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U.S. Supreme Court

British-American Oil Producing Co. v. Board of Equalization, 299 U.S. 159 (1936)

British-American Oil Producing Co. v.

Board of Equalization of Montana

No. 37

Argued November 11, 1936

Decided December 7, 1936

299 U.S. 159


1. The Blackfeet Indian Reservation, as existing in recent years, was created by legislation, and not by Executive Order. P. 299 U. S. 162.

The Reservation rests upon agreements or conventions which were ratified and given effect by Acts of Congress, c. 213, 25 Stat. 113; c. 398, 29 Stat. 321, 353, superseding earlier, temporary Executive Orders.

2. The proviso to § 3 of the Act of February 28, 1891, authorizing the leasing for mining purposes of lands occupied by Indians "who have bought and paid for the same" is not confined to lands acquired by Indians through the payment of a consideration in money, but includes lands reserved for Indians in return for a cession or surrender by them of other lands, possessions, or rights. Pp. 299 U. S. 163-164.

3. The issue of "trust patents" to Blackfeet Indian allottees, containing, as the Act of June 30, 1919, requires, a reservation for the benefit of the tribe of all minerals, including oil and gas, in or under the allotted land, operates to carve out of such land and create a distinct estate consisting of the minerals. This estate is, in itself, land, and, being reserved for the benefit of the tribe, it is tribal land, and is unallotted lands within the meaning of the Acts chanrobles.com-red

Page 299 U. S. 160

of February 28, 1891, supra, and May 29, 1924, which authorize leasing for mining purposes. P. 299 U. S. 164.

4. With respect to the leasing of unallotted Indian lands for minerals, including oil and gas, the special provision of the Acts of June 30, 1919, and September 20, 1922, which relate to the Blackfeet Reservation are to be read with the general provisions of the Acts of February 28, 1891, and May 29, 1924, supra. P. 299 U. S. 165.

5. Therefore, where a lease was given under the special provisions of the Act of June 30, 1919, supra, taken in connection with the general provisions of the Acts of February 28, 1891, and May 29, 1924, supra, the production of oil and gas was subject to state taxation by virtue of the assent of Congress in the Act last mentioned. P. 299 U. S. 166.

101 Mont. 293, 54 P. 2d 129, affirmed.

Certiorari, 298 U.S. 652, to review a judgment sustaining taxes on the production of oil and gas, under a lease of lands of the Blackfeet Indians.


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