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Statement About Signing the Indian Financing Act of 1974

April 13, 1974

I TAKE special pleasure today in signing into law S. 1341, the Indian Financing Act.

This bill is the second to be enacted of seven measures which I proposed 4 years ago, when I pledged to follow a new philosophy of self-determination for Indians. The first, enacted in 1970, returned the Blue Lake lands to the Taos Pueblo Indians. It continues to be my hope that, with the support and encouragement of the Federal Government, we can create a new era in which the future of Indian people is determined primarily by Indian acts and Indian decisions.

The Indian Financing Act contains three mechanisms to foster economic development for the betterment of the Indian people. One is the consolidation of three existing revolving loan funds now administered by the Secretary of the Interior, and the authorization of an additional appropriation of $50 million for the fund. The second establishes a program whereby the Interior Secretary can guarantee private loans made to Indian organizations and individuals or, in the alternative, insure such loans in the aggregate. The third establishes an Indian Business Development program in the Department of the Interior which would aid small Indian businesses through grants of up to $50,000 per business. Further, this bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to cooperate with the Small Business Administration, ACTION, and other Federal agencies and private organizations in providing management and technical assistance to an Indian enterprise which qualifies for loan or grant assistance.

The loan guarantee provisions of this bill are especially significant. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has been in the business of making loans to Indians for decades, can cite solid evidence showing that Indians are good loan risks. Unfortunately, the business community has not been fully aware of this fact. The loan guarantee program is the Administration's way of backing up our conviction with Federal money. I hope that enactment of this bill will greatly enhance the financial attractiveness of Indian borrowers in the private sector.

It is also my hope that the enactment of this bill will mark the beginning of a period in which the Congress will promptly send to my desk the remaining proposals I made in 1970 to enable American Indians to become more prosperous and more independent.

I commend the bipartisan work which has made this bill possible and want to see that effort continue for the rest of our Indian legislative program.

Note: As enacted, S. 1341 approved April 12, 1974, is Public Law 93-262 (88 Stat. 77).
The statement was released at Key Biscayne, Fla.

Richard Nixon, Statement About Signing the Indian Financing Act of 1974 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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