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Mr. ASHURST, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 12426.]
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred the bil (H. R. 12426) to authorize mining for metalliferous minerals on Indian reservations, having considered the same, report the bill and recommend that it do pass with the following amendments:
On page 3, line 4, after the word "Interior," strike out the period, insert a colon and the following:
And provided further, That lands containing springs, water holes, or other bodies of water needed by the Indians for watering live stock, irrigation, or water-power purposes shall not be designated by the Secretary of the Interior as subject to entry under this act.
On page 5, in lines 2 and 3, after the word "which" in line 2, strike out the following: "in the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior." On page 5, line 20, after the word "States," strike out the period, insert a colon and the following:
Provided, That the lessee shall also agree to pay all damages occasioned by reason of his mining operations to the land or allotment of any Indian, or to the crops or improvements thereon: And provided further, That no timber shall be cut upon the reservation by the lessee except after first obtaining a permit from the superintendent of the reservation and upon payment of the fair value thereof.
On page 6, after line 24, insert the following as section 13:
SEC. 13. That mining locations, under the terms of this act, may be made on unallotted lands within Indian reservations by Indians who have heretofore or may hereafter be declared by the Secretary of the Interior to be competent to manage their own affairs, and the said Secretary is hereby authorized and empowered to lease such lands to such Indians in accordance with the provisions of this act: Provided, That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, authorized to permit other Indians to make locations and obtain leases under the provisions of this act, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe in regard to the working, developing, disposition, and selling of the products and the disposition of the proceeds thereof of any such mine by such Indians.
On page 7, line 1, strike out the figures "13" and in lieu thereof insert the figures "14."
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
MY DEAR SENATOR: I am in receipt of your letter of June 22, 1916, asking for report upon S. 6414, a bill to authorize mining for metalliferous minerals on Indian reservations.
The bill as introduced is similar to H. R. 12426, with amendments suggested by this department, and I recommend that it be enacted.
It is believed that the provisions of the bill sufficiently safeguard the interests of the Indians and will result in a considerable revenue for their benefit. It is, of course, desirable that the unused and undeveloped resources of metalliferous minerals within these reservations shall be made accessible to development for the public benefit. Therefore, as above stated, I believe the legislation proposed is important and desirable.
Hon. HENRY F. Ashurst,
ANDRIEUS A. JONES,
Chairman Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate.
The Committee on Indian Affairs of the House of Representatives, having submitted the bill as originally drafted to the Secretary of the Interior, he suggested certain amendments, which were adopted and are now incorporated in the bill. That portion of the report on the bill which is pertinent is as follows:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, April 10, 1916.
MY DEAR MR. STEPHENS: I have your request for report upon H. R. 12426, which proposes to permit prospecting for and leasing of metalliferous mineral deposits within Indian reservations in the State of Arizona for 50-year periods upon a flat royalty of 2 per cent of the gross value of the output at the mine, the proceeds to be deposited in the Treasury to the credit of the Indians.
I favor the enactment of this measure. I find that 5 per cent is the ordinary commercial leasing rate, and would suggest that in lieu of 2 per cent. It also appears that there is a public demand that mineral deposits in Indian reservations in other States be opened to development, and I therefore suggest that the words "in the State of Arizona," in line 11, page 1, be stricken out, making the bill applicable to such deposits in all Indian reservations. It is also suggested that lines 5 to 11, page 2, be eliminated, and the following substituted therefor:
"That after the passage and approval of this act unallotted lands within Indian reservations heretofore withheld from disposition under the mining laws may be declared by the Secretary of the Interior to be subject to exploration for and discovery of deposits of gold, silver, copper, and other valuable metalliferous minerals by citizens of the United States, and after such declaration mining claims may be."
The latter amendment is suggested for the reason that there may be cases where the opening of all lands within a given Indian reservation to exploration and prospecting would be destructive of the rights and interests of the Indians or inadvisable from the standpoint of public policy, and the proposed amendment gives some discretion to the officers of the United States in that connection.
In line 14, page 6, the word "carry" should be "carrying."
Hon. JOHN H. STEPHENS,
Chairman Committee on Indian Affairs,
House of Representatives.
FRANKLIN K. LANE.
The following table shows the area of unallotted lands included within Indian reservations in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast States which will be opened to prospecting for gold, silver, copper, and other valuable metalliferous minerals in the event that this bill becomes a law:
It is well known that many of the reservations in the Western States contain large and valuable deposits of minerals, but in the absence of suitable legislation there has been no development of these resources. The Indians have not engaged in mining because they do not possess either the knowledge or the capital that is required to conduct extensive mining operations. It is the opinion of your committee that this bill offers a workable plan that will bring about development and which fully protects the interests of the Indians.
The leasing provisions of this bill have been taken without material change from applicable sections of H. R. 406, a bill to authorize exploration for a disposition of coal, oil, gas, phosphate, potassium, or sodium, and H. R. 408, a bill to provide for the development of water power and the use of the public lands in relation thereto, which recently passed the House. These measures were so thoroughly discussed both in the Sixty-third and in the present Congress that it is presumed that a detailed explanation of the nature of the leases provided for in this bill is unnecessary.
The attention of those who, as a matter of principle, object to the adoption of the leasing system on the public domain is directed to the fact that the lands that may be leased for mining purposes under the provisions of this bill are the tribal property of the Indians and that it has never been the policy of the Government to permit mining on Indian reservations under the general mining laws. These lands have been set aside for the exclusive use and benefit of the Indians, and they are entitled to receive the same income from their property as any other private proprietor.
Owing to the present high prices of metals this is a most opportune time for the passage of a measure of this character and it is certain that its enactment into law will mean the immediate development of many valuable mines. It is the hope of your committee that a number of the Indian tribes will in time receive a sufficient income from royalties and rentals from their mineral lands, so that it will be no longer necessary to make gratuity appropriations from the Treasury for their education, support, and civilization.
As originally introduced, this bill applied to the State of Arizona only, but if the bill is made general in its scope over one-half of the total area that will be opened to prospecting and development will still be located within that State. The area of the newly created Papago Reservation in Arizona is not included in the above table, because the mineral lands within that reservation have not been withdrawn from entry or withheld from disposition under the mining laws.
S R-64-2-vol 1-2