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GRITTS V. FISHER, 224 U. S. 640 (1912)

U.S. Supreme Court

Gritts v. Fisher, 224 U.S. 640 (1912)

Gritts v. Fisher

No. 896

Argued January 10, 11, 1912

Decided May 13, 1912

224 U.S. 640


Children born to enrolled members of the Cherokee Tribe after September 1, 1902, and living on March 4, 1906, are entitled to enrollment as members of the tribe and to participation in the allotment and distribution of its lands and funds made under the Act of July 1, 1902, 32 Stat. 725, c. 1375, and subsequent acts relating to such allotment and distribution.

Section 2 of the Act of April 26, 1906, as amended June 21, 1906, for the enrollment of minor children living March 4, 1906, is not to be construed as excluding those born after September 1, 1902.

Under the Act of July 1, 1902, individual members of the Cherokee Tribe did not individually acquire any vested rights in the surplus lands and funds of the tribe that disabled Congress from thereafter making provision for admitting newly born members of the tribe to the allotment and distribution, as it did by the Act of April 26, 1903.

The Act of July 1, 1902, limiting the allottees and distributees of Cherokee lands and funds, was not a contract, but only an act of Congress, and can have no greater effect; it was but an exertion of the governmental administrative control over tribal property of tribal Indians, and subject to change by Congress at any time before it was carried into effect and while tribal relations continued.

37 App.D.C. 473 affirmed.

Page 224 U. S. 641

The facts, which involve the construction and validity of the statutes relating to allotment and distribution of Cherokee lands and funds and the right of children born after September 1, 1902, to participate therein, are stated in the opinion.

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