« PreviousContinue »
restrictions upon the land awarded an individual claimant would expire on his death is designed to avoid the heirship problems that have presented so many difficulties in the administration of Indian property in the continental United States. The amendments would also permit the Secretary of the Interior to terminate at any time the restrictions with respect to the lands or money of any specific community of natives or any specific individual native if the Secretary determines that such community or individual native no longer needs the benefits of those restrictions.
In order to develop experience in the management of lands by those communities or persons to whom restricted awards are made, the amendents would permit the owner to lease the lands and any improvements thereon for a period of not more than 5 years and to sell the products of the lands, without regard to any restriction on alienation, unless such lease or sale would involve the disposition of a capital resource, such as a stand of timber or a deposit of minerals. The owner would also be permitted, with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, to sell, mortgage, lease, or otherwise alienate any lands in a restricted award.
In order to develop experience in the expenditure of money by those communities or persons to whom restricted awards are made, the amendments would provide that one-half of all income accruing on any restricted award of money should be paid over as it accrues to the community or individual native for whom the award is held in trust. The principal of any such award, together with all income not so paid over, would be available, with the approval of the Secretary, for advance to or expenditure on behalf of the community or individual native for whom it is held in trust.
The amendments would place jurisdiction over the probate of the estates of persons holding restricted lands or moneys awarded under the bill in the tribunals having jurisdiction over probate matters in Alaska. This would relieve the Secretary of the Interior from the duty of probating such estates under section 1 of the act of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 855), as amended (25 U. S. C., sec. 372). Distribution of estates would be in accordance with the laws of Alaska, but, in order to protect the family of the decedent, approval of wills by the Secretary would be required, and debts incurred by the decedent would be chargeable against the estate only if of the types customarily given priority by law or if incurred with the approval of the Secretary. In the case of restricted awards of land the amendments, by providing for the use of patents in fee containing a restriction on alienation instead of trust patents, would also obviate the necessity for the issuance of new patents upon the termination of the period of restrictions.
I fully agree with the intent of the bill that no new Indian reservations should be created in Alaska under authority of section 2 of the act of May 1, 1936 (49 Stat. 1250; 48 U. S. C., sec. 358a). However, I would question the wisdom of repealing that section in its entirety, because of the problems which such a repeal might raise with respect to the status of the existing reservations. The proposed amendments, therefore, include a prohibition against the use of that section to create new reservations, but do not provide for its repeal.
In addition to these matters of a substantive character, the proposed amendments set forth in the enclosure to this report cover a number of minor points on which clarification, expansion, or implementation of the bill appears desirable. · Finally, I come to the question of what period of time should be imposed as a statute of limitations upon the filing of claims of possessory rights to lands in Alaska. As written, H. R. 1921 provides that within 6 months from the date of its approval, the Secretary of the Interior shall publish a notice that all claims of possessory rights to lands in Alaska must be filed with the Court of Claims within 2 years from the date of such notice. All claims not so filed within the time so specified would be forever barred. The Department has received suggestions from various organizations and persons that these provisions would not afford sufficient time for the employment of counsel by the natives, for a review of the choice of counsel and the fee arrangements by the Department in those cases where the claimant is a community of natives, for an investigation and analysis by the attorney of his client's claim, and for the drafting of a statement of the claim by the attorney and its approval by his client. The suggestions received generally advocate a 5-year statute of limitations, which is the period of time allowed by section 12 of the Indian Claims Commission Act of August 13, 1946 (60 Stat. 1052; 25 U. S. C., sec. 70k) for the filing of claims under that Act. In view of the importance which the natives of Alaska and organizations interested in their welfare appear to attach to this question, your committee may wish
With the 15 percent in our State, if we had the minerals in the State, we could go to town, as far as that goes. I grant you that perhaps some arrangement would have to be made as is being made here for maintenance. They cannot maintain that road system up there. However, my chief proposal here is not so much to the volume that is granted to Alaska as to the quality granted to Alaska. If you gave them the minerals, that would have no effect at all, letting the United States have the surface.
Senator CLEMENTS. Mr. Chairman, do I understand this is one of the sections that will be marked with a question, to be taken up by the full committee?
The CHAIRMAN. That is right. I would suggest that Senator Barrett try to prepare some language that he thinks would cover his suggestions.
Senator BARRETT. I will work on that. It is an awfully easy matter to do it if you want to give them the benefit of the minerals.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to say again that I think we should give them the whole 280 million acres unappropriated, with a proviso for them to get the other 90 or 100 million ultimately.
Senator DANIEL. Mr. Chairman, let me suggest here that if you can do it any way without separating the surface from the minerals, I think it is a good thing, because we had quite an experience in Texas with the State retaining all the minerals on lands it sold in west Texas, and came along later and had to pass a relinquishment act to get the minerals back into the hands of the surface owners, retaining an interest for the State, because we found that by having them separated you had a conflicting interest; and it could work the same way in Alaska. It is not a very good thing to have one surface owner and a different mineral owner, if you can avoid it.
Senator BARRETT. I agree. I think it is a matter of principle here. I think our system of reservations has been very poor and very unwise.
The CHAIRMAN. The question of the State's share of the road construction fund is pretty well covered in a letter that we reecived addressed to the committee under date of August 13 from the Commissioner of Public Roads. I think I will insert the letter in the record so it will be available to everybody. I will read the last paragraph:
The normal matching ratio on Federal-aid projects is 50 percent State funds and 50 percent Federal funds. However, in any State having over 5 percent of its area in unappropriated or unreserved public lands, and nontaxable Indian lands the Federal share is increased by a percentage of the remaining cost equal to the percentage that the area of all such lands in the State is of its total area. The third tabulation attached shows the sliding-scale rates of Federal aid participation in public-land States. Since Alaska has 72.69 percent of its total area in public lands, its matching would be on the basis of 13.66 percent Alaska funds and 86.34 percent Federal funds.
We will put that in the record, and it may be of some interest and information.
(The letter referred to follows:)
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,
BUREAU. OF PUBLIC ROADS,
Washington 25, August 13, 1953. Hon. HUGH BUTLER, United States Senate,
Washington, D. C. (Attention: Mr. Kirkley S. Coulter.) DEAR SENATOR BUTLER: This is in reply to a recent request by telephone for additional information regarding highway expenditures in Alaska and the approximate amounts of Federal-aid funds that would be apportioned to Alaska under the present apportionment formulas if extended to include Alaska.
The first attached tabulation shows the amounts of highway construction expenditures made in Alaska during the period 1946-52 by various agencies, This provides more detail with respect to the information furnished with our letter of April 27, 1953,
The Federal-aid Highway Act of 1952 authorized a total of $575 million for each of the fiscal years 1954 and 1955, for four classes of highway improvement. These funds are for apportionment among the 48 States, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico as follows:
1. For improvements to the Federal-aid primary highway system, $247.5 million apportioned one-third according to area, one-third according to mileage of rural delivery and star routes, and one-third according to total population, no State to receive less than one-half of 1 percent of the total.
2. For improvements to the Federal-aid secondary highway system, $165 million apportioned one-third according to area, one-third according to mileage of rural delivery and star routes, and one-third according to rural population, no State to receive less than one-half of 1 percent of the total.
3. For improvements to urban portions of the Federal-aid primary highway system, $137.5 million apportioned according to the population of places of 5,000 or more, with no provision for a minimum percentage.
For improvements to the national system of interstate highways, $25 million apportioned according to the same formula as for primary funds.
Funds authorized for the fiscal year 1954 were apportioned effective November 1, 1952. Were Alaska made eligible to share in funds authorized for the fiscal year 1955, which are required to be apportioned by January 1, 1954, the approximate amounts apportioned to Alaska under the present formulas would be: Primary, $12,900,000; secondary, $8,625,000; urban, $41,000; total, $21,566,000. Should the apportionment formulas be revised to use in the calculations only one-half of the area of Alaska, as was proposed by section 10 of 8. 3424, 81st Congress, 2d session, the approximate amounts apportioned to Alaska would be: Primary, $7,084,000; secondary, $4,757,000; urban, $41,000; total, $11,882,000.
The second attached tabulation shows the apportionment of Federal-aid funds for the fiscal year 1954.
The normal matching ratio on Federal-aid projects is 50 percent State funds and 50 percent Federal funds. However, in any State having over 5 percent of its area in unappropriated or unreserved public lands, and nontaxable Indian Jands the Federal share is increased by a percentage of the remaining cost equal to the percentage that the area of all such lands in the State is of its total area. The third tabulation attached shows the sliding-scale rates of Federal-aid participation in public-land States. Since Alaska has 72.69 percent of its total area in public lands, its matching would be on the basis of 13.66 percent Alaska funds and 86.34 percent Federal funds.
We will be pleased to furnish any further information you may require regarding the Federal-aid highway program. Very truly yours,
F. V. DU PONT,
Commissioner of Public Roads. Senator JACKSON. Do I understand, Mr. Chairman, that as the percentage of public lands decreases by virtue of turning over to the Territory additional acreage, the amount of matching funds available to Alaska for the highway program will be less ?
Mr. SLAUGHTER. Not exactly. More accurately, the amount of matching funds that the State will have to put up would be higher.
Senator JACKSON. Their amount will be increased, but they will not get any more than they would under the present allotment from the Federal Government?
Mr. SLAUGHTER. The apportionment is not affected by the amount of public lands. The amount of public lands, however, affects the percentage that has to be matched.
Senator JACKSON. By the State?
Senator Jackson. So Alaska will have to put up more money if the total public land acreage is decreased? Is that correct?
Mr. SLAUGHTER. Right.
you came in. Let me ask this question, Mr. Chairman: What would be wrong with putting language in this bill substantially along these lines: Notwithstanding any grants made in this act, the contribution of the Federal Government for public roads in Alaska shall be on the basi of the status of the public domain on January 1, 1954, until, say 1975, leaving the thing 86 percent and 13 percent.
Senator JACKSON. I think that is an excellent suggestion, to freeze it, in other words. Senator BARRETT. Yes. Mr. BENNETT. As of the date of enactment. Senator BARRETT. Say for 25 years, or something like that.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we are all convinced that the Territory cannot develop as a State without developing its highways, and they are going to need help in doing that even after they become a State.
I am very much in favor of a proposal similar to that which Senator Barrett has made. We will make a notation of it up here.
Senator CLEMENTS. Not only that, Mr. Chairman, but also that they receive some direct preferential aid within the first few years of statehood.
Senator BARRETT. For maintenance.
The CHAIRMAN. As I have my copy marked here, the part that we are putting a question mark on, at Senator Cordon's suggestion, is on page 37.
Senator CLEMENTS. Section (b). The CHAIRMAN. Section (b). Now, (c), page 38, line 4: Commencing with the year during which Alaska is admitted into the Union, the Secretary of the Treasury, at the close of each fiscal year, shall pay to the State of Alaska, in addition to payments made under the provisions of 16 United States Code 500, 124 per centum of the money received during such fiscal year from the national forests of Alaska in lieu of any grants of land inside the national forests, other than as provided for in subsection (a) above.
Senator CLEMENTS. That is an increase from the 25.
The CHAIRMAN. We have spoken several times here of the Tongass Forest Act. Senator Jackson and Senator Clements, I think, were
in the House when that was passed. I have a proposal for section 3 (a) of the joint resolution.
On page 9, line 4, after (c) insert “(1)”, and then between lines 11 and 12 insert the following:
(2) Section 3 (a) of the joint resolution entitled “Joint resolution to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to sell timber within the Tongass National Forest,” approved August 8, 1917 (61 Stat. 920), is hereby repealed. Amounts in the special account established under such section on the date of enactment of this Act shall not be subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section and shall be covered into the general fund of the Treasury, subject to the provisions of section 13 of the Act of March 1, 1911 (16 U. S. C. 500). Amounts hereafter received from the sale of timber or lands under section 2 of such joint resolution shall be deposited in the Treasury to the credit of miscellaneous receipts, subject to subsection (c) of this section and the provisions of section 13 of such Act of March 1, 1911.
In other words, we are trying to cancel that provision which was in the Tongass Forest Act setting up for an indefinite period the accumulation of this fund that comes from the sale of timber.
Senator CLEMENTS. The Indian claims.
Senator JACKSON. Mr. Chairman, there is just one thing I would like to call to the attention of the committee at this point. I made the observation at a previous session. The Ketchikan Pulp Co., which we all visited during the past summer, does have a contract with the Forest Service to purchase timber from the Tongass National Forest. It is provided in the contract, among other things, that if the amount of timber said to be available for purchase by the Ketchikan Pulp Co. should not be available in the area set out in the contract, then the company has the right to select timber from additional areas within the national forest.
I have received a letter from the attorney for the company expressing his concern over any possible revision of the Tongass National Forest, such as turning over part of it to the new State, or any other disposition that we might make. He expresses the concern that if such should be done, it would violate the provisions of the contract that they have with the Forest Service.
I am merely making this statement for the record. This amendment that you have offered, I am sure is not to be offered to impair that contract in any way. I felt this statement should be made by me so there will be no misunderstanding about what we are doing.
The CHAIRMAN. I am not an attorney, Senator, but I will ask Mr. Bennett or Mr. Slaughter, or both of them, if the proposed amendment does in any way affect that contract. I do not think it would.
Mr. BENNETT. It does not affect the warranty against any adverse possessory claim which is contained in the act itself.
Senator Jackson. I am concerned to this extent, Mr. Bennett: It might impair their title or the warranty they received from the Federal Government. The funds are not being held in trust, and there might be the contention that, with this amendment, the people who are making alleged claims to the Tongass National Forest would not have any means of collecting any judgment that they may or may not receive in connection with suits pending or suits that might be instituted hereafter.
My offhand, curbstone guess is that this would not impair their contract. I would like the record to show—and I am sure I am cor