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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I
([1905])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. 1-155 PDF (58.6 MB)


Page 22

22      REPORTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. 
Government, or while the same shall remain inalienable by the allottee without
the consent of the United States," necessitates the inference that whenever
the 
title to a particular allotment is no longer held in trust by the Government,
but 
with the consent of the United States has been lawfully conveyed by deed
by 
the heirs of the allottee, it thereby ceases to be Indian country, though
in the 
midst of a large region every other foot of which is unquestionably Indian
country. In view of the uniform policy of the Government for at least three-
quarters of a century, manifested in many acts of Congress and Indian treaties,
to prevent the introduction of intoxicating liquors Into any region of country
inhabited by Indians, it is inconceivable that in any act, every provision
of which 
is manifestly intended to make the prohibiton more stringent than before,
Con- 
gress should in effect provide that in little tracts which, by alienation
by heirs 
of allottees, will soon be thickly scattered over every reservation where
allot- 
ments are permitted, liquor may be introduced and saloons established lawfully
and without limit, though the region is still rightfully inhabited by Indian
tribes. 
Such a construction should not be given to this clause unless its language
admits 
of no other. That is not the case. The language used does not exclude from
the 
scope of the term " Indian country " any land which would naturally
or by 
previous construction fall within that term. On the contrary, it enacts that
a 
class of lands-allotments while the title is held in trust by the Government
and remains inalienable-shall be included in that term. By the force of that
clause such an allotment, though the region was otherwise abandoned by Indians,
would remain Indian country. This must be the proper construction of this
clause. It follows that the petitioner is rightly in custody and must be
remanded, and it is so ordered. 
While this case was pending the same question had arisen in several 
communities, and this Office suggested to the Department that the 
matter be referred to the Department of Justice with a request for 
advice as to what instructions-should be given to agents and super- 
intendents. On April 28, 1905, the Attorney-General submitted a 
ruling upon the question, as follows: 
I have received your letter of the 29th ultimo, with its inclosures, relative
to 
an attempt to sell liquor on a tract of land near Ball Club, on the former
Cass 
Lake Indian Reservation, in the State of Minnesota, purchased from the heirs
of 
a deceased allottee, in which you say: 
"The Indian Office holds that inherited Indian land sold to white people
is 
still 'Indian country' within the meaning of the law prohibiting the introduc-
tion and sale of liquor in the Indian country. * * * 
" In view of all the facts stated in the correspondence  * * * the matter
is 
respectfully submitted with request for an early opinion on the question
at 
issue and for advice as to the proper course to be pursued by the Department
in 
this and similar cases." 
A letter from the Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs inclosed by you 
states that- 
"This land is embraced in the country ceded by the Chippewa Indians
in a 
treaty made with them in 1855." That treaty provides, article 7 (10
Stat. L., 
1165), as follows: 
"The laws which have been or may be enacted by Congress regulating trade
and intercourse with the Indian tribes to continue and be in force within
the 
several reservations provided for -herein; and those portions of said laws
which 
prohibit the introduction, manufacture, use of, and traffic in ardent spirits,
wines, or other liquors in the Indian ,country shall continue and be In force
within the entire boundaries'of the country herein ceded to the United States
until otherwise provided by Congress." 


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