Colorado River Indian Programs: Statement of Antone Gonzales, Colorado River Tribal Council, Parker, Ariz

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About the Project

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Source: Subcommittee Procedure, Statement of Antone Gonzales

Senator Stevens. We call the committee back to order. I just conferred with the chairman of the subcommittee. He asked me again to finish the list of witnesses we have here this afternoon, because we have a complete list of witnesses tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon, and then Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon, running right through the week.

So I would appreciate it if you would again file your statement for the record and highlight it. Let us know what is the key in terms of your requests, in terms of dollars, and the justification for that. I am going to have to insist on that because we have eight more witnesses, and we have just a little under an hour left for the use of this room. Mr. Gonzales, of the Colorado River Tribal Council, are you here, sir?


Mr. Gonzales. Mr. Chairman, I will introduce my constituents.

Senator Stevens. It is nice to have you with us. Will you identify the people with you here, please?

Mr. Gonzales. Mr. Chairman and members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I would like to express our gratitude for giving us this opportunity to appear before this committee, as elected leaders of the Colorado Indian tribes. Although I know I have only 5 minutes to make my presentation, I would like to take the time to introduce some of the tribal delegation who have traveled to Washington, D.C., with me.

First, on my left, is Mrs. Veronica Murdock, who was elected secretary-treasurer of the Colorado River Tribal Council. Mr. Edward Swick on my right, who is a tribal council member. Also the coordinator for the tribe. On my far right is Mr. Elliott Booth, who is a tribal member, and is the director of the Native American Indian Programs in Action. I also have Mr. Dan C. Scott, who stepped out.


They are here, along with myself, for the purpose of obtaining funds in the amount of $6,185,000 to supplement the drastically reduced Bureau of Indian Affairs budget for the construction of our irrigation and power projects. Since this is our first presentation before this committee, you may not be aware that we have received added funds, and with those funds we have accomplished the following: One, completed 5.7 miles with approximately $627,000. Two, lined 1.6 miles of main canal with approximately $780,000. Three, lined 2⅔, miles of lateral 33, with approximately $360,000. Four, we extended lateral 98.5 miles and lined 5.5 miles with approximately $1 million.

These projects are reflected in more detail in the written testimony and material submitted. As a result of added funds appropriated, approximately 5,500 acres of land were developed this past year, increasing the tribe's income approximately $57,000.

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These funds have been of tremendous assistance in sustaining the tribe's labor force of 137 employees, that carry out numerous programs with financial assistance from another source. Even as we have received financial assistance, working toward the completion of our irrigation system, we have moved forward to the point where we are now 65 percent toward our goal in this 108-year-old project.

However, you can understand the frustration generated by the slow movement of these projects, and our desire for their immediate completion prior to the inception of the Arizona project, which we feel will divert irrigation water from the Colorado tribes' water allocation.

In summary, it is my purpose in making this request for the general independence, prosperity, and survival of my people as a race. Mr. Chairman, with due consideration of your busy schedule and time consuming appointments which are necessary in your duties, we have a desire that if, when you can find time, we would be most grateful for your visit to our people on our reservation, as we would greatly honor this privilege.


I would like to go on further with the health facility aspects of my presentation. It has been stated that this is the worst Indian Health Service hospital in the Phoenix area. It has so many deficiencies that it should be replaced instead of modernized because of extreme costs and other factors involved. This hospital was built in 1929 and is now antiquated. It does not meet accredited standards and will not unless a new facility is constructed along with housing units for staff.

Senator Stevens. Mr. Gonzales, how much money do you want for that? I do not see any dollar sign.

Mr. Gonzales. No; you do not. This is a request to look into our resolution. I feel that the Public Health Service in the Phoenix area will be coming forth with the amount.

Senator Stevens. You want the Indian Health Service to tell us why they are not asking money to replace that hospital; is that it?

Mr. Gonzales. Yes; we need this kind of support in order to get this facility moving.

Senator Stevens. All right, we will do that. If the committee will not do it, I will do it myself. We will do that, and I want you to promise me that if I do that you will come up and we will show you some hospitals that are really antiquated.


You are asking $3.8 million for irrigation construction, $2.375 million for your power construction. Those are the two items that you have in the major presentation.

Mr. Gonzales. Yes, sir.

Senator Stevens. You said that we gave you money in the budget last year, and you built 3.7 miles of laterals.

Mr. Gonzales. Yes.

Senator Stevens. I seem to have in mind that you mentioned a cost figure. How much did those cost you?

Mr. Gonzales. The first are approximate figures. The first one was completing lining lateral.

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Senator Stevens. That was my question. It seemed like it was going to cost a lot more money for 2.5 miles than it did for 3.7. You are lining those. The laterals are already installed; is that it?

Mr. Gonzales. Some of it, yes; and some of it new-built extension canals, main canals. So we can bring in another 30,000 acres.

Senator Stevens. That was my other question. If you had that irrigation money, how many new acres would you put under irrigation? You have an irrigation add-on of $3.8 million. If you had that much money, how many new acres would you have under irrigation?

Mr. Gonzales. 10,000 new acres.

Senator Stevens. Would you be rehabilitating any existing irrigated acreage?

Mr. Gonzales. No; this is brush land.

Senator Stevens. What crops are you growing?

Mr. Gonzales. Alfalfa, cotton, wheat, and we have what you call truck crops, lettuce, cantaloups, tomatoes.

Senator Stevens. Do you have any surplus crops down there now?

Mr. Gonzales. Yes; they are harvesting right now. Lettuce.

Senator Stevens. I mean surplus. Any crops that are in excess of your ability to sell them.

Mr. Gonzales. No; this is more or less done by the non-Indian farmers. Since 1964, when we got title to the reservation, we were held down because of our leasing abilities for 25 years for redevelopment of lands. If we had the money we would have done it ourselves. But in order to get the reservation developed we have gone into the recent development.

Senator Stevens. Why do you have so much of air increase in your power demands? Is it associated with the irrigation pumping?

Mr. Gonzales. It sure is. We have drainage problems where the water table is high. We have our people moving into better housing and using coolers that we never did have.

Senator Stevens. How much of that power demand is associated with irrigation and how much of it was industrial, residential, commercial, and not irrigation demand; do you know?

Mr. Gonzales. Not right offhand.

Senator Stevens. What I am getting at is that if we meet this power demand and you have an increased irrigation construction, then you will have increased power demand? Or is your power construction figure taking into account the amount of power to meet the new irrigation facilities?

Mr. Gonzales. I think my statement in there justifies that we feel that with the growth and development of our reservation, and the added development in the irrigation system, that we are going to need this power. Plus, we have added housing facilities.

Senator Stevens. Fine. Very good. You have made a very good presentation, Mr. Gonzales. We appreciate it, and your statement will be inserted into the record.

Mr. Gonzales. Thank you.

Senator Stevens. Unfortunately, there is another vote. We will take another recess.

[Whereupon, a brief recess was taken.]

[The statement follows:]

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