Childers v. Beaver

Decision Date12 April 1926
Docket NumberNo. 202,202
Citation270 U.S. 555,70 L.Ed. 730,46 S.Ct. 387
PartiesCHILDERS, State Auditor of Oklahoma, v. BEAVER et al
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Messrs. J. Berry King, of Muskogee, Okl., and George F. Short, of Oklahoma City, Okl., for appellant.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 556-557 intentionally omitted] Mr. Joseph W. Howell, of Tulsa, Okl., for appellees.

Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.

See-sah Quapaw, a full-blood Quapaw Indian woman, died March 4, 1920. She owned certain duly allotted lands in Oklahoma, patented by the Secretary of the Interior September 26, 1896, and declared to be 'inalienable for a period of 25 years' thereafter-all as provided by the Act of March 2, 1895, c. 188, s 1, 28 Stat. 876, 907. Following the state statute of descent, the Secretary declared that the only heirs were her husband and brother-John Beaver and Benjamin Quapaw-full-blood Quapaws. Act June 25, 1910, c. 431, § 1, 36 Stat. 855 (Comp. St. § 4226); Henrietta First Moon v. Starling White Tail, 46 S. Ct. 246, 270 U. S. 243, 70 L. Ed. 565 (March 1, 1926). Restrictions upon the land were continued for another 25 years by the Act of March 3, 1921, c. 119, § 26, 41 Stat. 1225, 1248.

Apparently appellant supposed that the lands passed to the heirs by virtue of the laws of the state and were subject to the inheritance taxes which she laid. He accordingly demanded their payment of appellees and threatened enforcement by summary process and sale of the lands. The court below held that the state had no right to demand the taxes and restrained appellant from attempting to collect them.

The duty of the Secretary of the Interior to determine the heirs according to the state law of descent is not questioned. Congress provided that the lands should descend and directed how the heirs should be ascertained. It adopted the provisions of the Oklahoma statute as an expression of its own will; the laws of Missouri or Kansas, or any other state, might have been accepted. The lands really passed under a law of the United States, and not by Oklahoma's permission.

It must be accepted as established that during the trust or restrictive period Congress has power to control lands within a state which have been duly allotted to Indians by the United States and thereafter conveyed through trust or restrictive patents. This is essential to the proper discharge of their duty to a dependent people, and the means or instrumentalities utilized therein cannot be subjected to taxation by the state without assent of the federal government. The Kansas Indians, 5 Wall. 737, 18 L. Ed. 667; Tiger v. Western Investment Co., 31 S. Ct. 578, 221 U. S. 286, 55 L. Ed. 738; Choctaw, etc., R. R. v. Harrison, 35 S. Ct....

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17 cases
  • Oklahoma Tax Commission v. United States 8212 625
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 14, 1943
    ...of Oklahoma to apply this tax to the estate of a deceased Quapaw Indian were frustrated by this Court's opinion in Childers v. Beaver, 270 U.S. 555, 46 S.Ct. 387, 70 L.Ed. 730, decided in 1926. Shortly afterwards the Oklahoma Supreme Court refused to sustain the tax on an Osage estate under......
  • Clanahan v. State Tax Commission of Arizona 8212 834
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • March 27, 1973
    ...Reversed. 1 See e.g., Oklahoma Tax Comm'n v. United States, 319 U.S. 598, 63 S.Ct. 1284, 87 L.Ed. 1612 (1943); Childers v. Beaver, 270 U.S. 555, 46 S.Ct. 387, 70 L.Ed. 730 (1926); United States v. Rickert, 188 U.S. 432, 23 S.Ct. 478, 47 L.Ed. 532 (1903); The Kansas Indians, 5 Wall. 737, 18 ......
  • Arenas v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of California
    • April 27, 1956
    ...J.). Here "the lands really passed under a law of the United States", and not by California's permission. Childers v. Beaver, 1926, 270 U.S. 555, 559, 46 S.Ct. 387, 388, 70 L.Ed. 730. Until recently it could be stated as a general proposition that Indian lands held under trust patents, such......
  • Hudson Oil Co. v. Board of County Commissioners of Fremont County
    • United States
    • Wyoming Supreme Court
    • December 10, 1935
    ... ... purposes, to assess and tax the lands in question until at ... least the fee was conveyed to the Indians." See also ... Childers, State Auditor of Oklahoma v. Beaver, 270 ... U.S. 555, 46 S.Ct. 387, 70 L.Ed. 730. Accordingly, all the ... parties to the instant case appear to ... ...
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