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given the proposed legislation my careful consideration and am of the opinion that it needs amendment in several important respects. Such amendments are offered in the form of a substitute bill, copies of which are inclosed with this letter.
In explanation of the changes made by the substitute bill, I would say that the general object of these changes is to make the bill more effective and serviceable from the standpoint of the irrigation districts, to protect important Government interests and investments which are not provided for in the original bill, and to simplify the problem of administration of the proposed law by this department, the General Land Office, and the local land offices.
The principal changes are: First, the elimination of the two provisos at the bottom of page 2 of the original bill, lines 13 to 22, through the word “district.” The first of these two provisos, lines 13 to 17, seems to be unnecessary and open to construction which might cripple the utility of the proposed law. As the entryman must in any event have the qualifications required by law, this provision, if it has any effect at all, might be construed as denying the benefits of this act to any district which might by any chance contain a homestead or desert entry which had been erroneously allowed to an entryman without the required qualifications. Existing law provides sufficient remedy in such case against the individual entryman, and such case should not disqualify the entire district.
As to the second of these two provisos, lines 18 to 22, through the word “district, this proviso appears to prescribe a property qualification for the right to vote at an election to organize an irrigation district, and would be in conflict with the constitutional and statutory provisions of some of the States involved.
It is obvious that in the original bill no consideration has been given to its application to lands withdrawn under the reclamation act. The successful operation of irrigation districts within Government reclamation projects is of very important and immediate concern to the Government and an amendment in this respect is necessary to protect the investment which the Government has made in irrigation works. Otherwise, title might be secured through tax sale to public lands withdrawn under the reclamation act without payment of the construction and operation cost of the Government work, and without compliance with the requirements of the reclamation act in regard to irrigation and reclamation. In the substitute bill this objection has been eliminated by provision which is believed to be adequate to meet the needs referred to. This provision is inserted in section 2, beginning line 20 of the substitute bill, and is the second important change to which † desire to call your particular attention.
A third change is made in sections 4 and 5 of the bill and provisions inserted in sec. tion 6 which are designed to relieve the land office of the burden and expense of keeping books and records to determine the amount of district assessments, interest, and penalties outstanding as a lien against the various tracts of entered and unentered lands, and the collection and transmission of such charges by the land office for the district, and at the same time accomplishes the purpose intended in the original bill.
A fourth change occurs in section 6, line 11, of the substitute bill, where the following words have been inserted: “And upon the satisfactory showing that the irrigation works have been constructed and that water of such district is available for such land."
This provision, to my mind, is very important, for unless some restriction of this character is made it would be possible to secure title to the public lands through tax sale without constructing any of the proposed irrigation works or providing any water for reclamation.
Certain other changes are also macie with reference to important contingencies not clearly dealt with in the original bill, among which may be mentioned the disposition of moneys derived by the United States and the irrigation districts from the lands in question.
The experience of irrigation districts containing unpatented lands indicates that there is need for legislation of the kind proposed, and if properly safeguarded as suggested the substitute bill, the department would offer no objection if Congress considers such legislation advisable. Cordially, yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE, Secretary.
PER CAPITA PAYMENTS TO INDIANS OF FORT BERTHOLD
RESERVATION, N. DAK.
MARCH 31, 1916.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of
the Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Norton, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 11720.]
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred the bill H. R. 11720, being a bill to provide for per capita payments to be made to Indians of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, having carefully considered the same, reports the bill back without amendment and recommends that it do pass.
The Indians of the Fort Berthold Reservation, 1 154 in number, have now to their credit in the Treasury of the United States, arising from the sale of their surplus lands, $751,705.42, including interest. The Indians are as a rule in poor circumstances and without means financially to carry on the work of farming, agriculture, and stock raising and also building up their homes, and with this large sum in the Treasury a per capita payment at this time will add materially in assisting them in securing proper implements for agricultural purposes and in building their homes. The payment contemplated by this bill will amount to about $650 per Indian.
The legislation has the approval and recommendation of the Interior Department, as shown by the following letter of the Secretary:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, March 4, 1916. My Dear MR. STEPHENS: I have received your letter of February 18, forwarding for report copy of the bill (H. R. 11720) proposed by Mr. Norton on February 17, 1916.
The proposed bill is intended to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw from the Treasury and pay to the Indians entitled all moneys derived from the sale and disposition of surplus land and coal deposits within the limits of the former Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, N. Dak.
Under the provisions of section 11 of the act of June 1, 1910 (36 Stats. L., 455-458), the proceeds arising from the sale of the surplus lands must be deposited in the Treasury and are not subject to expenditure unless specifically appropriated by Congress for the education, support, and civilization of the Indians. Section 2 of the act of August 3, 1914 (38 Stats. L., 681) provides that the coal deposits in certain lands within the former Fort Berthold Reservation shall be subject to disposition in accordance with the provisions of the coal-land laws and the proceeds therefrom shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States and applied in the same manner as the proceeds from the disposition of lands.
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs informs me that there is a great need on the part of the Indians on the Fort Berthold Reservation for funds to promote the industrial pursuits for which their lands are adaptable and the improvement of their homes. Many of the Indians on the reservation who in the past have made an effort at farming and stock raising are greatly handicapped because of the lack of proper implements with which to do their farm work or proper stock in sufficient numbers. Very few of them have the necessary implements with which to cultivate even a small farm. This reservation, perhaps, is better adapted to the raising of live stock than to farming, although a certain amount of farming and gardening can and should be carried on in connection with the live-stock industry. It contains good grazing land and there is room for the grazing of a large number of cattle and horses.
A great many of these Indians are in extremely poor circumstances, especially among the old Indians, and such Indians can profitably utilize their funds for support. Many of the homes are built of logs chinked with mud, with dirt floors and sod roofs. Houses of this sort are not conducive to the best health of the occupants, and while they are fairly comfortable, the comfort is secured through the sacrifice of all principles of sanitation. The Indians have requested quite urgently that their funds be made available for their use, and it is believed the plan outlined in the proposed legislation, if carried out, will result beneficially to the Indians as a whole.
I am further advised that the ledgers of the Indian Office show the following funds in the Treasury belonging to the Fort Berthold Indians, arising under the provisions of the act of June 1, 1910, supra: Fort Berthold Reservation 3 per cent fund......
$705, 057.59 Interest on Fort Berthold Reservation 3 per cent fund.
46, 647.83 Total........
751, 705.42 There are approximately 1.154 Indians on the reservation, and dividing the amount of money now available equally among that number should give to each Indian approximately $650.
In this connection your attention is invited to an amendment proposed by Senator Gronna to the bill (H. R. 10385) intended to accomplish a similar object.
In view of the condition of the Fort Berthold Indians and their urgent need for assistance, I recommend that the proposed legislation be given favorable consideration by your committee and the Congress. Cordially, yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE, Secretary Hon. John H. STEPHENS,
Chairman Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives.
STREAMS, SPRINGS, AND WATER HOLES ON PUBLIC
LANDS IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.
APRIL 1, 1916.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the
Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. RAKER, from the Committee on the Public Lands, submitted
[To accompany S. 1351.)
The Committee on the Public Lands, to which was referred the bill (S. 1351) providing for the discovery, development, and protection of streams, springs, and water holes in the desert and arid public lands of the United States in the State of California, to render the same more readily accessible, and for the establishment of and maintenance of signboards and monuments locating the same, and for other purposes, having had the same under consideration, beg leave to report it back to the House with the recommendation that the bill be amended as follows:
1. On page 1, at the end of line 3, strike out the comma and insert the word and.'
2. On page 1, in lines 4 and 5, strike out the following: “and directed immediately to proceed by all necessary and proper means, and insert in lieu thereof the following: “in his discretion in so far as the authorization made herein will permit.
3. On page 1, in lines 7 and 8, strike out the following: "what are known as the western deserts and.”
4. On page 1, line 9, strike out the following: "in the State of California."
5. On page 2, lines 15, 16, and 17, strike out the following: "all disbursements made under this act shall be made by the Secretary of the Interior on vouchers approved by the Director of the Geological Survey."
6. On page 3, lines 3 to 8, inclusive, strike out all after the figure“4” and insert in lieu thereof the following: “That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to perform any and all acts and make such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the purpose of Carrying the provisions of this act into full force and effect.
. 7. Amend the title so as to read:
An act providing for the discovery, development, and protection of streams, springs, and water holes in the desert and arid public lands of the United States, for rendering the same more readily accessible, and for the establishment of and maintenance of signboards and monuments locating the same.
As thus amended the committee recommend that the bill do pass.
S. 1351 is identical with H.R. 242 of the present Congress, except that the former is limited in its operations to the State of California. The Secretary of the Interior, in a letter to the chairman of the Committee on the Public Lands, reports as follows:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, February 19, 1916. Hon. SCOTT FERRIS,
Chairman Committee on the Public Lands, House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. Ferris: In response to your request therefor I have the honor to report on H. R. 242 as follows:
The bill provides for the discovery, development, and protection of streams, springs, and water holes in the desert and arid public lands of the United States, for rendering the same more readily acceseible, and for the erection and maintenance of suitable and durable monuments and signboards at proper places and intervals along and near the accustomed lines of travel and over the general area of said desert lands, containing information and directions as to the location and nature of said streams, springs, and water holes, to the end that the same may be more readily traced and found by persons in search or need thereof. It also directs that suitable means be provided for conveniently bringing the water to the surface at said water holes, and for the preparation and distribution of suitable maps, reports, and general information relating to said springs, streams, and water holes.
This bill is identical with S. 487 of the Sixty-third Congress, first session, and S. 1351 of the present Congress, except that the latter are limited in their operations to the State of California.
S. 487, Sixty-third Congress, was the subject of departmental report dated May 3, 1913, in which it was stated that Congress might well consider the propriety of taking action of the type contemplated in said bill, but that if the action proposed is appropriate for the Federal Government to undertake it should not be confined to the State of California. This departmental report is printed in full in the report of the Senate Committee on Public Lands on S. 1351, dated December 17, 1915, Senate Calendar No. 7, Report No. 9, to which your attention is invited.
In said report of May 3, 1913, it was stated that the duties which the bill imposes on the Department of the Interior can readily be performed with the present organization of the department if the necessary funds are provided; but it was suggested that, if the bill was modified so as to be general in its application, the amount appropriated be increased to $25,000, with which an adequate beginning of the contemplated work can be made.
I would therefore emphasize the recommendations of the department in regard to this subject and suggest that section 2 of the proposed bill, H. Ř. 242, be so amended as to authorize the expenditure of $25,000 for the contemplated work. It is recommended that the bill as amended be enacted, Cordially, yours,
FRANKLIN K. LANE, Secretary. Concerning this and similar bills introduced in previous Congresses, Secretary Lane has said:
It appears that these bills express the desire of a number of citizens of the arid districts of the Southwest, who for years have endeavored to bring about action which would lead to the development and proper marking of watering places in American deserts. Because of the extensive mining developments, particularly in Nevada and Arizona, within the past two or three decades, there has been a great increase in the amount of travel through and across the more truly arid sections of our Southwest where the known and developed water supplies are scant and are often separated by wide waterless stretches. Travel through these districts by those who are not experienced in desert conditions is hazardous and many lives have been sacrificed, some of which at least might have been saved had the watering places been properly marked and signposts fixed at appropriate points. While action of the type contemplated