United States v. Felipe Sandoval

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Citation231 U.S. 28,58 L.Ed. 107,34 S.Ct. 1
Docket NumberNo. 352,352
Decision Date20 October 1913

Solicitor General Bullitt and Mr. Louis G. Bissell for plaintiff in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 29-32 intentionally omitted] Mr. A. B. Renehan for defendant in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 32-36 intentionally omitted] Mr. Justice Van Devanter delivered the opinion of the court:

This is a criminal prosecution for introducing intoxicating liquor into the Indian country; to wit, the Santa Clara pueblo, in the state of New Mexico. In the district court a demurrer to the indictment was sustained and the indictment dismissed upon the theory that the statute upon which it is founded is invalid, as applied to Indian pueblos in New Mexico, because usurping a part of the police power of the state, and encroaching upon its equal footing with the other states. 198 Fed. 539.

The indictment is founded upon the act of January 30, 1897, 29 Stat. at L. 506, chap. 109, as supplemented by § 2 of the act of June 20, 1910, 36 Stat. at L. 557, chap. 310, being the New Mexico enabling act. The first act makes it a punishable offense to introduce intoxicating liquor into the Indian country, and the second, in naming the conditions upon which New Mexico should be admitted into the Union prescribed, in substance, that the lands then owned or occupied by the Pueblo Indians should be deemed and treated as Indian country within the meaning of the first act and of kindred legislation by Congress.

The pertinent portions of the enabling act are:

'Sec. 2. That . . . the said convention shall be, and is hereby, authorized to form a constitution and provide for a state government for said proposed state, all in the manner and under the conditions contained in this act. . . .

'And said convention shall provide, by an ordinance irrevocable without the consent of the United States and the people of said state——

'First. That . . . the sale, barter, or giving of intoxicating liquors to Indians and the introduction of liquors into Indian country, which term shall also include all lands now owned or occupied by the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, are forever prohibited.

'Second. That the people inhabiting said proposed state do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title . . . to all lands lying within said boundaries, owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes, the right or title to which shall have been acquired through or from the United States or any prior sovereignty, and that until the title of such Indian or Indian tribes shall have been extinguished the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition and under the absolute jurisdiction and control of the Congress of the United States; . . . but nothing herein, or in the ordinance herein provided for, shall preclude the said state from taxing, as other lands and other property are taxed, any lands and other property outside of an Indian reservation, owned or held by any Indian, save and except such lands as have been granted or acquired as aforesaid, or as may be granted or confirmed to any Indian or Indians under any act of Congress; but said ordinance shall provide that all such lands shall be exempt from taxation by said state so long and to such extent as Congress has prescribed or may hereafter prescribe. . . .

'Eighth. That whenever hereafter any of the lands contained within Indian reservations or allotments in said proposed state shall be allotted, sold, reserved, or otherwise disposed of, they shall be subject for a period of twenty-five years after such allotment, sale, reservation, or other disposal to all the laws of the United States prohibiting the introduction of liquor into and 'Indian country' shall include the Pueblo and 'Indian country' shall include the Puebto Indians of New Mexico and the lands now owned or occupied by them.'

Whether without this legislative interpretation the first act would have included the pueblo lands we need not consider. The territorial supreme court had but recently held that it did not include them (United States v. Mares, 14 N. M. 1, 88 Pac. 1128), and Congress, evidently wishing to make sure of a different result in the future, expressly declared that it should include them. That this was done in the enabling act, and that the state was required to, and did, assent to it, as a condition to admission into the Union, in no wise affects the force of the Congressional declaration, if only the subject be within the regulating power of Congress. As was said by this court in Coyle v. Oklahoma, 221 U. S. 559, 574, 55 L. ed. 853, 860, 31 Sup. Ct. Rep. 688: 'It may well happen that Congress should embrace in an enactment introducing a new state into the Union, legislation intended as a regulation of commerce among the states, or with Indian tribes situated within the limits of such new state or regulations touching the sole care and disposition of the public lands or reservations therein, which might be upheld as legislation within the sphere of the plain power of Congress. But in every such case such legislation would derive its force not from any agreement or compact with the proposed new state, nor by reason of its acceptance of such enactment as a term of admission, but solely because the power of Congress extended to the subject, and therefore would not operate to restrict the state's legislative power in respect of any matter which was not plainly within the regulating power of Congress.' To the same effect are Pollard v. Hagan, 3 How. 212, 224, 225, 229, 11 L. ed. 565, 571-574; Ex parte Webb, 225 U. S. 663, 683, 690, 691, 56 L. ed. 1248, 1256, 1259, 1260, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 769.

The question to be considered, then, is whether the status of the Pueblo Indians and their lands is such that Congress competently petently can prohibit the introduction of intoxicating liquor into those lands notwithstanding the admission of New Mexico to statehood.

There are as many as twenty Indian pueblos scattered over the state, having an aggregate population of over 8,000. The lands belonging to the several pueblos vary in quantity, but usually embrace amount 17,000 acres, held in communal, fee-simple ownership under grants from the King of Spain, made during the Spanish sovereignty, and confirmed by Congress since the acquisition of that territory by the United States. 1o Stat. at L. 309, chap. 103, § 8; 11 Stat. at L. 374, chap. 5. As respects six of the pueblos, one being the Santa Clara, adjacent public lands have been reserved by Executive orders for the use and occupancy of the Indians.

The people of the pueblos, although sedentary rather than nomadic in their inclinations, and disposed to peace and industry, are nevertheless Indians in race, customs, and domestic government. Always living in separate and isolated communities, adhering to primitive modes of life, largely influenced by superstition and fetichism, and chiefly governed according to the crude customs inherited from their ancestors, they are essentially a simple, uninformed, and inferior people. Upon the termination of the Spanish sovereignty they were given enlarged political and civil rights by Mexico, but it remains an open question whether they have become citizens of the United States. See treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, arts. 8 and 9, 9 Stat. at L. 922, 929; United States v. Joseph, 94 U. S. 614, 618, 24 L. ed. 295, 297; Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U. S. 94, 28 L. ed. 643, 5 Sup. Ct. Rep. 41. Be this as it may, they have been regarded and treated by the United States as requiring special consideration and protection, like other Indian communities. Thus, public moneys have been expended in presenting them with farming implements and utensils,

See, inter alia, 10 Stat. at L. 330, chap. 167; 17 Stat. at L. 165, chap. 233; 18 Stat. at L. 147, chap. 389; 21 Stat. at L. 130, chap. 85; 22 Stat. at L. 83, chap. 163; 26 Stat. at L. 337, 353, chap. 807; 30 Stat. at L. 594, chap. 545; 36 Stat. at L. 278, chap. 40; Reports Comr. Indian Affairs 1907, p. 58; 1908, p. 55; 1909, p. 48; 1 Kappler, 878, 880; Executive Orders relating to Indian Reservations (1912), 124-127, 129, 130 and in their civilization and instruction; agents and superintendents have been provided to guard their interests; central training schools and day schools at the pueblos have been established and maintained for the education of their children; dams and irrigation works have been constructed to encourage and enable them to cultivate their lands and sustain themselves; public lands, as before indicated, have been reserved for their use and occupancy where their own lands were deemed inadequate; a special attorney has been employed since 1898, at an annual cost of $2,000, to represent them and maintain their rights; and when latterly the territory undertook to tax their lands and other property, Congress forbade such taxation, saying: 'That the lands now held by the various villages or pueblos of Pueblo Indians, or by individual members thereof, within Pueblo reservations or lands, in the territory of New Mexico, and all personal property furnished said Indians by the United States, or used in cultivating said lands, and any cattle and sheep now possessed or that may hereafter be acquired by said Indians, shall be free and exempt from taxation of any sort whatsoever, including taxes heretofore levied, if any, until Congress shall otherwise provide.' 33 Stat. at L. 1048, 1069, chap. 1479. An exempting provision was also inserted in § 2 of the enabling act.

The local estimate of this people is reflected by a New Mexico statute adopted in 1854, and carried into subsequent compilations, whereby they were 'excluded from the privilege of voting at the popular elections of the territory' other than the election of overseers of ditches in which they were interested, and the election of the officers of their pueblos 'according to their...

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