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

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

Page 149

finally determined in the case of Bird v. Terry, the Department of 
Justice thought that, by instructions to the United States Indian 
agent, the directions before given to the United States attorney for 
Washington could be made effective by the institution of a suit in 
which the title or ownership of the Puyallup allotted lands could be 
finally determined. 
The superintendent in charge of the Puyallup Agency was there- 
fore instructed, on April 29, 1905, to take the matter up with the 
United States district attorney, to furnish him with complete infor- 
mation respecting the selection of an allotment as a test case, and to 
request him to prepare a petition or bill of complaint for filing in 
the United States court of proper jurisdiction. He was advised that 
an allotment should be selected in which the head of the family or 
husband, the wife, and the children were mentioned and for which 
patent had issued, and from which a part of the lands had been sold 
under the provisions of the Puyallup act of March 3, 1893 (27 Stat. 
L., 633), and acts amendatory thereof; and he was informed that in 
all such cases the proceeds arising from the sale of the land had been 
divided equally among the parties named in the allotments-the 
allotments, in so far as the husband and wife were concerned, having 
been regarded as community property. 
May 18, 1905, the superintendent asked whether the Office desired 
to select a case which might be considered as identical with the Bird 
case or merely one that would determine the question whether the 
allotment should be regarded as community property, and cited 
Puyallup patents Nos. 6 and 144. He was advised on June 19 that 
Puyallup patent No. 144, with the changes that had taken place since 
its issue, was a good case to present, as it appeared to involve all the
questions heretofore considered and passed upon by the Puyallup 
commissioners, this Office, and the Department. No communication 
respecting this matter has since been received from him. 
It is hoped that a petition or bill of complaint will be filed in the 
proper United States court in due course of time and that the case 
will be carried to the Supreme Court and finally adjusted, so as to 
put at rest the question as to the ownership of the Puyallup patents 
and also the ownership of allotted lands to other Indians under the 
same law or treaty; that is, whether they belong to the head of the 
family or to each member of the family named in the patent. 
For years this Office has endeavored to recover for the Yakima In- 
dians their fishery rights on the Columbia River and it has finally 
succeeded. On May 19, 1905, Solicitor-General Henry M. Hoyt 
transmitted to this Office an opinion of the Supreme Court of the 

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