bought.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Why?”  


Paul Williams: “I don’t know. The white people patronize  

each other, but are always down on the natives, that is what it is.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Don’t you think, Paul, that the reason  

is because the Indians have never gone to school and don’t understand  



Paul: “Yes, that is why we want the school to learn these  



Chief Alexander Williams, of Fort Gibbon, through Paul  

Williams, Interpreter, said: “If there is an industrial school started  

for the Indians, will you have a doctor there?”  



[page break]



Delegate Wickersham: “Do they need a doctor there?” 


Paul: “Chief Alexander Williams says little as they get 

it they need a doctor just as bad as they need the schools.” 


Delegate Wickersham: “When their people get sick where do  

they go for help?” 


Paul interpreting for Chief Alexander Williams: “Down at

Gibbon there is a Government doctor, the army doctor, and they

depend on him, but other places they go to the mission for medicine

but there are places where there is no mission or Government doctor

and anyway it is only those who have money who can go to the doctor.” 


Delegate Wickersham: “What do they do when they have no  

money and are sick?” 


Paul: "Then they are helpless and can’t do anything.”


Delegate Wickersham: “Are there many who need doctors and  

can’t get them?” 


Paul: “Yes, lots of them.” All the Indians answered that

question promptly in the affirmative. 


Chief Ivan, of Crossjacket, through the interpreter, says:

“I was pretty sick this winter and they took me down to the army

doctor at Fort Gibbon and the doctor said he was to gar gone and there

was no hope for him. But anyway the doctor gave him some medicine

and he paid him $2.50 but the doctor said he couldn’t do anything for

him. He says the medicine froze in the bottle and that it was mostly



Delegate Wickersham: “But he got well.” 


Paul: “No, he never was affected at all by the medicine.

He says this is the last time he will talk now so he is going to talk 

away. He wants you to understand that he thinks it is very simple

for the Government to do anything when it want to, because the Gov-

ernment has a good people and citizens to support it but the chiefs

have people who cannot support them if they want to accomplish anything

so they cannot do these things, but the Government can. So they came

all the way up here at their own expense to show you how anxious they

are to have the Government help them.” 


Paul: “They are very anxious to have three things, school,

a doctor and some labor.” 



[page break]



Thomas Riggs, Jr,: “About the labor on the railroad we will

have to wait and see what we can do. When the railroad starts next

year, if the Indians want to work and will work earnestly and

steadily, I will give them a show, but as a rule the natives have not

been very reliable about working. I landed, once at an Indian village

and it happened that I had about a hundred tons of supplies and the

Indians were sitting around there in the village. I tried to hire

them, paying them big wages to put that stuff in a warehouse, and I

couldn't get any of them to work. That was at Rampart House. So any

Indians that want to work would have to understand that it would have

to be in earnest and that they would have to stay with it. But we

will give them a trial next year, if they want to work. If they will

work good the Indians can got work next year when the railroad con-

struction starts. All we are doing now is surveying.” 


Chief Jacob Starr, of Fort Gibbon, through Paul Williams,

Interpreter, said: “We are not asking for labor for ourselves. We

are asking it for the whole of our people.” 


Paul Williams: “Now all these Indian Chiefs have come all

the way up the river in order to interview you gentlemen here and they will

hope very much that you will be able to accomplish something for them so

that when they go back they will be able to say it paid them to make

the trip to Fairbanks, and so that the people will see that it meant

a great deal to send their chiefs up here.”  


Delegate Wickersham: “Paul, you tell them I say I think it

has done a great deal of good. We have seen them now and know them

and are acquainted with them, and have written down all they said and

will send it to the Secretary of the Interior, and a copy of their

pictures too, so that the Secretary of the Interior will look at their

picture and look into their faces and see what kind of looking men 

they are, and he will read here about what they want, about them wanting

schools and work and that they want to make homes and want to become

like white people and want to learn to talk the white man’s language,

and to work like the white men. The Secretary of the Interior has

charge of all these matters you have brought up. He has charge of the

railroad and of the lands and I think he will feel very friendly to

you. But you tell then, Paul, that it all depends finally upon the

Indians themselves. If they work good they will be employed. If they

work bad they won’t be employed. So it all lies with the Secretary of 

the Interior and the Indians.” 


Paul Williams: “The Indians say that next time you run for

a Delegate you want to be sure and notify us and be sure you accomplish

this before you run again for Delegate.”  


Mr. Madara: “If they ever get to vote there will be enough

of them to settle the delegate question all right.” 



[page break]



in who shall be elected Delegate from Alaska. It sounds good to me.

You tell them that as soon as they have established homes and live

like the white men and assume the habits of civilization, they can

have a vote.” 


Rev. Guy H. Madara: “A suggestion in regard to the doctor.

We have has so many Government officials in this country who don’t

officiate, that I would like to make this statement right at the

start. We have had Government officials here who were supposed to

work, who were supposed to look after the preservation of game and

of fur, and who stayed in Fairbanks. We do not need that kind of a 

doctor. If there could be a doctor appointed to look after the 

health and sanitation among these Indians it would be a great thing, 

but he would have to have an expense account large enough to allow him

to make regular visits up and down along the river, so that he could

go up and down the river and keep on moving at regular intervals from

place to place, and not just have an office in Fairbanks and expect 

the Indians to come, because they can’t so it.” 


Unanimous approval from the Indians. 


After the meeting, the Indians formed in two lives and shook

hands with the white men present, expressing their gratitude at being

allowed to state their case.