Halbert v. United States,
283 U.S. 753 (1931)

Annotate this Case
  • Syllabus  | 
  • Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Halbert v. United States, 283 U.S. 753 (1931)

Halbert v. United States

Nos. 141-154

Argued March 11, 12, 1931

Decided June 1, 1931

283 U.S. 753


1. Indians of the Chehalis, Chinook and Cowlitz Tribes, not allotted elsewhere, are among those who, under the Act of March 4, 1911, are entitled to take allotments on the Quinaielt Reservation in the State of Washington. P. 283 U. S. 760.

2. Personal residence on the reservation is not essential to the right of allotment. P. 283 U. S. 762.

Page 283 U. S. 754

3. The rule is general that, in the absence of provision to the contrary, the right of individual Indians to share in tribal property, whether lands or funds, depends on tribal membership, and is terminated when the membership ends. P. 283 U. S. 762.

4. Under the operation of this rule, an Indian woman loses her tribal membership when she marries a white man, separates from the tribe, and lives with him among white people; but it is the separation from the tribe, rather than the marriage, which puts an end to the membership, the marriage usually serving to explain the separation and illustrate that it is intentional and permanent. P. 283 U. S. 763.

5. But where the Indian woman, after her marriage with a white, remains in the tribal environment and continues the tribal affiliation, the membership is not affected. P. 283 U. S. 763.

6. If the husband be a citizen of the United States, the woman, by marriage, becomes also a citizen; but there is no incompatability between tribal membership and United States citizenship. Id.

7. The children of a marriage between an Indian woman and a white man usually take the status of the father, but if the wife retains her tribal membership and the children are born in the tribal environment and there reared by her, with the husband failing to discharge his duties to them, they take the status of the mother. P. 283 U. S. 763.

8. Whether grandchildren of such a marriage have tribal membership depends on the status of the father or mother, as the case may be, and not on that of a grandparent. P. 283 U. S. 763.

9. As to marriages occurring before June 7, 1897 (as the marriages here did) between a white man and an Indian woman, who was Indian by blood, rather than by adoption, and who, on June 7, 1897, or at the time of her death, was recognized by the tribe, the children have the same right to share in the division or distribution of the property of the tribe of the mother as any other member of the tribe; but this is in virtue of the Act of June 7, 1897. Id.

10. The Court will decline to consider questions not raised by the assignment of errors and as to which there is no appropriate assurance that the record contains all the evidence material to their decision. P. 283 U. S. 764.

38 F.2d 795, 799, 805, 806, reversed.

District court affirmed.

Certiorari, 282 U. S. 818, 819, to review decrees reversing decrees recovered by the plaintiffs in suits under the

Page 283 U. S. 755

Act of February 6, 1901, to establish and enforce rights to allotments on an Indian reservation.

Disclaimer: Official Supreme Court case law is only found in the print version of the United States Reports. Justia case law is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or information linked to from this site. Please check official sources.