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UNITED STATES V. NOBLE, 237 U. S. 74 (1915)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Noble, 237 U.S. 74 (1915)

United States v. Noble

No. 127

Argued March l, 2, 1915

Decided April 5, 1915

237 U.S. 74


The Quapaw Indians are still under National tutelage; the guardianship of the United States continues notwithstanding the citizenship conferred upon allottees.

Where Congress has imposed restrictions upon alienation of an allotment, the United States has capacity to sue for the purpose of setting aside conveyances or contracts transferring such restrictions.

Restrictions under the Act of March 2, 1895, being for a specified period, were absolute, and bound the land for that period, whether in the hands of the allottee or his heirs, except as to leasing it for the specified terms permitted by the Act of June 10, 1896, or by the supplemental Act of June 7, 1897; neither of those acts gave the allottee or his heirs any power to dispose of his or their interest in the lands subject to the lease or any part of it.

Assignments of interest in rents and royalties which pertained to the reversion of the land of 1896 and 1897 are invalid.

Rents and royalties already accrued from lands are personal property, but those to accrue are a part of the estate, remaining in the lessor.

"Overlapping leases" of Indian allotments are abnormal, and the practice of making them facilitates abuses in dealing with ignorant and inexperienced Indians.

Page 237 U. S. 75

The rule that a general power to lease for not exceeding specified period, without saying either in possession or on reversion, only authorizes a lease in possession, and not in futuro, applies to the power given allottee Indians by the Acts of 1896 and 1897, and leases made for the full period subject to an existing and partly expired lease for the same number of years are unauthorized and void.

197 F. 292 reversed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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