Weekly Corvallis Gazette
(Corvallis, Oregon), 28 September 1877, 2, NADP Document D170.
There is a disposition on the part of all the more civilized Indians, upon the Siletz reservation to avail themselves of the rights and privileges accorded them by the government under the act of 1875, securing homesteads to settlers on public lands. We think the law, if fully understood by the Indians, would be more stisfactory to them and far preferable to the present arrangement, and would immediately throw open for settlement a large portion of the public domain in the western portion of our county, now comparatively valueless. There is no good reason in our judgment, why the few Indian heads of families, now on the Siletz reservation, should have from five hundred to one thousand acres each, of the best agricultural land of our county, without cultivation or improvement, while the head of a white family is only allowed one hundred and sixty acres, under compulsion to reside upon and cultivate the same.
We are not of those who think the "Indian better than a white man," nor do we think an "Indian has no rights which a white man is bound to respect." The law should protect each in the enjoyment of his rights. As will be seen by the copy of the U.S. Laws, which we append below, these Indian homesteads shall not be subject to alienation or incumbrance for the space of five years. This is a wise provision, as during that time the Indians will learn the value of their homes and hold them as tenaciously as the average white man. We are indebted to Hon. Ben. Simpson for copy of laws subjointed:
Section 15. That every Indian born in the United States, who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and who has abandoned or may herafter abandon his tribal relation, shall, on making satisfactory proof of such abandonment, under rules to be prescribed by the Secretary of the interior, be entitled to the benefits of the Act entitled "An Act to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain," approved May twentieth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, and the Acts amendatory thereof, except that the provisions of the eighth Section of said Act shall not be held to apply to entries made under this Act: provided, however, that the title to lands acquired by any Indian by virtue, thereof, shall not be subject to alienation or incumbrance, either by voluntary conveyance, or the judgment, decree, or order of any Court, and shall be and remain inalienable for a period of five years from the date of the patent issued thereof: provided, That any such Indian shall be entitled to his distributive share of all annuities, tribal funds, lands, and other property, the same as though he had maintained his tribal relations; and any transfer, alienation, or incumbrance of any interest he may hold or claim by reason of his former tribal relations, shall be void.
Section 16. That in all cases in which Indians have heretofore entered public lands under the Homestead Law, and have proceeded in accordance with the regulations prescribed by the Commissioner of the General Land Office, or in which they may hereafter be allowed to so enter under said regulations prior to the promulgation of regulations to be established by the Secretary of the Interior under the fifteenth Secton of this Act, and in which the conditions prescribed by law have been or may be complied with, the entries so allowed are hereby confirmed, and patents shall be issued thereon; subject, however, to the restriction and limitation contained in the fifteenth Section of this Act, in regard to alienation and incumbrance.
Approved March 3, 1875.