Page images
PDF
EPUB

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,

Washington. February 18, 1948. Hon. JOSEPH C. O'MAHONEY, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs,

United States Senate. MY DEAR SENATOR O'MAHONEY: Reference is made to your request for a report on S. 392, a bill authorizing the issuance of a pateni in fee to Thomas A. Pickett, Crow Indian allottee.

I have no objection to the enactment of this bill.

The bill would authorize and direct the Secretary of the Interior, upon application in writing, to issue a patent in fee to Thomas A. Pickett for the remaining lands in his allotment No. 90 on the Crow Reservation, comprising his homestead of 638.73 acres. The act of June 4, 1920 (41 Stat. 751), provides that a Crow Indian allottee shall not sell more than one-half of his homestead, or 320 acres thereof. For this reason the enactment of legislation as proposed is necessary to authorize the allottee to sell all of his land.

It appears that Mr. Pickett is qualified to conduct his affairs without governmental supervision or protection. Mr. Pickett's land does not have any stock water on it and the superintendent has reported that its sale would not interfere with the future consolidation or administration of Indian trust lands in that area. Mr. Pickett is of one-half Indian blood and has made his living away from the Crow Reservation for a good many years.

The Bureau of the Budget has advised me that there is no objection to the submission of this report to your committee. Sincerely yours,

Oscar L. CHAPMAN,

Under Secretary of the Interior. Enactment of S. 392 is unanimously recommended by the Committee on Public Lands.

O

AUTHORIZING THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO SELL THE LAND OF GEORGE PETERS UNDER EXISTING REGULATIONS

MAY 4, 1949.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and ordered

to be printed

Mr. MORRIS, from the Committee on Public Lands, submitted the

following

REPORT

(To accompany S. 716)

The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (S. 716) authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to sell the land of George Peters under existing regulations, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that

the bill do pass.

EXPLANATION OF THE BILL

The purpose of this bill is to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to sell to à Crow Indian the 840 acres of land on the Crow Indian Reservation, Mont., now owned by George Peters.

The Secretary of the Interior recommends that this bill be enacted into law. The land concerned is located in a predominantly Indianowned area and its sale to a non-Indian might present administrative problems. However, the proposed buyer is a Crow Indian and the Department of the Interior favors the sale.

As originally introduced, S. 716 provided for the issuance of a patent in fee to Mr. Peters. At the suggestion of the Department of the Interior, the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs amended the bill so as to permit the Secretary to sell the land under existing regulations. The Department's report to the chairman of the Senate committee is hereinbelow set forth in full:

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,

Washington, March 9, 1949. Hon. JOSEPH C. O'MAHONEY, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs,

United States Senate. MY DEAR SENATOR O'MAHONEY: Reference is made to your request for a report on S. 716, a bill authorizing the issuance of a patent in fee to George Peters, a Crow Indian.

For the reasons hereinafter stated, I recommend that this bill be enacted if amended as hereinafter set forth.

The bill, similar to S. 1385, introduced in the Eightieth Congress, would authorize and direct the Secretary of the Interior to issue a patent in fee to George Peters, Crow allottee No. 1292, for 840 acres of his land on the Crow Reservation. Mr. Peters owns the NYN%, NYNYSYN72, sec. 29; and all of sec. 20, T. 4 S., R. 37 E., principal meridian, Montana. The enatment of additional legislation is necessary to permit the sale of all of this land, because of the provisions of the act of June 4, 1920 (41 Stat. 751), which require Crow Indians to retain one-half of their homestead lands, or 320 acres.

While no application for a patent in fee has been received from Mr. Peters, he indicated in 1947 his desire to sell land to George Redfield, another Crow Indian. This land is located in an area of the reservation predominantly Indianowned and if it were sold to a non-Indian it would hinder the administration of the Indian lands in that locality, and interfere with future land consolidation for the benefit of the Crow Indians. However, there would be no objection to the sale to another member of the Crow Tribe. We therefore suggest that S. 716 be modified to read:

“Upon the filing of a written application by George Peters, Crow Indian allottee No. 1292, the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to sell to a Crow Indian, under existing regulations, the homestead and other land of said George Peters, described as all of section 20; the north half of the north half; the north half of the north half of the south half of the north half of section 29, township 4 south, range 37 east, Montana principal meridian, containing 840 acres, the status of such land with respect to taxability to remain unchanged.”

The title to the bill should also be amended to read:

“A bill authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to sell the land of George Peters under existing regulations.'

The Bureau of the Budget has advised me that there is no objection to the submission of this report to your Committee. Sincerely yours,

OSCAR L. CHAPMAN,

Under Secretary of the Interior. The Committee on Public Lands unanimously recommends the enactment of S. 716.

O

AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF A PATENT IN FEE TO

LULU TWO SPEARS IRON BIRD

May 4, 1949.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and ordered

to be printed

Mr. MORRIS, from the Committee on Public Lands, submitted the

following

REPORT

(To accompany H. R. 3616)

The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 3616) authorizing the issuance of a patent in fee to Lulu Two Spears Iron Bird, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended

do pass.

The amendment is as follows: Page 1, line 11: Add the following: Provided, That when the land herein described is offered for sale, the Cheyenne Tribe, or any Indian who is a member of said tribe, shall have thirty days in which to execute preferential rights to purchase said tract at a price offered to the seller by a prospective buyer willing and able to purchase.

EXPLANATION OF THE BILL The purpose of this bill is to authorize the issuance of a patent in fee to Mrs. Lulu Two Spears Iron Bird for approximately 157 acres of her land on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

The chairman of the Cheyenne River Tribal Council has strongly urged the enactment of this legislation. Both Mrs. Iron Bird and her husband are in poor health and in desperate need of money. Mr. Iron Bird is suffering from diabetes and requires insulin shots.

Mr. and Mrs. Iron Bird together own approximately 16 quarters of land. The sale of the one quarter covered by this bill would not seriously impair their land holdings.

The Committee on Public Lands regards this as a hardship case and feels that the Iron Birds' welfare could best be served by granting them permission to patent the one tract of land and sell it. The

[ocr errors]

land in question is an isolated tract that lies outside the so-called consolidation area in which an effort has been made to consolidate Indian holdings.

The committee has amended the bill to provide that when the land is offered for sale, the Cheyenne Tribe or individual Indians shall have 30 days in which to exercise preferential rights of purchase.

The Cheyenne Tribe has proved itself to be extremely able in self-government. It appears to be just a matter of time until these Indians are given full control over their property.

In its report to the committee on this bill, the Department of the Interior did not recommend the granting of the patent in fee. The Department indicated (1) that Mrs. Iron Bird was not competent to manage her affairs, and (2) that one of Mrs. Iron Bird's two sons has received an issue of tribal cattle and is entirely dependent upon the use of the land owned by his mother and stepfather for the grazing of the cattle.

The chairman of the Tribal Council, however, in his report on the situation, pointed out that Mrs. Iron Bird has been declared competent by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in past instances. The Council also states that so far as the sons' inheritance is concerned, if Mrs. Iron Bird does not obtain the necessary medical aid she may die before her husband and in that event the land will go to him—not to the sons; and that in any event the one tract is only a small portion of her holdings and that she is entitled to some benefit from the lands herself.

In his letter to the author of the bill, Hon. Francis Case of South Dakota, the chairman of the tribal council wrote:

I have observed in a casual sort of way that it seems to be the goal of most people, whether Indian or white, to accumulate property during their active years so that they can live off the proceeds in their old age, or in case of illness or other incapacitation so that they can dispose of such property as a means of livelihood. I believe that this certainly applies in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Iron Bird.

Congressman Case, in whose district the Iron Birds live, testified before a subcommittee of the Committee on Public Lands that he has investigated personally the merits of this case and believes that Mrs. Iron Bird should be issued the patent.

The Committee on Public Lands unanimously recommends the prompt enaciment of H. R. 3616.

O

« PreviousContinue »