restricted access 124. Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, January 5, 1903
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201 stance the ration is a gratuity and not stipulated by any treaty, as in the case of the Sioux. Here the order has been better received and the result has been equally surprising. The office feels that a great stride has been taken toward the advancement, civilization, and independence of the race; a step, that if followed up, will lead to the discontinuance of the ration system as far as it applies to ablebodied Indians, the abolition of the reservation , and ultimately to the absorption of the Indian into our body politic. . . . [Annual Reports of the Department of the Interior, 1901, pp. 1–6.] 124. Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock January 5, 1903 The Treaty of Medicine Lodge (1867) in Article 12 provided that no part of the Kiowa-Comanche Reservation could be ceded without the approval of three-fourths of the adult males. When Congress, after allotment of the reservation in severalty, approved the sale of excess tribal lands without the three-fourths approval, action was taken to enjoin the implementation of the act. The Supreme Court declared that Congress had plenary authority over Indian relations and that it had power to pass laws abrogating treaty stipulations. . . . . The contention in effect ignores the status of the contracting Indians and the relation of dependency they bore and continue to bear towards the government of the United States. To uphold the claim would be to adjudge that the indirect operation of the treaty was to materially limit and qualify the controlling authority of Congress in respect to the care and protection of the Indians, and to deprive Congress, in a possible emergency, when the necessity might be urgent for a partition and disposal of the tribal lands, of all power to act, if the assent of the Indians could not be obtained. Now, it is true that in decisions of this court, the Indian right of occupancy of tribal lands, whether declared in a treaty or otherwise created, has been stated to be sacred, or, as sometimes expressed, as sacred as the fee of the United States in the same lands. . . . But in none of these cases was there involved a controversy between Indians and the government respecting the power of Congress to administer the property of the Indians. The questions considered in the cases referred to, which either directly or indirectly had relation to the nature of the property rights of the Indians, concerned the character and extent of such rights as respected States or individuals. In one of the cited cases it was clearly pointed out that Congress possessed a paramount power over the property of the Indians, by reason of its exercise of guardianship over their interests, and that such authority might be implied. . . . Plenary authority over the tribal relations of the Indians has been exercised by Congress from the beginning, and the power has always been deemed a political one, not subject to be controlled by the judicial department of the government. Until the year 1871 the policy was pursued of dealing with the Indian tribes by means of treaties, and, of course, a moral obligation rested upon Congress to act in good faith in performing the stipulations entered into on its behalf. But, as with treaties made with foreign nations, Chinese Exclusion Case, 130 U.S. 581, 600, the legislative power might pass laws in conflict with treaties made with the Indians. . . . The power exists to abrogate the provisions of an Indian treaty, though presumably such power will be exercised only when circumstances arise which will not only justify the government in disregarding the stipulations of the treaty, but may demand, in the interest of the country and the Indians themselves , that it should do so. When, therefore , treaties were entered into between the United States and a tribe of Indians it was never doubted that the power to abrogate existed in Congress, and that in a contingency such power might be availed of from considerations of governmental policy, particularly if consistent with perfect good faith towards the Indians. . . . In view of the legislative power possessed by Congress over treaties with the Indians 202 and Indian tribal property, we may not specially consider the contentions pressed upon our notice that the signing by the Indians of the agreement of October 6, 1892, was obtained by fraudulent misrepresentations and concealment, that the requisite three-fourths of adult male Indians had not signed, as required by the twelfth article of the treaty of 1867, and that...


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