Perrin v. United States,
232 U.S. 478 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Perrin v. United States, 232 U.S. 478 (1914)

Perrin v. United States

No. 707

Submitted January 13, 1914

Decided February 24, 1914

232 U.S. 478


Congress has power to prohibit the introduction of intoxicating liquors into an Indian reservation wheresoever situate, and to prohibit traffic in such liquors with tribal Indians, whether upon or off a reservation, and whether within or without the limits of a state.

That power is sufficiently comprehensive to enable Congress, when

Page 232 U. S. 479

securing the cession of a part of an Indian reservation within a state, to prohibit the sale of intoxicants upon the ceded lands if, in its judgment, the prohibition is reasonably essential to the protection of the Indians residing on the unceded lands.

As Congress possesses this power, the state possesses no exclusive control over the subject, and the congressional prohibition is supreme.

The provision in Art. 17 of the agreement with the Yankton Sioux against the sale of intoxicating liquor on the lands ceded to the United States and the prohibition in the Act of August 15, 1894, ratifying the agreement, are both within the power of Congress, and are proper regulations for the protection of the Indian wards of the Nation.

While a prohibition by act of Congress against the sale of liquor on lands ceded by Indians to the United States within the limits of a state, to be a constitutional exercise of the power of Congress, must not go beyond what is reasonably essential to the protection of the Indians, and may become inoperative when all the Indians affected thereby become completely emancipated from federal control, Congress is invested with wide discretion, and its action, unless purely arbitrary, must be accepted and given full effect by the courts.

The prohibition against the sale of liquor on land ceded by the Yankton Sioux, under the agreement ratified by the Act of August 15, 1894, properly remains in force so long as conditions remain, as they still do, substantially the same, and, unless sooner altered by Congress, will continue so long as the presence and status of the Indians sustain it as a federal regulation.

The facts, which involve the construction of the provisions in the treaty and statutes establishing the Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation against the sale of liquor and the effect of such provisions on the sale of liquor on ceded lands forming a part of such Reservation, are stated in the opinion.

Page 232 U. S. 480

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