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Alaska Pacific Fisheries v. United States, 248 U.S. 78 (1918)

Alaska Pacific Fisheries v. United States

No. 212

Argued November 4, 1918

Decided December 9, 1918

248 U.S. 78


For safeguarding and advancing a dependent Indian people resident on islands belonging to the United States in the Territory of Alaska, Congress has power to reserve for their use, until otherwise provided by law, not only the upland of the islands, but also the adjacent

Page 248 U. S. 79

submerged land and deep waters supplying fisheries essential to the Indians' welfare. P. 248 U. S. 87.

An act of Congress set aside, "until otherwise provided by law, the body of land known as Annette Island," in Alaska, for the use of the Metlakahtla Indian (recently emigrated from British Columbia and settled on the islands with the encouragement of executive and administrative officer), and such other Alaskan natives as might join them, to be held and used by them in common under regulations of the Secretary of the Interior. The islands were a well defined group, uninhabited before the coming of the Indians, who were peculiarly dependent on the adjacent fisheries. Held, in view of the circumstance at time of the enactment and it subsequent construction, that the reservation included adjacent deep water, and that a fish net constructed therein by defendant 600 feet beyond high tide line, and whose operation might materially reduce the supply of fish accessible to the Indians, was subject to abatement at the suit of the United States. P. 248 U. S. 89.

240 F. 274 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 248 U. S. 86

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