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Superintendent of the reservation testified that the "opened” lands should be restored to tribal ownership for the following reasons:
1. To provide a secure land base from which to begin a program of permanent development;
2. To provide economic farming and grazing units and stabilize the timber industry through which at least two-thirds of the Colville Indians can make a decent living;
3. To make possible the full and orderly development of land in a particular direction which is consistent with the needs of a small minority group; and
4. To prevent an excessive burden on the county governments for relief for the Indians which would result if the lands were utilized for other purposes.
The present population of the reservation is approximately 3,500 persons. Except for the 2,500 persons who received allotments before the rolls were closed in 1914, the Indians have no other land than that represented by small inherited interest. If the young Indians are to become farmers and ranchers they must have land.
Should the Indians lose this land, the local county governments would be forced to provide for a large number of destitute persons. The counties are in no position to assume this burden.
The county commissioners, the committee is told, have expressed willingness to support action for the restoration of the lands to tribal trust status.
Certain clarifying amendments have been made at the suggestion of the Department of the Interior. The committee also has amended the bill to provide that the commissioners of the counties affected shall consent before non-Indian land is acquired for the tribe or an individual Indian.
Pertinent comments from the favorable report of the Department of the Interior are set forth below and are made a part of this report.
I recommend the enactment of H. R. 2432, provided that the bill be amended as hereinafter suggested.
The lands proposed for restoration embrace approximately 818,000 acres, being the opened" undisposed-of lands of the diminished Colville Reservation, authorized to be classified and opened to public disposition by the act of March 22, 1906 (34 Stat. 80). The Presidential proclamation of May 3, 1916 (39 Stat. 1778), opened for entry only the irrigable, grazing, and arid lands within the area. The lands classified as mineral lands were subject to location and disposal under the mineral-land laws of the United States. By departmental orders of September 19, 1934, and November 5, 1939, these lands were temporarily withdrawn from disposal of any kind until the matter of their restoration to tribal ownership could be given appropriate consideration.
The undisposed-of ceded lands, including approximately 475,000 acres classified as timberlands, are widely scattered over the entire reservation. For a number of years the Indians have been requesting that these lands be restored to them to provide a secure economic base which they might develop. The economic security of the Colville Indians has required the expansion of the cattle industry and the continuance of a permanent timber industry on the reservation, and the expansion of both of these industries is dependent on the restoration to a tribal status of the undisposed-of "opened” lands, from which 97 percent of the tribal income has been derived. The further expansion of these industries will aid the economic improvement of many Colville Indians including those who served in the armed forces during the recent war.
A land-consolidation program, involving Indians and non-Indians, is now in operation on the Colville Reservation, made possible by the appropriation of $100,000 of tribal funds in 1939 and an additional $50,000 in 1944. Restoration
of the "opened" lands and authority to acquire, sell, and exchange lands will aid materially in this work, which is necessary to permit maximum utilization of the lands and resources. The proposed legislation would, therefore, be of great benefit to the Indians and is essential in carrying out the plan to restore and develop, in part, the land base heretofore diminished through the opening of their lands to public disposition. The officials of Ferry and Okanogan County have indicated their approval of this legislation.
For the further information of the committee there is enclosed a copy of & report entitled: "Colville Indian Reservation, Wash.—Justification for Restora tion Opened Lands Diminished Portion Reservation.”
A number of amendments to H. R. 2432 are proposed for the purpose of clarifying the bill, or for protecting the interests of the Colville Indians, as follows:
(1) Lines 1 to 3, page 2, section 2 of the bill, the words "to sell or otherwise dispose of tribal lands, and to acquire in lieu thereof” should be stricken and the words "to sell tribal lands in connection with the acquisition of lieu lands, and to acquire” should be substituted therefor. The purpose of this amendment is to repel any inference that the power to sell tribal lands may be exercised apart from the acquisition of lieu lands. It is not possible, moreover, to sell tribal lands and to acquire lieu lands by way of exchange.
(2) Line 12, page 2, section 2, the word “proper" should be stricken, and the word "taxing" should be added after the word "county". Presumably it would be the county taxing officials who would be interested in a land transaction because of the termination
of their power to tax the land. It would seem desirable to identify the officials. This would not necessarily be accomplished by a mere reference to the “proper county officials.”
(3) Line 14, page 2, section 2, there should be added after the word "Indian" the sentence: "No lands or interests in lands owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation shall be subject to disposition hereafter without the consent of the duly authorized governing body of the tribes, and no lands or interests in lands shall be acquired for the tribes without the consent of the said governing body.”
The Committee on Public Lands unanimously recommends the enactment of H. R. 2432, as amended.
81st CONGRESS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 18t Session
GRANTING THE CONSENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO
THE PECOS RIVER COMPACT
May 9, 1949.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State
of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Regan, from the Committee on Public Lanas, submitted the
(To accompany H. R. 3334)
The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 3334) to grant the consent of the United States to the Pecos River compact, 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 grant the consent of the Federal Government to the Pecos River compact,
signed on December 3, 1948, by Commissioners for the States of Texas and New Mexico. The legislatures of both States have ratified the compact, which provides for a division of the waters of the Pecos River. The Pecos River rises in New Mexico and empties into the Rio
in Texas. During recent years several irrigation projects have been created along the river.
The Members of Congress from the interested districts recommend the enactment of this legislation. No objection to its passage has been raised by the Department of the Interior.
The Committee on Public Lands believes that this interstate compact should be ratified by the Federal Government and unanimously recommends the prompt enactment of H. R. 3334.
GRANTING THE CONSENT OF THE CONGRESS TO THE NEGOTIATION OF A COMPACT RELATING TO THE WATERS OF THE CANADIAN RIVER BY THE STATES OF OKLAHOMA, TEXAS, AND NEW MEXICO
Mar 9, 1949.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State
of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. MURDOCK, from the Committee on Public Lands, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 3482]
The Committee on Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 3482) granting the consent of the Congress to the negotiation of a compact relating to the waters of the Canadian River by the States of Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
EXPLANATION OF THE BILL
H. R. 3482 grants congressional consent to the States of Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico to negotiate on the division of waters of the Canadian River.
The enactment of this bill is recommended by the Members of Congress from the areas affected and by the Department of the Interior. Pertinent comments from the favorable report signed by the Secretary of the Interior are set forth below and are made
a part of this report: I recommend that the bill be enacted. The need for a workable agreement among the affected States on the divi: ion of the waters of the Canadian River and its tributaries has not been critical in the past, as irrigation development has largely been confined to New Mexico. However, now that plans are going forward for development in both Texas and Oklahoma, as well as for further development in New Mexico, agreement upon an equitable apportionment of the waters in question becomes imperative.
Although the headwaters of the main Canadian and two or three of its minor tributaries originate in mountainous areas just north of the Colorado-New Mexico line, the State of Colorado's interest in the waters involved is so slight that it would probably not care to become a party to the compact. Your committee may wish, however, to consider whether the terms of this bill should be broadened to include Colorado.