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SALE OF CERTAIN TIMBER ON MENOMINEE INDIAN
FEBRUARY 2, 1907.-Committed to the Commmittee of the Whole House on the state
of the Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. BROWN, from tbe Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 24043.]
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred the hill (H. R. 24043) to authorize the sale of timber on certain of the lands reserved for the use of the Menominee tribe of Indians in the State of Wisconsin, have had the same under consideration and recommend its passage.
This bill is identical with H. R. 13372, which this committee reported on February 2, 1906, at the first session of this Congress, and which passed the House February 8, 1906. It was reported at that time as an emergency measure, the committee in its report stating (Rept. No. 744, 1st sess. 59th Cong.):
The bill under consideration is an emergency measure authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to sell the timber on lands belonging to the Menominee Indian Reser. vation in Wisconsin, said lands having been visited by a destructive cyclone on July 16, 1905, which blew down from 15 to 20 per cent of the standing timber on some twenty-seven sections.
The Department decided that under the authority given in the act of Congress of June 12, 1890 (26 Stat. L., 146), that they could not permit more than 20,000,000 feet to be cut and sold in any one year, and as it is deemed necessary that the timber which is blown down should be sold with as little delay as possible, the necessity for the legislation was apparent, and the draft of this bill, together with the correspondence relating to the subject matter, was sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives by the Secretary of the Interior January 3, 1906, and was ordered to be printed and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs on January 4, but did not reach the committee until January 27 because of delay in the printing office.
The necessity for this legislation is fully set forth in House Document No. 287, first session Fifty-ninth Congress, which contains correspondence giving information as to damage done by the cyclone and information as to the necessities of the case.
It appears from the information given that the destruction extended over some twenty-seven sections, and that out of some 100,000,000 to 125,000,000 feet of standing timber from 20,000,000 to 30.000,000 feet were blown down, and that in order to save this down timber from destruction it should be logged without unnecessary delay. It further appears that it is advisable to dispose of and have logged all of the timber on these lands for reasons more fully set forth in the correspondence referred to. The bill was drafted in the Department, and is furnished as the best means possible to protect the interests of the Indians.
The committee have given the provisions of the bill careful consideration and recommend the bill, with the amendments offered, as the best means of dealing with the propo:ition.
As stated in the foregoing report, the provisions of this bill, in the opinion of the committee, furnishes the best means possible of disposing of this blown-down timber; that is, selling it by stumpage and to the highest bidder for cash.
After the passage of H. R. 13372 by the House the bill was amended in the Senate committee by striking out everything after the enacting clause and substituting four sections, the provisions of which authorized the Secretary of the Interior to permit the business committee of the Menominee tribe of Indians to cause to be cut into logs and hauled to suitable places for sawing dead and down timber and to make contracts with portable mill owners to come upon the reservation and saw into lumber the logs so cut, etc.
As amended, the bill was reported to the Senate, and passed. It was sent to conference, and the conferees agreed upon the Senate substitute, and as amended was approved by the President June 28, 1906.
Nothing whatever has been done under the provisions of this act of June 28, 1906. The blown-down timber has deteriorated to a certain extent, but otherwise is still in the condition it was when H. R. 13372 was introduced as an emergency measure.
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs recommends that this act be repealed and that the original hill (H. R. 13372) be enacted.
Attention is directed to the report of General Superintendent of Logging J. R. Farr, dated December 11, 1906, upon this matter, this report being made to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and is contained in House Document No. 490, Fifty-ninth Congress, second session. Among other things, he says:
The bill (the act of June 28, 1906) is not practicable and should be repealed and a new bill introduced at the earliest opportunity. * * The blown-down timber is estimated at 35,000,000 feet, scattered over 30 sections, and these sections are located in several townships. The entire amount of timber, standing and down, in this district is estimated at 200,000,000 feet.
* Thirty-five million feet scattered over this vast territory is not a sufficient quantity to justify the building of railroads and the branches necessary to pick it up, while if the 200,000,000 feet is sold the main line of a railroad may be extended through the territory and the necessary branches built so as to reach the timber without making the sleigh hauls unreasonably long and expensive.
If an effort is made to log and handle this down timber alone, the expense will absorb the timber, if not more. An operation of this kind can not fail to jeopardize the balance of the timber by extending logging roads, logging camps, and general operations throughout a forest of this kind.
The percentage of down timber in this district is large enough to demand action, and a bill should be passed permitting the honorable Secretary of the Interior to advertise this timber for sale to the bighest and best bidder, with a privilege of manufacturing a part on the reservation and transporting a part for manufacture elsewhere, and driving by water such portions of the timber as will float. Of course the Secretary can reserve the right to reject any or all bids.
The general superintendent also says that another feature which should be kept in mind is that all the timber standing and down in this district is mature and the market bas never been better, and a sale is strictly in accordance with good business methods, even if a portion had not been blown down. He says the Indians can not handle this timber. Every Indian who can log or will work in a logging camp
needed to put in the 20,000,000 feet of timber which they are allowed to cut by law. General Superintendent Farr further says:
When the original bill was receiving consideration by the Committee on Indian Affairs in the Senate, the business committee of the Menominee tribe of Indians objected to its passage for the reason, with others, that it provided for the cutting of the live and standing timber. After its passage, this same business committee, in drafting rules and regulations, as provided by the bill, insisted that the standing as well as the down timber be cut, and in their final drait of rules they placed the price for logging as high as $9 per thousand, which is nearly double the price usually paid, and goes a long ways to show that they are not competent to handle a timber proposition of this kind. In former reports I have fully discussed this feature of the case.
The bill as it passed provides that the business committee of the Menominee tribe of Indians may have the down timber on this district cut, and the logs delivered to certain points and there manufactured by portable mills, which are to be brought on the reservation. With $9 for logging and from $3 to $3.50 for sawing anil the expense necessary to make roads and transporting the lumber to points for shipment on the railroads, varying from 4 to 15 miles, it should be sufficient to satisfy anyone that operations of this kind can not be successfully carried out.
It is a grave question whether the most experienced lumbermen, fully equipped in erery way, could carry out the provisions of the act and realize enough from the sale of the lumber from the down timber to pay expenses, and it is absurd to think the business committee of the Menominee tribe of Indians can handle this proposition without sacrificing the down timber and incurring a large expense, and even then it would be necessary, in order to complete the operations, to employ white men in the management of the work.
For a more complete discussion of this subject, I invite attention to my former reports, and in conclusion will recommend and urge that a bill, in substantially the same form as the oneintroduced at the last session by Congressman Brown, with the addition of a repealing clause, be immediately presented to Congress and its early passage urged. I believe such a bill will receive prompt and favorable consideration by the House, and when it reaches the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate I will be pleased, if it is the desire of the office and Department, to appear before that committee and present the facts, and I believe that they are such as to satisfy that committee of the justice and necessity of the action requested.
The letter of the Secretary of the Interior, forwarding, with his approval, the recommendation of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the repeal of the act of June 28, 1906, and for the enactment of the legislation contained in H. R. 24013; report of General Superintendent J. R. Farr, and a letter from the Acting Secretary of Agriculture concurring in Mr. Farr's conclusions, and a letter of the Commissioner's to the Secretary of the Interior in relation to this blown-down timber are contained in House Document No. 490, second session Fifty-ninth Congress, which also has, as an appendix, House Document No. 287, Fifty-ninth Congress.
H. R. 24023 differs from the bill proposed by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in that it provides for the payment of but 3 per cent as interest on the trust funds instead of 5, as recommended by the Commissioner, but as it has been adopted as a policy by the committee to recommend the payment of 3 per cent on Indian trust funds it was thought best not to change the bill in that respect.
There is appended and made a part of this report the following letter from the Secretary of the Interior, forwarding one from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs:
JANUARY 19, 1907. Sir: Referring to your letter of the 12th instant, inclosing a copy of H. R. 2-013, “A bill to authorize the sale of tim ber on certain of the land reserved for the use of the Menominee tribe of Indians, in the State of Wisconsin," I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a letter from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, dated the 17th instant, reporting thereon.
The Commissioner states that 5 per cent interest is the usual amount paid on Indian funds, and recommends that the word “three” in line 23, page 2, be stricken
out, and the word "five" substituted in lieu thereof, otherwise he sees no objection to the enactment of the bill. Very respectfully,
E. A. HITCHCOCK, Secretary. The CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS,
House of Representatives.
JANUARY 17, 1907. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by Department reference of January 15, for consideration and report, of a letter from Hon. James S. Sherman, chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs, House of Representatives, dated Jan uary 12, inclosing H. R. 24043, "A bill to authorize the sale of timber on certain of the land reserved for the use of the Menominee tribe of Indians, in the State of Wisconsin.” Mr. Sherman requests a report on the bill by this Department.
Reporting on the reference, I have the honor to say that the general provisions of the bill meet with the entire approbation of this Office. In letter of December 15, 1906, to the Department, I recommended the enactment of the “Brown bill,'' introduced at the last session of Congress, and printed in House Executive Document No. 287, Fifty-ninth Congress, first session. The present bill differs in two particulars from the Brown bill—in the rate of interest to be paid the Indians on that part of the proceeds which is to be funded in the United States Treasury, and in the matter of obtaining the consent of the Indians to its provisions.
The former bill provided for the payment of 5 per cent interest on the part deposited in the Treasury. The present bill provides for payment of but 3 per cent interest. Five per cent is the usual amount paid on Indian funds. I therefore recommend that the word “three" in line 23, page 2, be stricken out and the word “five” substituted in lieu thereof.
I will, however, waive the provision providing f r obtaining the consent of the Indians. They have already signified their assent to the disposal of the timber under a former act, the provisions of which were declared impracticable by the logging experts. I therefore think this provision may be omitted, it being competent for Congress to provide how the timber may be disposed of. If the bill shall be amended as suggested above, I see no objection to its enactment.
Mr. Sherman's letter and copy of the bill are returned herewith and a copy of this report is also inclosed. Very respectfully,
F. E. LEUPP,
Commissioner, The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.
VALDEZ, MARSHALL PASS AND NORTHERN RAILROAD.
FEBRUARY 2, 1907.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Brick, from the Committee on the Territories, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 25244.]
The Committee on the Territories, having considered House bill 25244, report same back with recommendation that the bill do pass.
The railroad company has filed preliminary and final surveys, said final survey having been accepted by the Department of the Interior April 16, 1906, giving said railroad company one year in which to complete 20 miles of road.
The railroad company has completed a very extensive wharf on 3,300 feet of piling, which consumed almost one-half of the entire season of 1906, and have graded about 8 miles and cleared about 8 miles additional; but, owing to the shortness of the working season, was unable to comply with the provision of completing the said 20 miles of railroad.
Your committee, therefore, reports this bill, granting an extension of time, as has been done by Congress to other railroads in Alaska, and your committee feel justified in granting the relief requested in above bill.
The granting of a remission of the license while under construction, and for a reasonable period thereafter, being deemed just and equitable by this committee and consistent with relief granted to other companies.