Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

February 01, 1895

To the Senate:

I herewith return without my approval Senate bill No. 2338, entitled "An act granting to the Gila Valley, Globe and Northern Railway Company a right of way through the San Carlos Indian Reservation, in the Territory of Arizona."

The reservation through which it is proposed to construct a railroad under the provisions of this bill is inhabited by tribes of Indians which in the past have been most troublesome and whose depredations on more than one occasion have caused loss of life, destruction of property, and serious alarm to the people of the surrounding country; and their condition as to civilization is not now so far improved as to give assurance that in the future they may not upon occasion make trouble.

The discontent among the Indians which has given rise to disturbances in the past has been largely caused by trespass upon their lands and interference with their rights by the neighboring whites. I am in very great doubt whether in any circumstances a road through their reservation should at this time be permitted, and especially since the route, which is rather indefinitely described in the bill, appears to pass through the richest and most desirable part of their lands. In any event, I am thoroughly convinced that the construction of the road should not be permitted without first obtaining the consent of these Indians. This is a provision which has been insisted upon, so far as I am aware, in all the like bills which have been approved for a long time, and I think it should especially be inserted in this bill if, even upon any conditions, it is thought expedient to permit a railroad to traverse this reservation.

The importance of this consent does not rest solely upon the extent to which the Indians have the right of ownership over this land. The fact that the procurement of this consent is the most effective means of allaying the discontent which might arise and perhaps develop into a train of lamentable and destructive outbreaks of violence particularly emphasizes its importance.


Grover Cleveland, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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