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U.S. Supreme Court

Tiger v. Western Investment Co., 221 U.S. 286 (1911)

Tiger v. Western Investment Company

No. 60

Argued November 30, December 1, 2, 1910

Restored to docket for reargument January 23, 1911

Reargued March 1, 2, 1911

Decided May 15, 1911

221 U.S. 286


The obvious purpose of § 8 of the Act of May 27, 1908, c.199, 35 Stat. 312, was to continue supervision over the right of full-blood Indians to dispose of lands by will, and to require conveyances of interests of full-blood Indians in inherited lands to be approved by a competent court.

When several acts of Congress are passed touching the same subject matter, subsequent legislation may be considered to assist in interpretation of the prior legislation.

In passing the Enabling Act for the admission of Oklahoma of June 16, 1906, c. 3335, 34 Stat. 267, Congress preserved the authority of the government of the United States over the Indians, their lands and property, which it had prior to the passage of that act.

The Act of April 26, 1906, c. 1876, 34 Stat. 137, providing for the final disposition of the affairs of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory, while it permitted lands to be conveyed by full-blood Indians, was nevertheless intended to prevent imprudent sales by this class of Indians and made such conveyances valid only when affirmed by the Secretary of the Interior.

Quaere whether the constitutionality of an act of Congress limiting a right of conveyance by a class of Indians can be questioned by the chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 221 U. S. 287

grantee of an Indian of that class on the ground that it deprives the Indian of his property without due process of law.

From the earliest period, Congress has dealt with Indians as dependent people and legislated concerning their property with a view to their protection as such.

Congress has full power to legislate concerning tribal property of Indians, and the conferring of citizenship on individual Indians does not prevent Congress from continuing to deal with tribal lands.

It is for Congress, in pursuance of long established policy of this government, and not for the courts, to determine for itself when, in the interest of the Indian, government guardianship over him shall cease.

The privileges and immunities of federal citizenship do not prevent such proper governmental restraint upon the conduct or property of citizens as may be necessary for the general good.

When the Act of April 26, 1906, was passed, Congress had not by the Supplemental Creek Agreement of June 30, 1902, c. 1323, 32 Stat. 500, or by any other act, released its control over the alienation of lands of full-blood Creek Indians, and it was within its power to continue to restrict such alienation notwithstanding the bestowal of citizenship upon the Indians, by requiring the approval of the Secretary of the Interior to conveyances made by them.

As above construed, the Act of April 26, 1906, c. 1876, 34 Stat. 137, is not unconstitutional as depriving full-blood Indians upon whom citizenship has been bestowed of their property without due process of law because it places further restrictions upon their right of alienation of lands.

21 Okl. 630 reversed.

The facts, which involve the construction and constitutionality of the provision of the Act of April 26, 1906, c. 1876, 34 Stat. 137, requiring certain conveyances of full-blood Indians to be approved by the Secretary of the Interior, are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 221 U. S. 298

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