Jacobs v. Prichard,
223 U.S. 200 (1912)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Jacobs v. Prichard, 223 U.S. 200 (1912)

Jacobs v. Prichard

No. 93

Submitted December 8, 1911

Decided February 19, 1912

223 U.S. 200


In allotting Indian lands, Congress can determine the conditions under which they shall be alienated by the allottees, and titles resting on deeds of Commissioners and consents of the allottees required by the statute under which the lands were allotted are to be determined by the federal statute, and not by the laws of the states.

Under the Act of March 3, 1893, 27 Stat. 612, c. 209, and the amendatory act of June 7, 1897, 30 Stat. 62, c. 3, carrying out the treaty with the Omaha Indians of 1854, the consent required to be given to the Commissioner for sale of land of allottee Indians in the Puyallup Reservation in Washington was not a mere power to sell

Page 223 U. S. 201

which terminated with the death of the giver, but an agreement which continued in force after death.

The rule that, where ambiguity exists, courts will follow the construction placed on a statute by the department charged with its execution is strengthened where the statute itself directs such department to make the necessary regulations to carry it into effect.

Habits of Indian life will be considered in construing a statute providing methods for a sale of Indian lands, and it will not be presumed that Congress would insert therein a condition which defeats an approved sale by the death of a roving Indian before the delivery of the deed.

46 Wash. 562 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the title to lands in the Puyallup Indian Reservation allotted under the treaty with the Omaha Indians and the Acts of March 3, 1893, and June 7, 1897, are stated in the opinion.

Page 223 U. S. 207

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