Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on Legislation to Conserve Reindeer Herds in Alaska.

July 19, 1939

My dear Mr. Taylor:

On September 1, 1937, there was enacted into law a measure reasonably calculated to insure to the Eskimos and other natives of Alaska a food supply in perpetuity by eliminating all nonnative ownership of reindeer, by providing for the conservation of the range and the protection of the herds.

Basic to the humanitarian purposes of the act is its authorization of an appropriation of $2,000,000 to purchase those herds now owned by non-natives. No appropriation has, however, been made, although the passage of the measure was preceded by prolonged consideration, and although the provisions of the act have been supported by investigations subsequent to its passage made under the immediate direction of the chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations.

I am deeply interested in the efforts of these people in their struggle to preserve for the future the only controllable food supply for which the tundra areas of Alaska are suitable. In the press of other matters, I hope the commitments of the Reindeer Act of 1937 may not be forgotten and that those who are dependent upon reindeer may be enabled by an adequate appropriation to regain full possession of the industry upon which their future depends, to protect their herds from the inroads of predators, to conserve the grazing areas, and otherwise to reap the full benefits of the reindeer industry.

It must be remembered that reindeer were imported to Alaska at the close of the last century to replace in some measure the indigenous food supply. of the natives, which had been depleted by the expansion of American commerce and industry, and it seems only logical that we now should take the steps called for by the Reindeer Act.

I trust this matter will receive the earnest consideration of your committee and of the Congress.

Very sincerely yours,

Hon. Edward T. Taylor,

Chairman, Committee on Appropriations,

House of Representatives,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on Legislation to Conserve Reindeer Herds in Alaska. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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