United States v. Mille Lac Chippewas,
229 U.S. 498 (1913)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Mille Lac Chippewas, 229 U.S. 498 (1913)

United States v. Mille Lac Band of Chippewa Indians

No. 736

Argued April 8, 9, 1913

Decided June 9, 1913

229 U.S. 498


When Congress passed the Act of January 14, 1889, adjusting relations with the Mille Lac Chippewas, a real controversy was subsisting which was thereby adjusted and composed, and the act is to be construed according to its plain and unambiguous terms.

Indians, no less than the United States, are bound by the plain import of the language of an act of Congress and an agreement conferring substantial benefits on them.

Under the Act of January 4, 1889, the Mille Lac Chippewas received substantial benefits, in consideration whereof they released their claims to lands in the Red Lake Reservation upon which there were valid preemption and homestead entries, and the United States is not bound to account to them for the proceeds of sale of such lands; but, as to the other lands, the United States held them in trust for the Mille Lac Chippewas, who are entitled to damages under the act on the basis of the value of such lands in 1889.

In interpreting a proviso in a statute, it will not be given a meaning that would amount to entirely rejecting it.

In a contract with Indians, such as that embodied in the Act of January 14, 1889, a reference to regular and valid preemption and homestead entries of land within a reservation would include all that were not fraudulent, and would not exclude all entries on the ground of invalidity because made on lands within an Indian reservation.

7 Ct.Cl. 415 reversed.

The facts, which involve the construction and interpretation of the various treaties, agreements, and statutes relating to the Mille Lac Reservation, are stated in the opinion.

Page 229 U. S. 499

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