A Second Century of Dishonor : Federal Inequities and California Tribes, ch.II
II. Studies that Document Funding Inequities
Affecting California Tribes
The refrain keeps repeating, but no one seems to hear. Anyone reviewing the last century of federal policy toward California Indians will be struck by the conclusions reached over and over in government and private studies: California Indians are not receiving a fair share from federal Indian programs. The convergence of opinion is remarkable, especially since the authors of these studies take pains to document their claims. Agencies operating under both Republican and Democratic administrations, at both the federal and state level, have joined this particular chorus.
In chronological order, here are the salient statements from these reports that document the plight of California Indians and compare federal treatment of California tribes with the treatment of tribal groups elsewhere.
1883:  "Report on the Condition and Needs of the Mission Indians of California, Made by
Special Agents Helen Jackson and Abbot Kinney, to the Commissioner of Affairs." 1
From tract after tract of [their aboriginal] lands they have been driven out, year by year, by the white settlers of the country, until they can retreat no farther....The responsibility for this wrong rests, perhaps, equally divided between the United States Government, which permitted lands thus occupied by peaceful agricultural communities to be put "in market," and the white men....The Government cannot justify this neglect on the plea of ignorance.2
We recommend the establishment of more schools. At least two more are immediately needed....There should always be provided for the Mission Indians' agency a small fund for the purchase of food and clothing for the very old and sick in times of especial destitution....[I]n seasons of drought or when their little crops have, for any cause, failed, there is sometimes great distress in the villages.
1906:  "Report of Special Agent C.E. Kelsey to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs." 3
The responsibility of the National Government for the present condition of the non-reservation Indians of California seems clear. Had the Government given these Indians the same treatment as it did other Indians in the United States, their condition today would be very different....It should be remembered that the Government still owes these people considerable sums of money, morally at least, but the Government owes more than money. No amount of money can repay these Indians for the years of misery, despair, and death which the Governmental policy has inflicted upon them. No reason suggests itself to your special agent why these Indians should not be placed in the same situation as all other Indians in the United States....
1926:  "Transactions of the Commonwealth Club of California."4
The executive has always in fact admitted a much more definite obligation toward Indians whose right to land, assistance and protection, was specifically safeguarded by treaty, than to those unfortunate Indians, like those of California, who have never been able to point to a definite promise on the part of the United States measuring the irreducible minimum of protection to which they were entitled.5
[The Indians of California] are the neediest of their race, and yet they receive, in educational and health services, and in more direct aid, far less per capita than the average throughout the country.6
1937:  "Report of the Secretary of the Interior on Senate Bill 1651 and Senate Bill 1779,
to Amend the California Indian Jurisdictional Act of May 18, 1928."
The total of land now held in trust for California Indians, much of it of poor quality, is approximately 368,000 acres. But there has been no adequate assistance in matters of credit or agricultural organization; and it must be said that an expenditure of not less than $20,000,000 of Federal funds, across 50 years of time, has left the great majority of the California Indians in a state of acute poverty.
1944:  "The Status of the Indian in California Today, A Report by John G. Rockwell,
Superintendent of the Sacramento Agency to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs."
With little land, with no other resources, with not even adequate credit facilities available, the thought is inescapable that the restrictive control exercised by the Federal Government over these Indians is a handicap rather than an assistance....We need to take stock of ourselves and recognize how woefully inadequate our Welfare Service is. 7
1969:  "Final Report to the Governor and the Legislature by the State Advisory Commission
on Indian Affairs."
[We recommend that] California Indians be declared eligible to participate in all federally funded programs for Indians on the same basis as Indians in other states (SJR 32). 8
Senate Joint Resolution No. 32, California Legislature, August 21, 1969:
Whereas, The Indians of California are virtually excluded from participation in various federal programs and services that are available to other Indians of the United States; ... therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and Assembly of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature of the State of California respectfully memorializes the President and the Congress of the United States to establish a policy that insures that California Indians are included to the fullest extent in various federal programs and services that are available to other Indians of the United States.
1969:  "Report of United States Senate Special Subcommittee on Indian Education
of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare."
While the Federal Government has been devising new programs to assist the Indian and while Congressional expenditures for Indian education have increased significantly since World War II, these benefits have not accrued to California Indians. The withdrawal in the late 1940's and early 1950's of the already minimal Federal assistance which California Indians then received has been well documented....Although the Federal program [for Indian health care] in California was never large, even that was phased out by the Public Health Service [after it assumed responsibility in 1955]....The Federal government discontinued its minimal welfare assistance to California Indians in 1952....
1972:  "Statement of Senator John Tunney before the United States Senate:
Discrimination against California Indians." 9
In conclusion,...California is not now receiving a fair share of BIA and IHS funds and all California Indians are morally and legally entitled to participate on an equal basis in BIA and IHS programs in the fields of education, health, housing, and economic development.
1973:  "Indian Eligibility for Bureau Services -- A Look at Tribal Recognition and Individual Rights
to Services." 10
[H]istorically, California Indians have received much less consideration than Indians of other states....The 1973 BIA budget allocated $5,117,000 to spend for California Indians. To bring the allocated funds in accordance with the true eligible service population, the federal government should appropriate approximately $11,172,000....
1976:  "Study by the Department of Housing and Community Development, State of California."
Examination of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Budget data since 1969 reveals that California has not been receiving its fair share of BIA allocations based on its service population or on its needs and that action is required to rectify the present inequitable funding levels.
California Indians who comprise almost 7% of the BIA's service population have received only 1 - 2% of the Bureau's total budget since 1969....[L]ong term underfunding of the Bureau's Sacramento Area Office (encompassing the State of California) has caused economic hardship for the Indians of California.
1977:  "A Report to the Commissioner of the B.I.A. Regarding Funding of Bureau Programs
in the Sacramento Area." 11
[A chart for FY 1975] shows the percentage of the total [B.I.A.] allotment for each area, i.e. Sacramento received 1.32% of the total funds available with a population of 36,255 or 6.68% of the population. Based on population, Sacramento has a low $309.97 of the total allotments made for Fiscal Year 1975....Minneapolis's net allotment is $859 per person....[T]he average for Billings is $970 [per person]....[T]he average for Portland is $1,576 per person.... 12
1984:  "Report of the California Indian Task Force." 13
Administratively, the Sacramento Area in Fiscal Year 1984 had an assigned budget ... representing 1.7 percent of the overall Bureau budget and approximately 173 positions (FTE) compared to a Bureau-wide total of $14,690 or 1.2 percent.
[For California Indians] there are large areas of unmet needs in terms of housing, educational levels and in nearly all areas of Bureau programs that are normally provided elsewhere....
In summary, funding levels determining the base allocation for the Sacramento Area are based upon incorrect numbers. Few programs, availability of some State programs and a service concept based upon trust property management and individual service has kept funding levels low. Moreover, because of the long period involved in termination matters here in the State of California, general programs to meet the needs of the Indians of California, whether they be members of tribal or other groups or not, have been inadequate. 14
1989:  "Bureau of Indian Affairs, Resource Allocation Effectiveness Study."
[After working through formulas for allocating Bureau funds on the basis of population, land base, and other criteria:] Sacramento does well for all weight sets....[Using the recommended formula, Sacramento Area is among the Areas that are "winners" in the sense that they would receive additional funds.]
- Reprinted as Appendix XV in Helen Hunt Jackson, "A Century of Dishonor" (1885).
- Id.at 459.
- This report was commissioned by act of the U.S. Congress. 33 Stat. 1058 (1905).
- "Indians in California," in "Transactions of the Commonwealth Club of California", Vol. XXI, No. 3, June 8, 1926.
- Id. at 106.
- C. Goodrich, "The Legal Status of the California Indian," 14 "California Law Review" 83, 97 (1926). Chauncey Goodrich was a member of the Indian Section of the Commonwealth Club and conducted his research for this article under the auspices of the club. Goodrich relied on Indian Bureau figures in official reports to calculate that annual expenditures for fiscal year 1923-24 were $29.00 per capita for California Indians and $40.00 per capita for all other Indians. If one excluded from the latter statistic the fee-simple allotted Indians who has been "so largely released from federal guardianship," the $40.00 figure increased to $66.00 per capita for Indians outside of California. Id.at n.55.
- "Report" at pages iii, 128.
- "Final Report to the Governor and the Legislature by the California State Advisory Commission on Indian Affairs" 12 (1969).
- "Congressional Record", May 31, 1972, S8591.
- Report to the BIA, Ernest Stevens and John Jollie, co-chairs.
- Prepared by William D. Oliver, former Administrative Officer to the Sacramento Area, at the request of the Sacramento Area Indian Advisory Board.
- In making these calculations, the author compared only expenditures for programs that existed at Sacramento as well as the other B.I.A. area offices.
- This task force was appointed by Secretary of Interior William Clark during the Ronald Reagan administration.
- "Report of the California Indian Task Force" at 2 and 12-13 (1984).
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