United States v. Brooks

Decision Date28 February 1940
Docket NumberNo. 680.,680.
Citation32 F. Supp. 422
PartiesUNITED STATES ex rel. MARKS v. BROOKS, Justice of Peace, et al.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Indiana

Elmer Morris, of Peru, Ind., for plaintiff.

Fred W. Eley, Deputy Atty. Gen., of Indiana, Counsel for Department of Conservation, and Eugene M. Weesner, Pros. Atty., of Wabash, Ind., for defendants.

SLICK, District Judge.

Frank Marks, alias "Ko-A-Chin-Wah", a Miami Indian of the Miamis of Indiana, residing in Wabash County, Indiana, filed a complaint in this court asking an injunction against Benjamin Brooks, Justice of Peace of Noble Township, Wabash County, Indiana, and the Conservation Department of the State of Indiana. Plaintiff alleges that he was unlawfully arrested on process issued out of the court of said Benjamin Brooks on an affidavit made by the State Conservation Department, charging him with the unlawful possession of a pet raccoon, in violation of the Conservation laws of the state of Indiana; that he stood trial for said offense, was found guilty and fined $10 and costs, and that he has reason to believe a commitment has been issued by defendant Brooks for his arrest because the fine has not been paid. Plaintiff brings this action alleging that said Justice of the Peace court does not have jurisdiction over him because he is a Miami Indian, and prays the court to assume jurisdiction of all matters arising in or pertaining to said action in the court of defendant Brooks, and that a restraining order and injunction issue against defendants restraining them from prosecuting said plaintiff.

A temporary restraining order was granted pending a hearing on the merits of the case. The prosecuting attorney of Wabash County and the Attorney General of the State of Indiana entered their appearance. Evidence and argument was heard on the application to make the temporary restraining order permanent.

The state contends that Federal Courts are without power and authority to enjoin proceedings in a state court. This is clearly stated by the provisions of Section 265 of the Judicial Code, Title 28 U.S. C.A. § 379, which provides as follows: "The writ of injunction shall not be granted by any court of the United States to stay proceedings in any court of a State, except in cases where such injunction may be authorized by any law relating to proceedings in bankruptcy." However, this section is not applicable where the state court was without jurisdiction. Pierce v. National Bank of Commerce in St. Louis, 8 Cir., 282 F. 100. And many cases hold that where the injunctive process of a Federal Court is invoked to protect its own jurisdiction this section has no application.

Therefore, in order to grant the relief asked for, it is necessary for this court to definitely decide that the plaintiff, being a Miami Indian, is subject only to the jurisdiction of the United States court. The court is thus obliged to decide in this injunction action the exact status of the Miami Indians residing in Indiana — are they citizens of the United States and subject to all the laws of the state of Indiana as such citizens, or are they wards of the United States government residing on a reservation? If they are wards of the government and residing on a reservation, as plaintiff alleges, the law is clear that the state of Indiana would have no power to interfere with the Indians through any state regulations. United States v. Thomas, 151 U.S. 577, 14 S.Ct. 426, 38 L.Ed. 276.

In addition to claiming that this court has sole jurisdiction, plaintiff contends that, under the treaties made with his tribe, the members of the tribe are immune from fishing and hunting restrictions laid down by the Conservation Department of the State.

To reach a conclusion in this case, it has been necessary to make a thorough study of the history of the treaties and laws in connection with the Miami Indians. A brief outline of the treaties and laws in question follows:

History before Indiana was admitted to the Union:

Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795, II Kappler, 39, 7 Stat. 49.

Entered into by 14 Confederated Tribes of Indians, composing the Great Miami Nation of the Northwest Territory, and Major General Anthony Wayne, sole Commissioner of the U. S.

The purpose of this treaty was to put an end to war and settle controversies. A boundary line was established between the lands of the United States and lands of 14 tribes of Indians, including the Miamis. Certain lands were ceded by the Indians to the United States, and claims of the United States to other lands were relinquished by the United States to the Indians.

Article V of this treaty reads as follows: "To prevent any misunderstanding about the Indian lands relinquished by the United States in the fourth article, it is now explicitly declared, that the meaning of that relinquishment is this: The Indian tribes who have a right to those lands, are quietly to enjoy them, hunting, planting, and dwelling thereon so long as they please, without any molestation from the United States; but when those tribes, or any of them, shall be disposed to sell their lands, or any part of them, they are to be sold only to the United States; and until such sale, the United States will protect all the said Indian tribes in the quiet enjoyment of their lands against all citizens of the United States."

Article VII of this treaty provides: "The said tribes of Indians, parties to this treaty, shall be at liberty to hunt within the territory and lands which they have now ceded to the United States, without hindrance or molestation, so long as they demean themselves peaceably, and offer no injury to the people of the United States."

Treaty of Fort Wayne, June 7, 1803. II Kappler 64, 7 Stat. 74.

The Treaty of Grouseland, Aug. 21, 1805. II Kappler 80, 7 Stat. 91.

By these treaties the Miamis made further cessions to the United States of land in Indiana. No reference was made to provisions of Treaty of Greenville and no rights of any kind reserved by Miamis.

Treaty with the Delawares, etc., Sept. 30, 1809, at Fort Wayne, II Kappler 101, 7 Stat. 113.

Tribes, including the Miamis, ceded further land and reserved hunting rights as set out in Treaty of Greenville. But property so ceded was not located in Wabash County, the residence of plaintiff.

Act of Congress, April 19, 1816 (Burns' Ind.Statutes, Vol. 1, Page 302 (1933) 3 Stat. 289.

Provided that people of the state of Indiana might form a constitution and be admitted into the Union, "provided, that the same, whenever formed, shall be republican, and not repugnant to those articles of the ordinance of the thirteenth of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven," etc. § 4.

Ordinance of 1787 (Burns' Ind.Statutes, Vol. I, page 288 at 291 (1933).

Art. III is as follows: "The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they never shall be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity shall from time to time be made, for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them."

By act of convention of state of Indiana, Congressional Enabling Act of 1816 accepted (Burns' Ind. Vol. 1, p. 304), and by resolution of Congress approved Dec. 11, 1816, state of Indiana was declared to be member of Union (Burns' Vol. I, p. 305).

Treaty of St. Marys, Oct. 6, 1818. II Kappler 171, 7 Stat. 189.

Miami tribe by this treaty ceded more land to the United States, reserved certain portions, including land where petitioner lives and where offense was committed. No hunting and fishing rights reserved — no mention of Treaty of Greenville.

Treaty at the mouth of the Mississinewa, Oct. 23, 1826. II Kappler, 278, 7 Stat. 300.

Miami tribe by this treaty ceded additional land to the United States and several reservations of land were set off to the Miamis. Article VIII of this treaty made the following provision "The Miami tribe shall enjoy the right of hunting upon the land herein conveyed, so long as the same shall be the property of the United States."

Treaty at the forks of the Wabash, 1834. II Kappler, 425, 7 Stat. 463.

Further cessations. No reservation of hunting rights.

Treaty at the forks of the Wabash, 1838. II Kappler, 519, 7 Stat. 569.

Part of reservations ceded to the U. S., but from this cession the Miami tribe reserved for the band of Ma-to-sin-ia, certain tracts of land. Provisions made for exploration of land west of the Mississippi for use of the tribe when they "may be disposed to emigrate from their present country." Art. 10. The tract reserved for the use of the band of Me-to-sin-ia is now included in Grant and Wabash Counties. No mention of hunting rights.

Treaty of Nov. 28, 1840 at the Forks of the Wabash. II Kappler, 531, 7 Stat. 582.

Miami tribe ceded to the U. S. all of their remaining lands in Indiana. Treaty provided for removal of the Indians to land west of the Mississippi. Further provided for conveyance by patent to Me-shing-go-me-sia, son of Ma-to-sin-ia, to be held for his band, of the tract of land reserved by treaty of 1838. Art. 11 provided "Nothing in this treaty shall be so construed as to impair the force or validity of former treaty stipulations existing between the U. S. and the Miami tribe of Indians, not altered by nor coming within the purview of any of the provisions of this treaty."

This treaty when ratified by the Senate, divided the Great Miami Nation into two separate branches and tribes, the Western Miamis, who moved to Kansas, and the Miamis of Indiana, who remained in Indiana. (Plaintiff is a descendant of the band of Me-shin-go-me-sia.)

Treaty of 1854 at Washington. II Kappler, 641, 10 Stat. 1093.

Provided for settlement of all annuities and claims to Miami Indians of Indiana (band of Ma-to-sin-ia) and Western...

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