Thursday, August 27, 2015
1921: Louis Hill (the railroad tycoon) gets a ten year lease for oil through Agent Wilson. A second competing application was denied. Hill did not drill successfully. Wild cat leases through the tribe granted. Hazlett acting as agent and go-between. Wilson dismissed and convicted of bigamy. (Elsie was right!) Blackft are still starving. Over the winter of 1920-21, two thirds of the people need rations. F.C. Campbell is the new superintendent. He says the reservation is bankrupt and he starts a series of “five year plans.” He goes house-to-house, visitng four-fifths of the people. Half of the full-bloods have no cash and not everyone is cutting wood for winter. He feels they will have to do some small farming to survive and organized them into groups who could share heavy equipment. All this was to be financed by the “Reimbursable Plan” which had lost the people much of their land. James Willard Schultz became critical and headed The Executive Committee for the National Association to Help the Indian. He felt his father-in-law Yellow Wolf was allowed to starve. The Red Cross is present, but their funds are lost in a bank closure. A little flour mill is established in Heart Butte. (Indians think of meat -- white men think of bread.)
1911: McFatridge is the new agent. He, his wife and his son are called “The father, son and Holy Terror.” 9,000 outsiders’ cattle remain and McFatridge asks to throw them off. (Part of the problem these agents have is that they are “remote-controlled” by higher authorities.) His reservation doctors quit, so he ends up treating tuberculosis, trachoma, and VD himself. Rev. R.A. Riggin, the Methodist missionary, is running cattle instead of doing mission work, so he is assessed $1,700 in fees and pays half that. There is constant wrestling with the Conrad Investment Company and the Conrad-Valier Water Company over water rights. The cost of the rez irrigation systems is charged against the assets of the tribe, a million dollar burden. The Indian Office gave Great Northern a right-of-way for a wagon road from Midvale to the Glacier Park entrance as well as timber and gravel. Congress approved the Great Northern to build hotels and take land from townsites for $30 an acre. McFatridge first valued them at $90, but was clued in by the Indian Office and made adjustment downward.
1902: “Great Falls Tribune” headline: “Piegan Indians in Open Revolt.” Monteath threatens to arrest White Calf, whereupon the Indian police all quit and Little Dog comes to the agency office to say that if he dares to do such a thing, Monteath will be bound with ropes and thrown in front of the next train. Blackfeet population is estimated at 2,084 with 50 births and 33 deaths. (This is the first time for a long time that births have exceeded deaths.) Cattle are at 10,000 (with 4,000 calves) and horses at over 22,000. Mike Connelly is one of the Montana stockmen running cows on the rez. The entire focus is on farming and much attention is given to irrigation and water rights. This is a flood year, washing out 75% of the seeds. 64 kids attend the Jesuit school at Holy Family and 57 go to the deplorable Willow Creek School run by the agency. Monteath blames his troubles on half-breeds, especially Joe Kipp, Maggie Wetzel (who married Joe Kipp) and Horace Clarke. He wants them confined to a separate reservation or removed completely.
1894: The Town of Browning is established on the flood plain of Willow Creek, about two miles from the railroad depot. Cooke’s son, who had been acting as a clerk, was terminated by the Indian Office, along with Chief Clerk Garrett. Richard Sanderville had been acting as Assistant Clerk, but now Cooke fired him and gave his job to Cooke’s son. Cooke began a campaign of driving off “half-breeds” and “Squaw men.” Cooke had been busily filing on the “mineral strip” towards Cut Bank, which is expected to yield oil.