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PHINEAS PAM-TO-PEE V. UNITED STATES, 148 U. S. 691 (1893)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Phineas Pam-To-Pee v. United States, 148 U.S. 691 (1893)

Phineas Pam-To-Pee v. United States

Nos. 1125, 1133

Argued January 9-10, 1893

Decided April 17, 1893

148 U.S. 691

Syllabus

The decision of the Court of Claims respecting the amount of money to be awarded to the Indians in these cases is affirmed, and it is further suggested as to the distribution of that amount among the several claimants that it is a question of law, to be settled by the court; but as the facts are not presented in an authoritative form, this Court acquiesces in the suggestion of the court below that it be dealt with by the authorities of the government.

The questions involved in this case grow out of the stipulations of certain treaties entered into between the United States and the Pottawatomie Indians within the period covered by the years 1795 to 1846, inclusive. In some of the treaties, various tribes united with the Pottawatomies, but the tribes were recognized by the government as being distinct from one another, and their respective rights and duties under the treaties were therein defined and set forth. In others, the Pottawatomie Indians were included in the tribe designated as the united nation of Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomie Indians, but the government seems to have dealt with the united nation as though it were identical with the Pottawatomie tribe, and we shall so consider it in the present case. By the various treaties, the Indians ceded lands to the government and received for the same other lands, money, etc., and also pledges of specified annuities. By a treaty made on September 26, 1833, the said united nation ceded to the United States a tract of land on the western shore of Lake Michigan containing 5,000,000 acres, and received as the consideration for the cession a reservation 5,000,000 acres in extent west of the Mississippi River various sums of money,

The questions involved in this case grow out of the stipulations of certain treaties entered into between the United States and the Pottawatomie Indians within the period covered by the years 1795 to 1846, inclusive. In some of the treaties, various tribes united with the Pottawatomies, but the tribes were recognized by the government as being distinct from one another, and their respective rights and duties under the treaties were therein defined and set forth. In others, the Pottawatomie Indians were included in the tribe designated as the "United Nation of Chippewa, Ottawa, and Pottawatomie Indians," but the government seems to have dealt with the United Nation as though it were identical with the Pottawatomie tribe, and we shall so consider it in the present case. By the various treaties, the Indians ceded lands to the government, and received for the same other lands, money, etc., and also pledges of specified annuities. By a treaty made on September 26, 1833, the said United Nation ceded to the United States a tract of land on the western shore of Lake Michigan containing 5,000,000 acres, and received as the consideration for the cession a reservation 5,000,000 acres in extent, west of the Mississippi River, various sums of money, chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 148 U. S. 692

and the promise from the government of $280,000, to be paid in annuities of $14,000 a year for 20 years. It was provided by the treaty that a just proportion of the annuity money named therein, as well as a just proportion of the annuities stipulated for in the former treaties, should be paid, west of the Mississippi, to such portion of the nation as should have removed thither within three years, and that after the expiration of that time, the whole amount of the annuities should be paid at the reservation west. On the day following the execution of that treaty, an article supplementary thereto was made on behalf of the chiefs and headmen of the nation by which they ceded to the United States certain lands in the Territory of Michigan, south of the Grand River, containing about 164 sections. It was agreed that the Indians making this cession should be considered as parties to the treaty of the preceding day, and be entitled to participate in the benefits of the provisions therein contained, as part of the United Nation. To the supplemental article another provision was added, as follows:

"On behalf of the chiefs and headmen of the United Nation of Indians who signed the treaty to which these articles are supplementary, we hereby, in evidence of our concurrence therein, become parties thereto."

"And as since the signing of the treaty a part of the band residing on the reservations in the Territory of Michigan have requested, on account of their religious creed, permission to remove to the northern part of the peninsula of Michigan, it is agreed that in case of such removal, the just proportion of all annuities payable to them under former treaties, and that arising from the sale of the reservation on which they now reside, shall be paid to them at l'Arbre Croche."

Upon the basis of provisions contained in the various treaties, claims for unpaid annuities have been presented to Congress from time to time on behalf of Indians alleged to represent the part of the band mentioned in the last provision of the said supplemental article, and for the purpose, presumably, of having all questions connected with those claims finally settled, Congress passed an act, which was approved chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 148 U. S. 693

March 19, 1890, 26 Stat. 24, entitled "An act to ascertain the amount due the Pottawatomie Indians of Michigan and Indiana." The act is as follows:

"Whereas, representatives of the Pottawatomie Indians of Michigan and Indiana, in behalf of all the Pottawatomie Indians of said states, make claim against the United States on account of various treaty provisions which, it is alleged, have not been complied with, therefore:"

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that the Court of Claims is hereby authorized to take jurisdiction of and try all questions of difference arising out of treaty stipulations with the said Pottawatomie Indians of Michigan and Indiana, and to render judgment thereon. Power is hereby granted the said court to review the entire question of difference de novo, and it shall not be estopped by the joint resolution of Congress approved twenty-eighth July, eighteen hundred and sixty-six, entitled 'Joint resolution for the relief of certain Chippewa, Ottawa, and Pottawatomie Indians,' nor by the receipt in full given by said Pottawatomies under the provisions of said resolution, nor shall said receipt be evidence of any fact except of payment of the amount of money mentioned in it, and the Attorney General is hereby directed to appear in behalf of the government, and if the said court shall decide against the United States, the Attorney General may, within thirty days from the rendition of the judgment, appeal the cause to the Supreme Court of the United States, and from any judgment that may be rendered the said Pottawatomie Indian may also appeal to said Supreme Court, provided that the appeal of said Pottawatomie Indians shall be taken within sixty days after the rendition of said judgment, and the said courts shall give such cause precedence."

"SEC. 2. That said action sh