United States v. Mares

Decision Date15 January 1907
Citation88 P. 1128,14 N.M. 1
CourtNew Mexico Supreme Court


Syllabus by the Court.

The Pueblo Indians of New Mexico are not wards of the government, nor are they in charge of an Indian superintendent or agent, nor are they Indians over whom the government through its departments exercise guardianship, within the meaning of Act Cong. Jan. 30, 1897, c. 109, 29 Stat. 506, 3 Fed. St. Ann. p. 384, penalizing the sale or gift of intoxicants to such Indians.

The holdings of this court and of the Supreme Court of the United States as to the status of the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico reviewed, and held that such Indians do not come within the classes of Indians to whom the sale of intoxicants is prohibited by the act of Congress last mentioned.

Appeal from First Judicial District Court; before Justice John R. McFie.

Bento Mares and others were indicted for illegal sale of liquor. From a judgment of acquittal, the United States appeal. Affirmed.

The holdings of this court and of the Supreme Court of the United States as to the status of the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico, reviewed, and held that such Indians do not come within the classes of Indians, to whom the sale of intoxicants is prohibited by the Act of Congress last mentioned.

W. H. H. Llewellyn, U. S. Atty., and E. L. Medler, Asst. U. S. Atty.

N. B. Laughlin, for appellees.


This was a prosecution instituted by the United States against the defendants, Mares and Santistevan, charging them with having violated the act of Congress of January 30, 1897, by the sale of intoxicants to certain Indians under the charge of an Indian agent of the United States. The stipulated facts upon which the case was disposed of in the court below and upon which it is here submitted disclose that the Indians to whom the intoxicants are alleged to have been sold or given were Taos Pueblo Indians, living and residing at the Pueblo of Taos, and being members of that tribe, and that the whisky in question was sold or given to them in the town of Taos and off the Pueblo lands of said Taos Pueblo tribe. The court below upon these admitted facts discharged the defendants, and the correctness of this ruling is the sole question presented by this appeal. The status of the Pueblo Indians of this territory has been subject of very full consideration by this court and by the Supreme Court of the United States in a number of cases. United States v. Varela, 1 N. M. 593; U. S. v. Santistevan, 1 N. M. 583; Pueblo Indian Tax Case, 12 N. M. 139, 76 Pac. 307; United States v. Joseph, 94 U. S. 619, 24 L. Ed. 295, quoted in Ex parte Crow Dog, 109 U. S. 572, 3 Sup. Ct. 396, 27 L. Ed. 1030; U. S. v. Richie, 17 How. 525, 538, 15 L. Ed. 236. From these decisions, the first two of which dealt with the very Pueblo here in question, their legal standing has been very definitely fixed. They have been judicially determined to be a people very different from the nomadic Apaches, Comanches, and other tribes “whose incapacity for self government required both for themselves and for the citizens of the country the guardian care of the general government.” They are not tribes within the meaning of the federal intercourse acts prohibited settlement upon the land of “any Indian tribe.” They are not wards of the government in the sense that this term has been used in connection with the American Indian. While Congress has as a mere gratuity from time to time provided agents and special attorneys for them, it has never attempted thereby to reduce them to a state of tutelage or to put either them or their property under the charge or control of the government or its agents. On the contrary, they hold their lands and property by complete and perfect title antedating the sovereignty of the United States and recognized by its unconditional patent issued to them decades ago. They have full power to alienate their lands, and these, in the absence of any act of Congress to the contrary, are subject like other property to taxation by the territory. Finally, these Indians were at the date of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo citizens of Mexico...

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7 cases
  • Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company v. Pueblo of Santa Ana
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 10, 1985
    ...Stat. 922. 7.United States v. Lucero, 1 N.M. 422 (1869); Pueblo of Nambe v. Romero, 10 N.M. 58, 61 P. 122 (1900); cf. United States v. Mares, 14 N.M. 1, 88 P. 1128 (1907). 8. In concluding that the Pueblos were excluded from the coverage of the Nonintercourse Act, the Court primarily relied......
  • Sangre de Cristo Development Corp., Inc. v. City of Santa Fe
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • November 22, 1972
    ...(1874); United States v. Varela, 1 N.M. 593 (1874); Territory v. Delinquent Taxpayers, 12 N.M. 139, 76 P. 307 (1904); United States v. Mares, 14 N.M. 1, 88 P. 1128 (1907); Cohen, Handbook of Federal Indian Law at 383, 384, 387, 388 (1942). Note the changed views accomplished by and recogniz......
  • United States v. Felipe Sandoval
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • October 20, 1913
    ...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 inc......
  • United States v. Sandoval
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Mexico
    • July 22, 1912
    ...as a state, the demurrer would have to prevail. The precise question was considered by the Supreme Court of New Mexico in United States v. Mares, 14 N.M. 1, 88 P. 1128, a prosecution under the act of 1897 for selling liquor to a Pueblo Indian, and it was there held, upon what we believe to ......
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