Relief of Indians of the Gila River and Papago Reservations, Ariz.
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (S. 3393) for the relief of the Indians of the Gila River and Papago Reservations, in the State of Arizona, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with the recommendation that the bill do pass without amendment.
My Dear Senator: This will refer further to your letter of April 5, transmitting for report and recommendation a copy of S. 3393, introduced by Senator Cameron, proposing an appropriation of $75,000 for the relief of the Indians of the Gila River and Papago Reservations, in Arizona. This bill is identical with S. 3399, introduced by Senator Ashurst, which you transmitted on April 7. I urgently recommend that one or the other of these bills receive the favorable consideration of your committee and of Congress.
With respect to the Gila River Reservation, it appears that during the past two years there has been very little snowfall in the watersheds of the Gila River, with resultant small run-off; that there has been very little rain and the river is now dry; that the Indians of the Sweetwater, Babecho, Casa Blanca, Sacate, Snaketown, and Stotenec districts will be unable to make a crop, as there is no water available for irrigation; that they are now in very straitened circumstances; and that with the impending crop failure they are facing actual starvation. The superintendent has taken a very careful census of the districts mentioned and reports that 284 families, comprising 993 individuals, will have to be carried through to another crop season. The situation is so serious that chambers of commerce in the vicinity have by formal resolution and otherwise brought it to the attention of Members of Congress. There is attached hereto copy of such a resolution adopted by the Chamber of Commerce of Chandler, Ariz.
The situation on the Papago Reservation is just as bad. The Indians of this reservation have been practically self-supporting in the past. Last year there was an unusual drouth with resultant heavy loss of cattle and horses, thereby greatly impoverishing the Indians. There was no rain at all the past winter, and consequently no crops will be raised this spring. In some places the water holes for stock have dried up. The Indians are anxious and willing to work, but can find no employment. But for the fact that a market was found for some of their ponies there would be, already, starvation among the Indians; however, this afforded only temporary and partial relief, as many of the Indians have neither horses nor cattle.
Should the appropriation be made, it is the intention to utilize the greater portion of the money for the employment of Indian labor in road work and other reservation activities, both of the reservations mentioned being greatly in need of improved facilities of this nature. Basket making is perhaps the principal native industry of the Indians of the reservations, and if encouragement and help can be given them to further develop this industry it will contribute very materially to their support. This is one of the objects of the appropriation.
Now, therefore, we, the undersigned Chamber of Commerce of the State of Arizona, do hereby respectfully petition the Government of the United States of America that a suitable appropriation be made for the care of these Indians during the period, the appropriation to be immediately available, and be it
Resolved, That copies hereof be transmitted to the United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to the Committee on Indian Affairs of the United States Senate, the Committee on Indian Affairs of the United States House of Representatives, and to the United States Senators and United States Congressman from the State of Arizona.