Statement of Sam Ahkeah, Chairman, Navaho Tribal Council, Shiprock, N. Mex.

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Mr. Ahkeah, Mr. Chairman and honorable committee. [Mr. Ahkeah spoke in Navaho for a short time.] I said--my delegation has traveled a great distance from the West to the East to the city of Washington where there is a Great White Father. We came to the honorable committee of Congress here to plead for our river rights, water rights, and I am sure today our people would be very happy that the delegation will be heard.

I am Sam Ahkeah. My home is at Shiprock, N. Mex., on the Navaho Reservation, and I am chairman of the Navaho Tribal Council. I wish to make a brief statement to you on behalf of my Navaho people.

My people have been waiting for a great many years for the time to come when we would be able to put to some beneficial use the waters which pass through our lands. We are like all other peoples living in the arid western lands, we can have visions of what water placed upon our lands will do, but we cannot translate these visions into effective action without help. It is beyond our means.

Those of you who are familiar with Indian history in the Southwest may know that even 100 years ago and more my people were struggling to grow crops in the area which is still our land. The early white settlers and Army officers who came to New Mexico in the 1840's and 1850's found our ancestors growing wheat, corn, beans, and other crops. They found us with some well-developed peach orchards. They told of these things in their official reports and in their letters to friends.

Kit Carson tells of the destruction of our fields and crops, and of our orchards in 1863 in order to starve us out so we could not fight. What irrigation we had in those days was very primitive, but even then we were trying in our own way to use the waters which God placed in the rivers running through our lands.

When our people were taken to Fort Sumner, it was with the idea that they would be placed upon the land to become farmers. When we were allowed to return to our homeland in 1868, it was with the idea that we would farm at least some of our lands and thus be able to become self-supporting. We were promised many things, a good many of which have never come to pass. It makes no difference now where the blame may be placed, what is important is that through this great irrigation project many of those promises can at last be kept. We do not wish charity. We do not wish to be supported on a dole. We wish to assume our rightful place as self-supporting citizens of this great country. We think that we have amply demonstrated our ability and willingness to assume the responsibilities of citizenship when we have the chance and the means to do so, both in peace and in war. We know that the Navaho Dam and the entire Shiprock-South San Juan project will cost a great deal of money, but we feel it will be money well spent for all of the taxpayers of this country. It will be less than may be spent if the project is not built to support and maintain us over the years; and in addition it will enable us to support ourselves with the dignity and human satisfaction to which every citizen is entitled. It will enable us to take our rightful place in society.

I would like to be a little more specific. We understand that our Shiprock project will irrigate about 122,000 acres of land. The South San Juan portion of the project will irrigate about 29,000 more acres off of the reservation, but a good deal of it is Indian-allotted lands. Suppose that lands of Navahos in an amount of 125,000 acres are irrigated, both on and off the reservation. They will be concentrated in one agricultural area and bring the Navaho people closer together in their living. There are now about 100 Navaho families living on the lands which will be irrigated, all of whom make for themselves only a substandard living because the land cannot support them. When the land is irrigated, it will make about 1,500 farms of a size to support Navaho families. This means 1,500 families supporting themselves directly from the project, or as near as we can figure it will be about 7,800 people. These people will become self-sufficient and can live with dignity. They will become taxpayers, because even though we do not now pay taxes on our lands, when we make money we pay income tax, and whenever we buy things with the money we have earned, we pay the taxes on these things. Thus you can see some of the money it costs will come back to the Government even indirectly. It will not all be going out.

In addition to the people who live on the farms, there will be many other Navahos who will indirectly make their living out of the project. It will create villages with stores, filling stations, and all kinds of service businesses. We are told that at least 7,800 people not living on the project will be supported by the project. This means a total of about 15,600 of our people will be taken care of. I hope you will realize what a wonderful thing this will be for use, but it will also be wonderful for the United States. It will mean 15,600 more really useful citizens living as we all want United States citizens to live

Let me point out some additional results. One of the things we are promised in the 1868 treaty was schools and education for all our children. This promise has never been kept. It is a difficult promise to keep in some ways, and expensive because of the large area of our reservation and because our children are so widely scattered. It is very difficult to build day schools because enough children cannot get there, and boarding schools are very expensive and are not satisfactory to us. We want our small children to live at home and have a family life just as you do. With this irrigation project a great many of our children will be living in a concentrated area and it will be much easier to provide schools and much less expensive to the taxpayers. The more our children are educated the better they will be able to compete in society and in general, the better citizen they will make, and you will no longer hear of an Indian problem. Our people, and especially our children, are one of the great resources of this country, and this resource should not be wasted any more than any other resource.

I want to say just a little more. We know we are not the only people in the West with a water problem. We believe that the water resources of that area should be put to the best possible use. We recognize that in our own State of New Mexico there are other water problems which must be settled, and we will give our support to the most feasible settlement of those problems.

We think that the most important step that can be taken right now to solve the problems of our people is the early authorization and construction of the Navaho Dam and the Shiprock-South San Juan project. We cannot rise above our present status without this help. We know that you will give this project your serious consideration, and we wish to thank you for giving consideration to our problems.

Thank you.

Mr. Harrison. Thank you very much, Mr. Ahkeah. Mr. Miller, do you have any questions?

Chairman Miller. I think not. Thank you very much.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Engle?

Mr. Engle. No questions.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. D'Ewart?

Mr. D'Ewart, Senator Watkins and I happen to be two members of the Joint Senate House Committee, as you know, Mr. Ahkeah, which was set up under the special legislation wherein we authorized several millions of dollars for the development of your reservation, including such things as better schools, better hospitals, irrigation, and development of your resources. That program is going along, not as fast as you hope, but reasonably well, is it not?

Mr. Ahkeah. A long-range program you are speaking of there, Congressman?

Mr. D'Ewart. That is correct.

Mr. Ahkeah. So far $84 million has been spent, and we feel that if more money was appropriated each year we could do better and are held up because of the lack of money.

Mr. D'Ewart. We have built more hospitals for you, especially the one in southern Utah that has been improved and put into condition, and school facilities have been considerably improved. In fact, I understand that we are building schools better than you think is necessary for the situation which we have to serve.

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Mr. D'Ewart. Those schools, some of them, are too expensive, are they not, for your purposes?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes; we feel that with probably less expensive buildings more schools could be built.

Mr. D'Ewart. I agree with that, too. I think we can use that money to better advantage than we have in the past. We have gone ahead quite well in developing your waterholes and your water prospects, do you not think?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Mr. D'Ewart. Your Indian tribe has cooperated in that work and contributed large sums of money to match that put up by the Federal Government, and as a result a lot of stock water has been developed on the reservation?

Mr. Ahkeah. We have tried to help out with the water problems, putting in wells, with the tribal money, and it has been a big success, too.

Mr. D'Ewart. This Shiprock project that you speak of is a large project that was not included in that long-range program, it is an objective?

Mr. Ahkeah. No; it was not included.

Mr. D'Ewart. That is correct.

How is your road program going forward?

Mr. Ahkeah. The road program is coming fine, but a portion that has been finished is all right, and we need more roads built.

Mr. D'Ewart. I think that is true, too, but they are making progress on that road program, and it is going along very well, I think.

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes; with what money we get. Of course, we do not get all the money we would like to have.

Mr. D'Ewart. Nobody does in this world. Thank, you Mr. Ahkeah.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Regan?

Mr. Regan. You say there are 1,500 families that would be directly benefited through this Shiprock Project and 122,000 acres of the land would be irrigated. How much of that 122,000 would be put in cultivation?

Mr. Ahkeah. That would be the amount. 122,000, would be cultivated.

Mr. Regan. Sir?

Mr. Ahkeah. That many acres, 122,000, would be cultivated.

Mr. Regan. How much of it would be used for grazing land only?

Mr. Ahkeah. This 122,000 is mainly farming, will be farming land. We have plenty other acreage that could be used for grazing, but this would not be in the farming area.

Mr. Regan. Is there any other land now in cultivation?

Mr. Ahkeah. These lands now are used for grazing by the hundred families that we spoke of here.

Mr. Regan. The hundred families?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Mr. Regan. But you speak in your statement of 1,500 families being benefited through this.

Mr. Ahkeah. If the farming project is realized, then the 1,500 families can use the lands.

Mr. Regan. Will all of that land then be put in cultivation or will some of it be used for grazing purposes only?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes; all of this 122,000 acres would be put into farming, irrigated farming.

Mr. Regan. Thank you, Mr. Ahkeah.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Saylor?

Mr. Saylor. Mr. Ahkeah, will these farms be operated by the Navaho people themselves?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes, Congressman; yes.

Mr. Saylor. The reason I ask that question, I have noticed on some of the other reservations, some other tribes, when there have been irrigation projects placed on them, have not had their own tribal members do the farming, they have leased these farms to other people.

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes, I have seen that too, Congressman, but we do not do that with the Navaho people. They want to farm.

Mr. Saylor. Do you feel that there are sufficient people in your tribes that if this project is authorized these farms would be operated by Navahos?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes; we want to operate our own farms, our own land. Yes, Mr. Congressman.

Mr. Saylor. That is the only questions I have.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Aspinall?

Mr. Aspinall. Mr. Ahkeah, when several of the members of this committee visited Farmington last fall, we listened to a Mr. Yellow Man, and Mr. Yellow Man gave us a very fine explanation of his farming activities and of his needs. Is not he and men like him able to compete in the agricultural industry along with anybody else?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes. He is an uneducated man, as you probably remember him, Congressman, and he does very well farming. He has told us that he operates around about 20 acres, and he uses rotation on the crops, and he does very well with raising beans, alfalfa, corn, wheat, and like that. He also said that he does heavy fertilizing in the spring when he prepares for farming. So he does compete very well with the farmers just over across the river.

Mr. Aspinall. We visited his place, and it looked as if it were taken care of by a man who knew what he was doing.

Now you suggest there will be 1,500 families. There have been some statements gone out that the Navaho people were not agriculturists, that they were nomadies, that they liked to graze their domestic animals. Do you think of all of your population you could find 1,500 families who would desire to settle on lands and become agriculturists?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes; we will find those families. We probably must note that we are getting every year so many younger generation getting education, and they go out to colleges and high schools, and they are studying agricultural business, and they learn about it. But so far we do not have a farming land where they can put their education to use.

Mr. Aspinall. In other words, the reason that they are nomadic and grazers at the present time is that they do not have any opportunity to become agriculturists with irrigation facilities; is that not correct?

Mr. Ahkeah. I would say that is the most reason, that is the most cause.

Mr. Aspinall. And if you took care of 15,000-plus people directly and indirectly by this project, you would be taking care of approximately one-fifth of the entire Navaho Reservation at this time, would you not?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right; yes.

Mr. D'Ewart. Will you yield to me?

Mr. Aspinall. Yes, certainly.

Mr. D'Ewart. Mr. Ahkeah, would it not help in getting your tribal members to settle on this project if we gave them a patent in fee to these farmlands instead of a trust?

Mr. Ahkeah. I think it would be better, Congressman; yes, to get a title.

Mr. D'Ewart. I agree with you.

Mr. Aspinall. That is all.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Berry?

Mr. Berry. I was just wondering, do you have any figures on about what it would cost to finance one of these farms, set a family up on one of these irrigated farms, Mr. Ahkeah?

Mr. Ahkeah. Congressman, I believe that is a technical question. Could I call on my engineer to answer that?

Mr. Berry. Yes, he will be testifying, will he?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Mr. Berry. All right. That is all right. I will just wait until he takes the stand.

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Mr. Berry. This area is that area we saw between Farmington and Shiprock?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right.

Mr. Berry. That is all.

Mr. Harrison. Mrs. Pfost?

Mrs. Pfost. No, thank you.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Dawson?

Mr. Dawson. No questions.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Westland?

Mr. Westland. I have one question, Mr. Ahkeah, and perhaps this should be directed to Mr. Larson. But on page 13 of Mr. Larson's testimony he says that if this Navaho project is included a slightly longer period of repayment or a slightly higher power rate to supply the necessary irrigation assistance will be necessary. I wonder if that means this Navaho project is not feasible by itself, and also how much longer a period and how much of an increase in power rates will be necessary.

Mr. Ahkeah. Congressman, that also is a technical question. We have the technical engineer who has been working on it, and I believe he can answer that question.

Mr. Westland. Could I ask Mr. Larson if he could answer that, Mr. Chairman?

Mr. Harrison. If you want. Could you answer that, Mr. Larson?

Mr. E. O. Larson (regional director, region 4, Bureau of Reclamation). I explained in my testimony the net power revenues that would be available, first, to pay off the group of participating projects included in the supplemental report of the Secretary, and then I mentioned if those additional projects were added and the Navaho project, the large one, was added, it might require some extension beyond the 50 years. You see there is only so much power revenue available. The first, Glen Canyon and Echo Park, will pay out in 44 years, and then there would be net revenues up to the 50th year, and keep on. It means if you just keep adding participating projects it may reach the point where it requires slightly longer than 50 years or an increase in the power rate above the estimated average of 6 mills per kilowatt.

Mr. Westland. Would that be another 5 years, would you guess, or 10 years or 7 mills?

Mr. Larson. I do not have my files with me, but I believe 16 years, which would include the Navaho.

Mr. Westland. And the mill rate would go up?

Mr. Larson. Leaving the mill rate at 6 mills, if you raised it a half a mill, of course, that would bring it back down to 50 years, a half mill or so.

Mr. Westland. That is all.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Young?

Mr. Young. No questions.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Rhodes?

Mr. Rhodes. Mr. Ahkeah, I am also on the Permanent Committee for Studying the Navaho-Hopi Rehabilitation Bill, and I was interested in some of your remarks on schools. I have heard it said although we have spent millions of dollars on schools in the Navaho reservation, there are more Navaho children now that cannot go to school than there were when we started because of your rather large birth rate. Is that a correct statement?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is correct, Congressman. Although we send a lot of our children to Washington, Oregon and Nevada, Utah, California, Oklahoma, even then we do not get them all in schools. Those are places where we find schools available for them.

Mr. Young. Do you think a better approach would be to build smaller schools and have them scattered more widely throughout the reservation?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is our thinking, Congressman; yes.

Mr. Young. In other words, go back to the old country school idea?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes. Cheaper schoolhouses might benefit the people.

Mr. Young. Instead of building $10 million plants in one place, scatter them around so the children could stay home and still go to school?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Mr. Young. That is all.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Wharton?

Mr. Wharton. No questions.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Pillion?

Mr. Pillion. No question.

Mr. Harrison. Senator Watkins?

Senator Watkins. You mentioned in your statement that with this irrigation project, a great many of your children will be living in a concentrated area and it will be much easier to provide schools and much less expensive to the taxpayer. Now you have in mind, of course, the area in and around Shiprock, do you not?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes, Senator.

Senator Watkins. Under the 10-year rehabilitation program, at the present time a large school is now being built or nearly finished at that point, is it not?

Mr. Ahkeah. Shiprock?

Senator Watkins. Yes.

Mr. Ahkeah. It is about being finished now.

Senator Watkins. You think it is finished about now?

Mr. Ahkeah. It will be opened probably next fall.

Senator Watkins. Open next fall?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes, sir.

Senator Watkins. How many children will it take care of?

Mr. Ahkeah. We like to figure around about a little over a thousand, with double deck beds put in.

Senator Watkins. About a thousand?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Senator Watkins. Of course, that would not take care of very many of the Indian children that are now not in school?

Mr. Ahkeah. No. I think when it was first started the figure was around 750 children that could be accommodated there. So with the double deck beds put in, we think that probably could be raised to a little better than a thousand children to be placed there in school.

Senator Watkins. As a matter of fact, you have more than 16,000 children now who cannot go to school at all, do you not, children of school age?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right.

Senator Watkins. And notwithstanding the fact that the United States agreed in its treaty that you would have one teacher for each 32 and a schoolroom for each 32?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right.

Senator Watkins. That has been said many times, but that is the truth, is it not?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right; that is the truth.

Senator Watkins. A number of years ago the Congress started what is called the 10-year rehabilitation plan; authorized the appropriation, as I remember of $88 million, and at the same time set up a joint committee on the Navaho and Hopi rehabilitation. I happened to be the chairman of that committee, so I am somewhat acquainted with your problems down there.

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Senator Watkins. Do you have a feeling that the members of your tribe will readily respond and go to this land and fully farm it?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Senator Watkins. And that is the sort of pledge you are giving today: If it is built, you will do that?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes; we will do that.

Senator Watkins. I understand some people have the idea that the Indians do not like to farm. I think they have gained that impression probably from seeing some Indian reservations where they have land but do not farm it and rent it to white people.

Mr. Ahkeah. I farmed all my life, Senator, although I do not live on it, but I like farming. I want to stay there and farm but the work takes me away, as you know. And I, as a Navaho, like farming.

Senator Watkins. How many Navaho Indians are there now?

Mr. Ahkeah. We figure around 73,000.

Senator Watkins. 73,000?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Senator Watkins. Is it not a fact that you increase about 1,200 a year?

Mr. Ahkeah. I think so; yes.

Senator Watkins. With respect to your schools, is it not a fact, now that the children do want to go to school?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes; the children do want to go to school, and also the parents realize that the school is about the only thing. So every year when the school opens a lot of the children have to be sent back, taken back, there would be no room for them anywhere.

Senator Watkins. A number of years ago the big military hospital at Brigham City, Utah, was fitted up as an Indian school under an authorization of Congress. I have been told that when the busses arrived at the collecting points each year to take the students to this school there are many hundreds of schoolchildren who want to go but cannot go, who come to the collecting point in hopes maybe there will be a vacancy that one of them can go. Is that true?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is true. That is the best school we have there, Senator; a very fine school.

Senator Watkins. That is the boarding school that trains them for vocations?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right; yes.

Senator Watkins. I hope this committee and I hope the Senate committee will take a great interest in this matter of the education of these children. I think this project would go a long way to help provide an area where schools can be built, for instance at Shiprock.

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Senator Watkins. It is a fact, is it not, Mr. Ahkeah, that in other places on the reservation there are not many opportunities to get water that is suitable for maintaining the schools or supplying the schools?

Mr. Ahkeah. No; there are very few places where there is water enough to build a big school.

Senator Watkins. At one time the Indians themselves made a survey, and I think they came up with about eight places on the reservation where they could get good water for schools: is that not right?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right.

Senator Watkins. So as a matter of fact, it is very difficult to establish these day schools on the reservation?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right.

Senator Watkins. Many of the Indians live off of the main highways, and the only way they could get to a school would be by bus; would it not?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right.

Senator Watkins. And the buses, of course, many times of the year could not leave these main highways to go out in the areas where the Indians live?

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes. These buses now do a wonderful job hauling children in the Shiprock area, where there are four highways come in, you know, and these buses run a great distance there every morning bringing children.

Senator Watkins. Then that could be extended. If this project is built and you get the necessary aid from the electrical power that is developed and sold, this could be a very good area for concentrating the educational program of the Navaho Indian children?

Mr. Ahkeah. That is what we feel.

Senator Watkins. As you said and I want to repeat, there are more than 16,000 children now who cannot go to school at all simply because of the lack of facilities.

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right. As much as we all try to find schools for them even away from home, off reservation in other States. But so far we are not able to put them all in school.

Senator Watkins. The school at Brigham City, for instance, will only take care of about 2,200 students?

Mr. Ahkeah. About 2,200 or 2,400 there now.

Senator Watkins. 2,400 there now?

Mr. Ahkeah. I think so.

Senator Watkins. I think now they have put in all they possibly can and crowded them as much as they dare in order to give more children an opportunity.

Mr. Ahkeah. That is right.

Senator Watkins. I would like to say to the committee that those children are taking a very active part and respond as few Indian children I have seen in the years that I have been acquainted with the Indian problem. I think they are making remarkable progress and are going to be of great help to you people when they come home and they are trained and able to help you through their vocational training.

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Senator Watkins. And I want to say, also, the Indians cooperated 100 percent with the program for that school and other schools and all the other matters we have been working on in connection with them through this joint committee.

Mr. Ahkeah. Yes.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Fernandez?

Mr. Fernandez. No questions.

Mr. Harrison. Mr. Rogers?

Mr. Rogers of Colorado. No questions.

Mr. Harrison. Thank you very much, Mr. Ahkeah. It is a pleasure to have you here before us.

Mr. Ahkeah. Thank you.

Mr. Harrison. Our next witness is Mr. Maxwell Yazzie, chairman of the engineering committee.


Mr. Yazzie. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Maxwell Yazzie. I am only pinchhitting for Mr. Maloney. I am a member of the Navaho Tribal Advisory Committee and chairman of the engineering committee. My home is at Tuba City, Ariz., on the Navaho Reservation.

I come from the western side of the Navaho Reservation where there are many stockless people. These people cannot now get grazing permits and have stock because there is no [...] on the reservation for more livestock. They have no way to support themselves on the reservation, but it is their home and they do not want to leave and go way off somewhere else. Also many of them would have no way to support themselves anywhere else even if they went. They have not had the opportunity to educate themselves to any other way of life, and to compete in the labor market off the reservation.


We can see no solution to the problem of our people except to make our land resource support more people. We have looked forward for many years to the development of some of our land by irrigation. We now have some very small irrigated areas and some of you may have seen these areas. If you have, you know what a little water can do on our land. Our people have farmed some for many years. Our fathers scratched out some little ditches. We have done the best we could with what is available, but we need help. The Navaho people want to help themselves and live with dignity on their own resources.

If through this Shiprock project we can make less than 1 percent of our land support about 20 percent of our people where it is only supporting less than 1 percent now, we will be achieving much toward self-sufficiency for the Navahos. As you can see, although the project is on the eastern part of the reservation, it will have a big effect upon the living of my people on the western side of the reservation. Many of them want to get on the irrigated land and farm. If they are now using grazing land in the west and move, it will give a stockless Navaho a chance to have a grazing permit. If they have no stock and move to the irrigated land, it will make it possible for them to support themselves.

The Navaho Tribal Council has spent much of its time during the last few years trying to solve the grazing problem. As things are now, there does not seem to be any real solution. This irrigation project will give us a chance to solve the problem. We are now in the process of forming a complete land code for the use of our land. We expect it to provide for the best use of our land resource and to conserve this resource; but the Shiprock project is the most vital part of our land-use code. We have even been negotiating to buy more land around the reservation with our own money so that our people can live. This land, I might say, will not go off of the tax rolls of the States. We will expect to pay the taxes on it. All of what we are doing is tied together, and the Shiprock project is the key to the whole matter. Everyone has a solution to the so-called Indian problem. We think this Shiprock project is one of the ways to solve this problem where the Navahos are concerned. You have the key to at least one door of this problem. We hope that you will open the door to us. Once this door has been opened, many others will follow. One of our problems is education and schools for our children. As Mr. Ahkeah has pointed out, this project will make the education problem more simple and less expensive for everyone. One other thing which has not been mentioned is roads and communication. This problem will be less troublesome in a concentrated population area.

I would like to close by saying that we think that the Shiprock project will have a very good effect upon the economy of the whole four corners area and all of New Mexico. It will create wealth not only for Navahos, but for the whole country. When 75,000 people have a substandard living it pulls the whole area down, but give them a good standard of living and everyone is helped.

Please accept my thanks to you for listening to our story and for the help you can give the Navaho people.

Mr. Harrison. Thank you very much, Mr. Yazzie.

If there are no questions from members of the committee--

Mr. D'Ewart. Mr. Chairman?

Mr. Harrison. Mr. D'Ewart.

Mr. D'Ewart. You say ‘‘they have no way to support themselves on the reservation, but it is their home and they do not want to leave and go way off somewhere else. Also many of them would have no way to support themselves anywhere else even if they went.’’

First, you have quite an extensive sawmill operation that employs Indians, do you not?

Mr. Yazzie. Yes.

Mr. D'Ewart. And then Indians are employed on all the construction work that goes on on the reservation whether it is carried on by the council or by the Federal Government, are they not?

Mr. Yazzie. They have been taken care of very closely in order to do this if they go off the reservation.

Mr. D'Ewart. Then we have quite an extended off-the-reservation program that has found employment off the reservation for large numbers of Navahos. Is that not true?

Mr. Yazzie. That is true, but only to the younger class.

Mr. D'Ewart. I visited the reservation one time when the manpower was so depleted they hardly had enough left to take care of their stock because the Indians had left to go to the vegetable fields, to the railroads, and the points where they were needed for employment, and I think that off-reservation program has been a great help in providing employment for Indians who are willing to take work off the reservation. Do you agree with that?

Mr. Yazzie. Yes.

Mr. D'Ewart. And it has worked reasonably successfully, has it not, and has brought a lot of revenue to the reservation?

Mr. Yazzie. Yes.

Mr. D'Ewart. Not only in employment wages, but also in unemployment benefits?

Mr. Yazzie. Yes. We have to do that in order to make room for others.

Mr. D'Ewart. I would like to make one further comment in regard to Senator Watkins' discussion of the school problem. We have a very fine school at Redlands, Calif., which has 800 or 900 Navaho pupils, as I remember, when I visited it last. It is doing an excellent job in vocational education, and those people who go from there are going home well trained in many lines of work that they can use in useful employment on their reservation.

Mr. Harrison. If there are no further questions, thank you very much, Mr. Yazzie. We appreciate having you before us.

Mr. Yazzie. Thank you.

Mr. Harrison. The next witness before the committee will be Mr. Howard Gorman, chairman of the resources committee for the Navaho Tribal Council.


Mr. Gorman. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Howard Gorman. I live at Ganado, Ariz., on the Navaho Reservation, and I am the chairman of the resources committee of the Navaho Tribal Council. I would like to add a few thoughts in regard to this irrigation project to those that have been expressed by our chairman, Sam Ahkeah.

I have spent most of my time in the last few years working with my people and with the tribal council, trying to work out a program, and to develop the natural resources of our reservation, and we are fostering this development in every way we can. We are trying to get development of our coal resources, and other minerals such as copper.

Our greatest natural resource, however, next to our people themselves, is our land. We are trying to develop and protect that. We have spent a lot of our own money to try and develop underground water by drilling wells. This program has been a success so far, but it isn't enough. We cannot do enough on our own, nor could any other group of people like us. Our people have struggled to live on a grazing economy and it cannot be done. We would need 10 times the land we have and it is not available. We must have more intensive development of our land resource.

The only way that we can see to get more intensive development of our land resource is through this Shiprock irrigation project. I would like to give you a little idea of what it will do for us.

Our reservation is slightly larger than the State of West Virginia. At the present time less than one-tenth of 1 percent of this vast area is under irrigation and can be farmed. When this Shiprock project is built and the land farmed, there will still be slightly less than 1 percent of the total area irrigated and farmed. However, this area of less than 1 percent will then support directly and indirectly approximately one-fifth, or 20 percent of our people. It does not support 1 percent now.

Our people are increasing at the rate of approximately 2 percent each year. The reservation is becoming more and more overcrowded insofar as the people it will support. More and more people will be without grazing permits and have no way to make a living. Intensive use of this very small percentage of our land will offer vast relief to our people. We will be able to put into effect a real range conservation program, and stop overgrazing. Our people will be able to make a real living for themselves, and enjoy the same standards as other people not living on a reservation. As Mr. Ahkeah has said, we know that this project will cost a lot of money, but in the long run it will be the cheapest thing you can do with the taxpayers' money for us. How far do you think that money would go if used annually to support 75,000 Navaho people at the same standard of living they can be raised to with this project completed. Not very far, and when it was spent it would be gone. We believe it will be more economical to help us help ourselves, and that is the way the Navaho people want it. We will do our part.

Thank you for your consideration of our problem.

Mr. Harrison. If there are no questions of Mr. Gorman, we thank you very much. We appreciate having you here before us also.

Mr. Gorman. Thank you.

Mr. Harrison. The next witness before the committee will be the Honorable I. J. Coury, member of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, from Farmington, N. Mex.

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