176. Indian Crimes Act of 1976May29, 1976
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278 trust relationship between the United States and the Indian tribes to which it applies, including the Passamaquoddies. Therefore, they say, defendants may not deny plaintiffs ’ request for litigation on the sole ground that there is no trust relationship between the United States and the Tribe. In opposition , defendants and intervenor [the State of Maine] contend that only those Indian tribes which have been “recognized” by the Federal Government by treaty, statute or a consistent course of conduct are entitled to the protection of the Nonintercourse Act and, since the Passamaquoddies have not been “federally recognized,” the Act is not applicable to them. Defendants and intervenor also deny that the Nonintercourse Act creates any trust relationship between the United States and the Indian tribes to which it applies. . . . The rules of statutory interpretation by which the Court must be guided in determining the applicability of the Nonintercourse Act to the Passamaquoddies are summarized in United States v. New England Coal and Coke Co., 318 F. 2d 138 (1st Cir. 1963), as follows: In matters of statutory construction the duty of this court is to give effect to the intent of Congress, and in doing so our first reference is of course to the literal meaning of words employed. Unless the contrary appears, it is presumed that statutory words are used in their ordinary sense. . . . Defendants have rejected plaintiffs’ request for assistance on the ground that no trust relationship exists between the United States and the Passamaquoddies. The Court disagrees. In the only decided cases to treat this issue, the Court of Claims has, in a series of decisions during the last ten years, definitely held that the Nonintercourse Act imposes a trust or fiduciary obligation on the United States to protect land owned by all Indian tribes covered by the statute. . . . These Court of Claims decisions are consistent with an unbroken line of Supreme Court decisions which, from the beginning, have defined the fiduciary relationship between the Federal Government and the Indian tribes as imposing a distinctive obligation of trust upon the Government on its dealings with the Indians. . . . In view of the foregoing, the conclusion must be that the Nonintercourse Act establishes a trust relationship between the United States and the Indian tribes, including the Passamaquoddies, to which it applies. The Court holds that the defendants erred in denying plaintiffs’ request for litigation on the sole ground that no trust relationship exists between the United States and the Passamaquoddy Indian Tribe. [338 Federal Supplement, 654–55, 660, 662–63.] 176. Indian Crimes Act of 1976 May 29, 1976 The Major Crimes Act of March 3, 1885, declared that seven major crimes committed by Indians on the reservations would fall under federal jurisdiction. This act of 1976 extended the number of crimes to fourteen. An Act to provide for the definition and punishment of certain crimes in accordance with the Federal laws in force within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States when said crimes are committed by an Indian in order to insure equal treatment for Indian and non-Indian offenders. . . . . Sec. 2. Section 1153, title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows: “§1153. Offenses committed within Indian country “Any Indian who commits against the person or property of another Indian or other person any of the following offenses, namely, murder, manslaughter, kidnaping, rape, carnal knowledge of any female, not his wife, who has not attained the age of sixteen years, assault with intent to commit rape, incest, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting 279 in serious bodily injury, arson, burglary, robbery , and larceny within the Indian country, shall be subject to the same laws and penalties as all other persons committing any of the above offenses, within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States. “As used in this section, the offenses of burglary and incest shall be defined and punished in accordance with the laws of the State in which such offense was committed as are in force at the time of such offense. “In addition to the offenses of burglary and incest, any other of the above offenses which are not defined and punished by Federal law in force within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States shall be defined and punished in accordance with the laws of the State in which such offense was committed as are in force at the time of such offense.” . . . Sec. 4...


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