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Congressional Record, 20 February 1875, 1528-29, NADP Document D135.
[Page 1528]

      Mr. MITCHELL. I offer the following amendment, to come in after line 1723:
      That the Secretary of the Interior be, and hereby is, authorized to remove all bands of Indians now located upon the Alsea and Siletz Indian reservation, set apart for them by Executive order dated November 9, 1855, and restored to the public domain by Executive order of December 21, 1865, and to locate said Indians upon the following described tract of country, namely: Beginning at a point two miles south of the Siletz agency; thence west to the Pacific Ocean; thence north, along said ocean, to the mouth of Salmon River; thence due east to the western boundary of the eighth range of townships west of the Willamette meridian; thence south with said boundary to a point due east of the place of beginning; thence west to the place of beginning; which is hereby set apart as a permanent reservation for the Indians now occupying the same, and to hereafter located thereon. And all the balance of said Alsea and Siletz reservations is hereby thrown open to settlement under the land laws of the United States.
      Mr. SHERMAN. I want to know if this comes from any committee. It is just by such amendments as this that the Indian appropriation bill has been made what it is -- a mass of undigested legislation. I raise the point of order, if the chairman of the committee does not do it.
      The PRESIDING OFFICER. What is the point of order?
      Mr. SHERMAN. Whether this amendment comes from a committee.
      The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is no appropriation in the amendment, as the Chair understands.
      Mr. SHERMAN. This makes a new commencement of expenditure -- the removal of Indians from reservations.
      Mr. MITCHELL. Not at all. I will explain to the Senator and to the Senate the object of this amendment in a very few words.
      Mr. INGALLS. Are there any white settlers on the tract proposed to be set apart as a reservation?
      Mr. MITCHELL. There are not. In 1855 a treaty was made with these Indians that never was ratified by the Senate. Consequently that failed. In November, 1855, by Executive order a reservation was set apart for these confederated bands of Indians. That reservation extended for a distance of ninety miles along the Pacific Ocean, extending from Cape Lookout down the coast that distance, and extending out in an easterly direction twenty miles, creating a reservation of eighteen hundred square miles. In 1865, by another Executive order, twenty miles in width in the center of this reservation which under the former Executive order was designated as the Coast Range reservation, was relieved from the former Executive order and thrown open to settlement, thus creating two reservations, the one called the Siletz on the north, the other the Alsea on the south. Heretofore and at the present time we have and have had two agents, one in charge of the Siletz Indians and one in charge of the Alsea Indians. On the Alsea reservation there are about two hundred Indians. On the Siletz reservation there are about twelve hundred Indians. There is no necessity whatever for the Government paying two agents, as it is now doing. The Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Indian Affairs are very anxious to have the authority to transfer the two hundred Indians of the Alsea reservation to the Siletz reservation and have a permanent reservation declared, and throw the rest of the country open to settlement. That is all there is in the amendment. Instead of taking anything out of the Treasury, it simply saves the amount that the Government is now paying in keeping up the Alsea Indian reservation.
      I will say further that this measure is strongly recommended by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and by the Secretary of the Interior, by letters which I have here, and also by a telegram which I have received this morning from the Secretary of the Interior, urging that this be done even though no appropriation be made. He thinks there ought to be an appropriation, but I am advised not to ask any appropriation.
      Mr. THURMAN. I ask the Senator whether his proposition has been considered by any committee?
      Mr. MITCHELL.      I will state that it was submitted to the Committee on Appropriations about the time this bill was reported, and since that time I think I am justified in saying that I have had the consent of a majority of the Committee on Appropriations and also a majority of the Committee on Indian Affairs to offer this amendment.
      Mr. ALLISON. The Committee on Indian Affairs considered this matter very fully and first objected to it simply because there was an appropriation asked of $25,000. Afterward the Committee on Appropriations inserted for the benefit of this tribe $15,000 with the understanding that these two reservations should be consolidated into one. There is no law authorizing it, but the Commissioner of Indian Affairs stated distinctly to us that no additioanl appropriation would be required if these reservations were consolidated. I think they ought to be consolidated.
      Mr. SHERMAN. I desire to say a few words in regard to the character of this legislation. I can give the Senate some examples where this kind of legislation has brought us into trouble. Here is a proposition compulsory in its character without consulting the Indians to remove two hundred from one reservation to another, and the reason given for it is to save the expense of an Indian agency. That is a very small matter. The expense of removing these Indians according to the estimate of the Department is $25,000. That is too much to pay to stop one agency.
      Mr. MITCHELL. That is an entire mistake on the part of the Senator from Ohio.
      Mr. ALLISON. If the Senator will allow me--
      Mr. SHERMAN. If I have the floor I want five minutes; I do not wish to be interrupted. The Senator from Oregon himself said that the Secretary of the Interior had estimated for this service $25,000, but finding he could not get the appropriation or that there was doubt about it, in order to get a mandatory clause in the law for the removal of the Indians he was willing to do it without an appropriation. It was just such an amendment as this to an Indian appropriation bill that caused the Modoc war that cost us $8,000,000.


[Page 1529]

A mandatory provision was made in an appropriation bill to compel the removal of a little band of Indians not two hundred in number. This is a serious matter.
      Mr. THURMAN. Can my colleage tell us how much the Modoc war cost?
      Mr. SHERMAN. Between eight and nine millions, I think, according to the War Department; but I am not certain. It was a great sum of money, and many men were killed in that war. The famous Choctaw claim arose under a resolution offered by a Senator from Arkansas, Mr. Sebastian, which was debated just about ten minutes. An objection was made to it, but Mr. Sebastian turned it off with a few words; and upon that award as it was said to be, a mere resolution of the Senate, was founded the famous Choctaw claim which was defeated in the House of Representatives only a few days ago and which held this very Indian bill for two or three days. The famous award upon which that Choctaw claim rests was made in ten minutes in the Senate and on the motion of a single Senator presenting the report of the Committee on Indian Affairs.
      If we are to consider this question of removing Indians from one reservation to another, it ought to be treated as a serious matter, which it may at any time become. It seems to me that it is sufficient answer to this proposition that it is not reported by the Committee on Indian Affairs, it is not accompanied with the necessary appropriation to carry it into execution, which of itself is a suspicious circumstance; and the reasons for it are not given in a written report. It is manifestly the purpose to disturb this Indian reservation in order to extend the white settlements over a portion of this reservation, a part of it having already been taken, and this mandatory provision requiring the removal of these two or three hundred Indians is to be carried out by money paid out of an appropriation made nominally for some other purpose, perhaps made for the education and support of these very Indians, which will be used in removing them forcibly against their will to some other portion of this same reservation. That is the way it appears to me. I think provisions of this kind ought to be made after examination and upon the responsibility of a written report made from the Committee on Indian Affairs. Then I would not object.
      Mr. ALLISON. These Indians are on this reservation wholly by excutive order. They are not there under any treaty stipulation. They can be removed at any time by executive order without legislation; but as I understand the amendment proposed by the Senator from Oregon, it is to fix by law a reservation for these Indians. It is very easy to propose an amendment as suggested by the Senator from Ohio that these Indians shall not be removed without their consent being first obtained, and I think that would be a very proper amendment. Therefore, if he will allow me, I will offer such a proviso.
      Mr. SHERMAN. I think the proposition ought to come in due form from the Committee on Indian Affairs, and they ought to take the responsibility of it. I am not prepared to frame an amendment.
      Mr. ALLISON. I care nothing about the amendment itself here; I only make a suggestion in reference to it. I move to insert at the end of the amendment this proviso:

      Provided, That these Indians shall not be removed until their consent has been obtained.
      
      Mr. MITCHELL. I desire to say in answer to the honorable Senator from Ohio that he assumes that this whole proceeding, this recomendation of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and of the Secretary of the Interior has been without any investigation of the matter on the ground, without any reference to whether or not the consent of the Indians has been obtained. I will state for the benefit of the Senate that this matter has been investigated not only by the agents of the two reservations but by two Indian inspectors, and their reports are on file in the Indian Department, and upon them the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner based their recommendation.
      As the honorable chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs states, that committee have considered this matter, and the only objection they found was the fact that the original proposition referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs asked for an appropriation of $25,000, not for the purpose of removing these Indians, but for the purpose of constructing grist and saw mills on the Siletz reservation. That is what the Commissioner of Indian Affairs wanted $25,000 for, but the Committee on Appropriations in this bill have provided for that. Consequently there is no necessity for an appropriation in this amendment.
      Again, I call the attention of the Senate to this provision in this bill already agreed to:

      For the general incidental expenses of the Indian service in Oregon, including transportation of annuity goods and presents, (where no special provision therefor is made by treaties) and for paying the expenses of the removal and subsistence of Indians in Oregon, (not parties to any treaty,) and for pay for necessary employes, $50,000.

      So that a general appropriation is already made by the provisions of this bill, a part of which may be applied to the removal of the Indians; and the cost of removing two hundred Indians twenty miles certainly cannot be very much.
      Now, I hope the amendment will be adopted, inasmuch as the chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs says it has been considered and that the only objection raised by that committee has been obviated by the withdrawal of any demand for an appropriation.
      Mr. INGALLS. When this amendment was before the Committee on Indian Affairs my objections were based upon the fact that it involved an appropriation for purposes which I believed to be unnecessary. The Senator from Oregon has endeavored to make the amendment palatable to the Senate by striking out the clause which provides for an appropriation. Upon turning to page 70 of the bill, under the head of incidental expenses of the State of Oregon, to which the Senator from Oregon has just called our attention, I find that the amount of $40,000 originally passed by the House has been raised by the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate to $50,000. If the object is to induce the Senate to adopt this amendment by striking out the appropriation, concealing the fact that the appropriation has been placed in another portion of this bill, I for one am unwilling to be a party to any such transaction. If the Committee on Appropriations have raised the sum for incidental expenses in Oregon from $40,000 to $50,000 to enable this amendment to be put into effect and at the same time to appear to be without expense to the Government, I think it is not exactly a fair transaction. I should like to hear from the committee whether that is the fact or not.
      Mr. MITCHELL. In the absence of any answer from any member of the committee, I will state that I know that had no reference whatever to any contemplated amendment of this kind. The amount was raised on the recommendation of the Department, because the amount inserted in the House bill was wholly insufficient to meet the expenses.
      Mr. INGALLS. Can I have the attention of the Senator from Minnesota for a moment?
      Mr. WINDOM. Yes, sir.
      Mr. INGALLS. I wish to inquire upon what ground the Committee on Appropriations raised the sum for general incidental expenses in Oregon from $40,000 to $50,000.
      Mr. WINDOM. I understand it was for the purpose of removal and general purposes of the Indian service there. The amount appropriated was not enough.
      Mr. INGALLS. Did it involve the expense of the contemplated consolidation of the Alsea and Siletz reservations?
      Mr. WINDOM. I think it did not. We had a request from the Secretary of the Interior for a larger amount in addition to that, and the amount estimated was much larger than the amount appropriated for the Indian service in Oregon.
      Mr. ALLISON. As I understand the matter, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs did state that if this amount was raised to $50,000 it would cover the expenses of removal; and if it is not intended to remove these Indians and consolidate them, I think the amendment enlarging the appropriation ought not to be agreed to.
      Mr. MITCHELL. This is a matter which will come up again in the Senate, I suppose.
      The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on the amendment of the Senator from Iowa to the amendment of the Senator from Oregon.
      The amendment to the amendment was agreed to.
      The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question recurs on the amendment of the Senator from Oregon as amended.
      The amendment, as amended, was agreed to.