United States ex Rel. West v. Hitchcock,
205 U.S. 80 (1907)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States ex Rel. West v. Hitchcock, 205 U.S. 80 (1907)

United States ex Rel. West v. Hitchcock

No, 194

Argued January 30, 1907

Decided March 4, 1907

205 U.S. 80


While the promise of the United States to allot 160 acres to each member of the Wichita band of Indians under the Act of March 2, 1895, 28 Stat. 876, 895, may confer a right on every actual member of the band, the primary decision as to who the members are must come from the Secretary of the Interior, and, in the absence of any indication in the act to allow an appeal to the courts for applicants who are dissatisfied, mandamus will not issue to require the Secretary to approve the selection of one claiming to be an adopted member of the tribe but whose application the Secretary has denied.

In view of long established practice of the Department of the Interior, and the undoubted power of Congress over the Indians, this Court will hesitate to construe the language of §§ 441, 463, Rev.Stat., as not giving the Department of the Interior control over the adoption of whites into the Indian tribes.

Where the Secretary of the Interior has authority to pass on the right of one claiming to be a member of a band of Indians to select land under an agreement ratified by an act of Congress, his jurisdiction does not depend upon his decision's being right.

26 App.D.C. 290 affirmed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 205 U. S. 82

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