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UNITED STATES V. KAGAMA, 118 U. S. 375 (1886)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Kagama, 118 U.S. 375 (1886)

United States v. Kagama

Argued March 2, 1886

Decided May 10, 1886

118 U.S. 375


The ninth section of the Indian Appropriation Act of March 3, 1885, 23 Stat. 385, is valid and constitutional in both its branches -- namely, that which gives jurisdiction to the courts of the Territories of the crimes named (murder, manslaughter, rape, assault with intent to kill, arson, burglary, and larceny), committed by Indians within the Territories, and that which gives jurisdiction in like cases to courts of the United States for the same crimes committed on an Indian reservation within a State of the Union.

While the Government of the United States has recognized in the Indian tribes heretofore a state of semi-independence and pupilage, it has the right and authority, instead of controlling them by treaties, to govern them by acts of Congress, they being within the geographical limit of the United States and being necessarily subject to the laws which Congress may enact for their protection and for the protection of the people with whom they come in contact.

The States have no such power over them as long as they maintain their tribal relations.

The Indians owe no allegiance to a State within which their reservation may be established, and the State gives them no protection.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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