United States v. Payne

Decision Date07 April 1924
Docket NumberNo. 240,240
Citation68 L.Ed. 782,44 S.Ct. 352,264 U.S. 446
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

The Attorney General and Mr. H. L. Underwood, of Washington, D. C., for the United States.

Mr. Arthur E. Griffin, of Seattle, Wash., for appellee.

Mr. Justice SUTHERLAND delivered the opinion of the Court.

Appellee, an Indian of the Quillehute tribe, brought suit in the federal District Court for the Western District of Washington to determine his right to an allotment of an 80-acre tract of land in the Quinaielt Indian Reservation in that state. Authority for bringing the suit is found in 28 Stat. 305, c. 290, as amended by 31 Stat. 760, c. 217 (Comp. St. §§ 4214, 4215). The treaty with the Quillehute and other Indians, made in 1855, among other things, provides for the removal and settlement of these Indians upon a reservation to be selected for them by the President, and for the payment by the United States of $2,500 'to clear, fence, and break up a sufficient quantity of land for cultivation.' 12 Stat. 971, arts. 2 and 5. The President is authorized by article 6 of the treaty, at his discretion, to cause the reserved lands to be surveyed and assign the same to individual Indians or families for permanent homes on the same terms and under the same conditions as are provided in article 6 of the treaty with the Omahas, concluded in 1854. 10 Stat. 1043, 1044. By the General Allotment Act, as amended, it is provided:

'In all cases where any tribe or band of Indians has been or shall hereafter be located upon any reservation created for their use by treaty stipulation, act of Congress, or executive order, the President shall be authorized to cause the same or any part thereof to be surveyed or resurveyed whenever in his opinion such reservation or any part thereof may be advantageously utilized for agricultural or grazing purposes by such Indians, and the cause allotment to each Indian located thereon to be made in such areas as in his opinion may be for their best interest not to exceed eighty acres of agricultural or one hundred and sixty acres of grazing land to any one Indian. * * *' 24 Stat. 388, c. 119, as amended by 26 Stat. 794, c. 383, and 36 Stat. 859, 860, c. 431 (Comp. St. § 4195).

The land in question was selected by Payne in 1911, after survey, through and with the approval of an allotting agent of the United States. It is of mixed character, 40 or 50 acres being timbered, and the remainder being bottom land, lying along the Raft river.

The sole question we are called upon to decide is whether the land, being timbered, is to be excluded from the operation of the Allotment Act which speaks only of agricultural and grazing lands. Both courts below determined the question in the negative (284 Fed. 827), and we agree with them. The treaty makes no restriction in respect of the character of the land to be 'assigned,' and while the Allotment Act, being later, must control in case of conflict, it should be harmonized with the letter and spirit of the treaty, so far as that reasonably can be done, since an intention to alter, and pro tanto abrogate, the treaty, is not to be lightly attributed to Congress. These Indians yielded whatever claims they may have had to a valuable and extensive area in exchange for a...

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41 cases
  • United States v. Mitchell
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • June 27, 1983
    ...the character of lands to be set apart for the Indians was not restricted by the General Allotment Act. United States v. Payne, 264 U.S. 446, 449, 44 S.Ct. 352, 353, 68 L.Ed. 782 (1924). Thereafter, the forested lands of the Reservation were allotted. By 1935 the entire Reservation had been......
  • Northwestern Bands of Shoshone Indians v. United States v. 10 8212 13, 1944
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • March 12, 1945
    ...25 S.Ct. 662, 664, 49 L.Ed. 1089; Marlin v. Lewallen, 276 U.S. 58, 64, 48 S.Ct. 248, 250, 72 L.Ed. 467; United States v. Payne, 264 U.S. 446, 448, 449, 44 S.Ct. 352, 353, 68 L.Ed. 782; Northern Pac. Ry. Co. v. United States, 227 U.S. 355, 366, 33 S.Ct. 368, 373, 57 L.Ed. 544; Seufert Bros. ......
  • Arenas v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of California
    • February 19, 1951
    ...recognized the rights of all the Mission Indians, an injustice might have resulted. 2 25 U.S.C.A. § 345. 3 United States v. Payne, 1924, 264 U.S. 446, 44 S.Ct. 352, 68 L.Ed. 782; Morrison v. Work, 1924, 266 U.S. 481, 490, 45 S.Ct. 149, 69 L.Ed. 394; Arenas v. United States, 1944, 322 U.S. 4......
  • Morrison v. Work
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • January 5, 1925
    ...having been raised. 12 Duncan Townsite Co. v. Lane, 245 U. S. 308, 311, 38 S. Ct. 293, 63 L. Ed. 650. 13 See United States v. Payne, 264 U. S. 446, 44 S. Ct. 352, 68 L. Ed. 782. ...
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