United States v. Sam Pelican, No. 787

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHughes
Citation232 U.S. 442,34 S.Ct. 396,58 L.Ed. 676
PartiesUNITED STATES, Plff. in Err., v. SAM PELICAN and Tony Ponterre, alias Alex Licomte
Docket NumberNo. 787
Decision Date24 February 1914

232 U.S. 442
34 S.Ct. 396
58 L.Ed. 676
UNITED STATES, Plff. in Err.,

v.

SAM PELICAN and Tony Ponterre, alias Alex Licomte.

No. 787.
Argued January 13, 1914.
Decided February 24, 1914.

Page 443

Assistant Attorney General Wallace for plaintiff in error.

No appearance for defendant in error.

[Syllabus from page 443 intentionally omitted]

Page 444

Mr. Justice Hughes delivered the opinion of the court:

The defendants were indicted for the murder, on August 30, 1913, of Ed Louie, a full-blood Indian and a member of the Colville tribe. It was charged that the crime was committed 'at a point about 9 miles northwest of the town of Curlew, in the county of Ferry, state of Washington, in the Indian country, to wit, upon the allotment of one Agnes, an Indian, being lot 3 of section 26, and lot 9 of section 35, in township 40 north, or range 32 E. W. M., in the northern division of the eastern district of Washington, said land being then held in trust by the United States for the said Agnes for the period of twenty-five years from the date of the trust patent; to wit, from the 6th day of December, A. D., 1909.'

The indictment was based upon § 2145 of the Revised Statutes, which provides that, save as stated, 'the general laws of the United States as to the punishment of crimes committed in any place within the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, except the District of Columbia, shall extend to the Indian country' (see Rev. Stat. § 5339, U. S. Comp. Stat. 1901, p. 3627; Criminal Code, 35 Stat. at L. 1088, chap. 321, U. S. Comp. Stat. Supp. 1911, p. 1588, §§ 272, 273, 341).

A demurrer was filed upon the ground that it did not appear that the crime had been committed within 'the Indian country,' and hence that the court was without jurisdiction. In connection with the hearing upon the demurrer the parties stipulated that the land described in the indictment as the place of the crime had been allotted to the Indian Agnes under the act approved February 8, 1887 [24 Stat. at L. 388, chap. 119], and the act in amendment and extension thereof approved February 28, 1891 [26 Stat. at L. 794, chap. 383], and that this land was situated on that part of the Colville Indian Reservation which had been opened to settlement and entry by

Page 445

the act of Congress. See act of July 1, 1892, 27 Stat. at L. 62, chap. 140. The district court, holding that the Agnes allotment was not a part of the Indian country within the meaning of the statute, sustained the demurrer; and the government brings this writ of error under the criminal appeals act, March 2, 1907 (34 Stat. at L. 1246, chap. 2564).

There can be no doubt that the Colville Reservation, set apart by Executive order on July 2, 1872 (Exec. Ord. Ind. Reserv. [1912 ed.], 194, 195; 1 Kappler, 915, 916), and repeatedly recognized by acts of Congress, was a legally constituted reservation. Re Wilson, 140 U. S. 575, 577, 35 L. ed. 513, 514, 11 Sup. Ct. Rep. 870. As such it was included in the 'Indian country' to which § 2145 of the Revised Statutes refers, and it was none the less embraced within that description because it had been segregated from the public domain. Donnelly v. United States, 228 U. S. 243, 269, 57 L. ed. 820, 831, 33 Sup. St. Rep. 449, Ann. Cas. 1913E, 710. The inquiry then, is whether, with respect to the part States, 164 U. S. 240, 242, 247, 41 L. ed. in the described allotment, the United States v. United States, 228 U. S. 243, 271, 272, 57 L. ed. 820, 832, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. with crimes committed by or against Indians upon the lands within the reservation was not affected by the admission of the state of Washington into the Union (act of February 22, 1889, chap. 180, 25 Stat. at L. 676, 677; Draper v. United States, 164 U.S. 240, 242, 247, 41 L. ed. 419, 420, 421, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 107; Donnelly of the reservation with certain exceptions—was 'vacated and restored to the public 449, Ann. Cas. 1913E, 710); and we pass to the consideration of the effect of the Federal legislation by which the reservation was diminished.

By the act of July 1, 1892, chap. 140, 27 Stat. at L. 62, a specified tract or portion of the reservation—with certain exceptions—was 'vacated and restored to the public domain,'

July 4, 1884, chap. 180, 23 Stat. at L. 76, 79; February 8, 1887, chap. 119, 24 Stat. at L. 388; February 28, 1891, chap. 383, 26 Stat. at L. 794; July 1, 1892, chap. 140, 27 Stat. at L. 62; February 20, 1896, chap. 24, 29 Stat. at L. 9; March 6, 1896, chap. 42, 29 Stat. at L. 44; June 18, 1898, chap. 465, 30 Stat. at L. 475; July 1, 1898, chap. 545, 30 Stat. at L. 571, 593; March 22, 1906, chap. 1126, 34 Stat. at L. 80.

Page 446

and it was provided that this tract should be open to settlement and entry by the proclamation of the President, and should be disposed of under the general laws applicable to the disposition of public lands in the state of Washington. The exceptions were made by Congress in order to care for the Indians residing on that portion of the reservation. Every such Indian was entitled to select therefrom 80 acres which were to be allotted to the Indian in severalty (§ 4). The titles to the lands selected were to 'be held in trust for the beneflt of the allottees, respectively, and afterwards conveyed in fee simple to the allottees or their heirs,' as provided in the acts of February 8, 1887 (24 Stat. at L. 388, chap. 119), and February 28, 1891 (26 Stat. at L. 794, chap. 383). Further, certain school and mill lands within the described tract were reserved from the operation of the statute, unless othekr lands were selected in their stead (§ 6).

The evident purpose of Congress was to carve out of the portion of the reservation restored to the public domain the lands to be allotted and reserved, as stated, and to make the restoration effective only as to the residue. The vacation and restoration which the statute accomplished (§ 1) was of the statute, unless other lands were and allotment of lands in severalty to the individual members of the Indians of the Colville Reservation' for which the act provided. In 1898, in furtherance of the same object, Congress required the completion of the allotments as soon as practicable, and not later than six months after the President's proclamation (act of July 1, 1898, chap. 545, 30 Stat. at L. 571, 593). Accordingly the President issued his proclamation on April 10, 1900, declaring that the restored portion of the reservation would be open to settlement and entry on October 10, 1900, and an appropriate clause was inserted which saved and excepted such tracts as had been or might be 'allotted to or reserved or selected for the Indians, or other purposes,'

Page 447

under the governing statutes. 31...

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  • Part III
    • United States
    • Federal Register April 25, 2007
    • April 25, 2007
    ...been validly set apart for the use of the Indians as such, under the superintendence of the Government'' [citing United States v. Pelican, 232 U.S. 442, at 449 (1914)] (emphasis in original). The decision then concluded that, after the reservation's diminishment, the allotments continued to......
  • Federal and Indian lands programs: Indian lands; definition clarification; agency decision,
    • United States
    • Federal Register April 25, 2007
    • April 25, 2007
    ...been validly set apart for the use of the Indians as such, under the superintendence of the Government'' [citing United States v. Pelican, 232 U.S. 442, at 449 (1914)] (emphasis in original). The decision then concluded that, after the reservation's diminishment, the allotments continued to......
  • United States ex rel. Miner v. Erickson, No. 19977.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • June 5, 1970
    ...court some 46 years later. See Putnam v. United States, 248 F.2d 292 (8 Cir. 1957). This was done in light of United States v. Pelican, 232 U.S. 442, 34 S.Ct. 396, 58 L.Ed. 676 (1914). Pelican involved the Act of July 1, 1892, ch. 140, 27 Stat. 62, wherein a specified tract within the reser......
  • Langley v. Ryder, Civ. A. No. 85-0030.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • March 15, 1985
    ...used to carry intoxicants into Indian country). 4 United States v. John, 437 U.S. at 648, 98 S.Ct. at 2548. 5 United States v. Pelican, 232 U.S. 442, 449, 34 S.Ct. 396, 399, 58 L.Ed. 676 6 The decision in Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes v. Oklahoma, 618 F.2d 665 (10th Cir.1980) also supports the ho......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
129 cases
  • United States ex rel. Miner v. Erickson, No. 19977.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • June 5, 1970
    ...court some 46 years later. See Putnam v. United States, 248 F.2d 292 (8 Cir. 1957). This was done in light of United States v. Pelican, 232 U.S. 442, 34 S.Ct. 396, 58 L.Ed. 676 (1914). Pelican involved the Act of July 1, 1892, ch. 140, 27 Stat. 62, wherein a specified tract within the reser......
  • Langley v. Ryder, Civ. A. No. 85-0030.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Louisiana
    • March 15, 1985
    ...used to carry intoxicants into Indian country). 4 United States v. John, 437 U.S. at 648, 98 S.Ct. at 2548. 5 United States v. Pelican, 232 U.S. 442, 449, 34 S.Ct. 396, 399, 58 L.Ed. 676 6 The decision in Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes v. Oklahoma, 618 F.2d 665 (10th Cir.1980) also supports the ho......
  • Pittsburg & Midway Coal Min. Co. v. Yazzie, Nos. 88-2413
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • May 30, 1990
    ...County Court, 420 U.S. 425, 95 S.Ct. 1082, Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Kneip, 430 U.S. 584, 97 S.Ct. 1361, and United States v. Pelican, 232 U.S. 442, 34 S.Ct. 396, 58 L.Ed. 676 (1914). It is well to remember that Congress Page 1422 has authorized checkerboard jurisdiction under its definition o......
  • Hydro Resources, Inc. v. U.S. E.P.A., No. 07-9506.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • April 17, 2009
    ...from three Supreme Court cases: United States v. Sandoval, 231 U.S. 28, 34 S.Ct. 1, 58 L.Ed. 107 (1913); United States v. Pelican, 232 U.S. 442, 34 S.Ct. 396, 58 L.Ed. 676 (1914); and United States v. McGowan, 302 U.S. 535, 58 S.Ct. 286, 82 L.Ed. 410 (1938). See Venetie, 522 U.S. at 528-30,......
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