United States v. Sutton
215 U.S. 291 (1909)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Sutton, 215 U.S. 291 (1909)

United States v. Sutton

No. 312

Submitted October 15, 1909

Decided December 20, 1909

215 U.S. 291

Syllabus

United States v. Celestine, ante, p. 215 U. S. 278, followed, as to continuance of jurisdiction of United States over offenses committed within the limits of an Indian reservation.

The Indians, as wards of the government, are the beneficiaries of the prohibition against the introduction of liquor into Indian country, and, under the Washington Enabling Act, jurisdiction and control over Indian lands remains in the United States, and Congress has power to prohibit and punish the introduction of liquor therein.

Page 215 U. S. 292

The limit of an Indian reservation are not changed by allotments in severalty during the trust period, and, where the land allotted are subject to restriction against alienation and to defeasance, the prohibition against liquor continues to be effective.

The defendants were indicted in the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Washington for introducing liquor into the Indian country, as thus stated in the indictment:

"To-wit, into and upon a certain Indian allotment No. 670, within the limits of the boundary of the Yakima Indian Reservation, in the Eastern District of Washington, which said allotment had theretofore been allotted to a certain Indian, a member of the Yakima Tribe of Indians, named George Wesslike, under and by virtue of the provision of the Act of Congress of February 8, 1887, entitled, 'An Act to Provide for the Allotment of Lands in Severalty to Indians on the Various Reservations, and to Extend the Protection of the Laws of the United States and the Territories over the Indians, and for Other Purposes' (24 Stat. 388, c. 119), said allotment being then and now one held in trust by the government for said allottee, and being inalienable by the said allottee without the consent of the United States."

A demurrer was filed, and on that demurrer the following facts were agreed to:

"1. That the Yakima Indian Reservation, in the Eastern District of Washington, is inhabited by the Yakima and other Indians, under the general charge and control of an Indian agent and superintendent of the United States."

"2. That, prior to September 3, 1908, a very large number of allotments of land within said reservation had been made to Indians entitled thereto, which said allotments had been made and allotted under and by virtue of the provision of the Act of Congress of February 8, 1887, known as the General Allotment Act."

"3. That allotment No. 670, described in the indictment, is a part of and within the boundaries of the Yakima Indian

Page 215 U. S. 293

Reservation, and the same had been made and allotted, and the usual trust patent thereto issued to the allottee named in the indictment under the provision of the Act of February 8, 1887, prior to September, 1908."

"4. That the trust limitation has not yet expired, and the title to said allotment is still being held in trust by the government; that the title to said allotment is not alienable by the allottee without the consent of the United States."

"5. That on or about September 3, 1908, the defendants did go on and upon said allotment described in the indictment, taking and carrying with them certain ardent spirits and intoxicating liquor, to-wit, alcohol, in a demijohn and flasks."

The indictment was founded on the Act of January 30, 1897, 29 Stat. 506, c. 109, which provides:

"That . . . any person who shall introduce or attempt to introduce any malt, spirituous, or vinous liquor, including beer, ale, and wine, or any ardent or intoxicating liquor of any kind whatsoever into the Indian country, which term shall include any Indian allotment while the title to the same shall be held in trust by the government, or while the same shall remain inalienable by the allottee without the consent of the United States, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than sixty days, and by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars for the first offense, and not less than two hundred dollars for each offense thereafter."

The Yakima Reservation was established under the treaty of June 9, 1855, 12 Stat. 951, which, in Article 2, provides:

"All which tract shall be set apart, and, so far as necessary, surveyed and marked out, for the exclusive use and benefit of said confederated tribes and bands of Indians, as an Indian reservation; nor shall any white man, excepting those in the employment of the Indian Department, be permitted to reside upon the said reservation without permission of the tribe and the superintendent and agent."

"* * * *"

Page 215 U. S. 294

"ARTICLE VI. The President may, from time to time at his discretion, cause the whole or such portions of such reservation as he may think proper to be surveyed into lots, and assign the same to such individuals or families of the said confederated tribes and bands of Indians as are willing to avail themselves of the privilege, and will locate on the same as a permanent home, on the same terms and subject to the same regulations as are provided in the sixth article of the treaty with the Omahas, so far as the same may be applicable."

The demurrer was sustained, and thereupon the government brought the case here on writ of error under the Act of March 2, 1907, 34 Stat. 1246, c. 2564.

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