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project works, except the storage system. The commissioner says further that the plan being considered contemplates that the Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir will continue to be operated by the United States as reserve works and that this seems advisable because of the interstate and international features and the treaty with Mexico above referred to, whereby the United States agrees to furnish to that country a certain quota of water annually from the Elephant Butte Reservoir.
The Secretary of the Interior advised this department on December 30, 1930, that it was not contemplated to turn over to the water users the storage system comprised in the Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir, and further gave the assurance that before the execution of any contract with the water users, the plan would be submitted to the State Department, and to the American section of the International Water Commission for review and approval of such phases thereof as would affect that commission's activities. In view of these assurances, which this department considers essential, there would appear to be no objection to the proposed legislation.
Very truly yours,
H. L. STIMSON.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
HON. JOHN THOMAS,
Chairman Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation,
United States Senate.
MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN. In response to your request of December 22 for a statement on Senate Joint Resolution 222 relating to the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to enter into a contract with the Rio Grande project, there is transmitted herewith a memorandum on the subject that has been submitted by the Commissioner of Reclamation.
After a review of the proposed measure I agree with the commissioner.
In order not to affect the International Water Commission's negotiations between this country and Mexico before the execution of a contract with the water users, the plan will be submitted to the State Department and the International Water Commission for review and approval of such phases as would affect those negotiations.
Very truly yours,
RAY LYMAN WILBUR.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Memorandum for the Secretary.
Reference is had to letter of December 22 from Hon. John Thomas, chairman Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation, United States Senate, requesting views as to S. J. Res. 222, "Relating to the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to enter into a contract with the Rio Grande project."
The water users of the Rio Grande project have filed with the Secretary of the Interior an application for extension of time for repayment of project investments. Original contracts with the districts of this project, of which there are two, one representing lands in New Mexico, and the other those in Texas, provide for repayment of construction charges within 20 years. The act of May 28, 1928 (45 Stat. 785), authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Interior to amend the contracts then in force in such manner as to permit payment at the rate of $3.60 an acre annually, which is equivalent to a repayment period of 27 years. Amendatory contracts were duly executed pursuant to this act. The water users now request that the time for repayment be still further increased to 40 years.
The department has indicated a willingness to accede to the request for extension of time only upon the condition that the water users take over and operate the project works (except the storage system), beginning July 1, 1931. The plan being considered contemplates that the Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir will continue to be operated by the United States as reserved works. This seems advisable because of the interstate and international features and the treaty with Mexico whereby the United States agrees to furnish to that Republic 60,000 acre-feet of water annually from the Elephant Butte Reservoir.
It is the present policy of the bureau and of the department to transfer completed projects to the water users for their operation and control whenever feasible. Several projects have been so turned over and the plan has proven successful from the standpoint of both the water users and the Government. It should be possible for the water users to reduce operating expenses in this manner and after transfer of the works appropriations by Congress for operation and maintenance will not be required. The appropriations for this purpose amount to about $375,000 annually.
There is some doubt whether, under the act of May 28, 1928, the Secretary of the Interior has legal authority to amend existing contracts in the manner now requested since the terms of those contracts are specifically governed by the act mentioned. It is the purpose of the present act to authorize the amendment desired by the water users.
I recommend favorable consideration of the bill.
ELWOOD MEAD, Commissioner.
FINAL DISPOSITION OF THE AFFAIRS OF THE EASTERN BAND OF CHEROKEE INDIANS IN NORTH CAROLINA
FEBRUARY 12, 1931.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed
Mr. LEAVITT, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the following
[To accompany S. 5110]
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (S. 5110) to amend the act of June 4, 1924, providing for a final disposition of the affairs of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it do pass without amendment.
This bill was introduced at the request of the Secretary of the Interior, as set forth in the following letter, which is appended hereto and made a part of this report.
Hon. SCOTT LEAVITT,
Chairman Committee on Indian Affairs,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
MY DEAR Mr. LEAVITT: The act of June 4, 1924 (43 Stat. L. 376), provided, among other things, that the Secretary of the Interior should cause to be prepared, a final roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina, and should allot to the members of the tribe so enrolled their reservation lands in North Carolina, known locally as the Qualla boundary. In order to carry out this purpose the act also authorized these Indians to convey to the United States in trust all land, money, and other property of said band, the Government to accept such conveyance when approved by the Secretary of the Interior. Subsequently, under date of July 21, 1925, proper deed was executed by the tribal authorities and approved by the Secretary, hence the lands and other property to which reference is made are now held in trust by the United States for the benefit of these Indians to be disposed of as specified in the act cited.
The records of this department show that since 1835 various rolls have been made of these Indians from time to time; that in 1907 it became necessary to revise such rolls for the purpose of paying out certain tribal funds per capita; that the roll prepared by an inspector of this department at that time contained the names of some 1,897 persons, many of whom were Eastern Cherokee mixed
bloods who have lived apart from the Indian community and lands. and to whose enrollment the band objected.
These were in addition to the names of uncontested resident Cherokees of small degree of Indian blood. This department thereupon caused more searching investigations to be made of the status of the contestees and several membership rolls were subsequently prepared, the last one of which was approved on April 29, 1913, and contained a total of 2,115 names. Many of these persons so enrolled were living apart from the tribe, had never maintained active or close relations therewith, and possessed less than one-sixteenth degree of Cherokee Indian blood. Subsequently, about 400 of such enrollees were again challenged by the tribe and hearings were granted to the legal representatives of the contestees and others. The matter was then held, however, without further action, pending legislation which would admit of a final determination of this long-standing enrollment controversy. This resulted in the act of June 4, 1924, heretofore mentioned, and in connection with the degree of Indian blood as controlling the right to membership in this band, attention is invited to sections 3 and 13 of that act.
In order to carry out provisions of the act mentioned officials were detailed to the field under instructions approved in 1925. The situation proved to be very involved and many applications were bitterly contested by the tribal authorities. More than 12,000 applications for enrollment were filed by persons claiming tribal rights, most of whom resided apart from the band in North Carolina, in various Southern States and elsewhere. Finally, however, in November, 1928, the enrolling commission submitted a tentative roll of the membership of the band, containing some 3,145 names of persons believed to be entitled to enrollment, of whom 1,229 mostly of less than one-sixteenth degree of Indian blood were challenged by the tribal council.
Of the large number of applicants denied by the enrolling commission 2,982 appealed therefrom. These cases were very carefully reviewed and the final roll as prepared and submitted contains the names of 3,157 persons believed to be entitled to enrollment under the law as it now stands, and the regulations and decisions of this department with respect to such matters. A considerable number of such enrollees are of less than one-sixteenth Cherokee Indian blood and reside apart from the tribe, in contiguous counties in the State of North Carolina and in the States of Georgia and Tennessee.
In connection with this matter a hearing was had before this department, at which representatives of both the tribe and attorneys for the applicants and contestees were present, at which time and subsequently the attorney for the tribe protested against the approval of the roll and the allotment of the reservation in severalty, unless the challenged persons were denied tribal rights.
Subsequently, the superintendent in charge of these Indians transmitted a resolution by the tribal council, dated March 19, 1930, requesting: (1) That the United States continue to hold their lands and property in trust; (2) that the 1,229 challenged persons be stricken from the final roll and that no persons be recognized as members of the tribe who have less than one-sixteenth degree of Eastern Cherokee blood; (3) that they are unalterably opposed to the allotment of their lands in severalty, as they believe that such allotment would bring disastrous results to their people; and (4) that allotments should not be made until the names of deceased Indians are stricken from the roll and the new born children of tribal members added.
In a report of June 11, 1930, by Mrs. F. W. Seymour, of the Board of Indian Commissioners, who made an investigation of the conditions existing among these Indians it is pointed out that under a per capita distribution of the desirable agricultural lands belonging to this band each member, should allotments be made under existing laws, would receive less than two acres of desirable agricultural lands in allotment; and that some plan should be adopted whereby persons of less than one-sixteenth degree of Eastern Cherokee blood who have been residing apart from the tribal community and never affiliated therewith, should not be allowed to share with these Indians in the distribution of their tribal assets.
As indicated in the memorandum and other data presented to the Senate and House Committees on Indian Affairs and embodied in the Congressional Record of December 21, 1929 (p. 1088 et seq.) and January 17, 1930 (p. 1917 et seq.), experience has demonstrated that allotments in severalty under existing law have not in many respects worked to the best advantage of the Indians, and that possibly some other plan should be adopted for handling these undisposed-of tribal assets or estates, such as by incorporation of the tribe and turning over,