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UNITED STATES V. PAYNE, 264 U. S. 446 (1924)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Payne, 264 U.S. 446 (1924)

United States v. Payne

No. 240

Argued February 25, 1924

Decided April 7, 1924

264 U.S. 446


1. The United States, as guardian of tribal Indians, is bound to discharge its trust with good faith and fairness, and treaties made with them should be liberally construed. P. 264 U. S. 448.

2. The treaty made in 1855 with the Quileute and other Indians, by which they surrendered broader claims for a limited reservation, provided for money "to clear, fence, and break up a sufficient quantity of land for cultivation," and authorized the President to assign "lands" in severalty to the Indians for permanent homes. Held that timbered lands were not intended to be excluded from assignment. Id.

3. The General Indian Allotment Act should be construed when possible in harmony with previous Indian treaties. Id.

4. The General Allotment Act, in limiting allotments to "eighty acres of agricultural or one hundred and sixty acres of grazing land to any one Indian," was not meant to preclude an allotment of timbered lands, capable of being cleared and cultivated, but simply to differentiate in the matter of area between lands adaptable to agricultural uses and lands valuable only for grazing purposes. P. 264 U. S. 449.

284 F. 827 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals which affirmed a decree of the district court for the plaintiff and appellee Payne in his suit to determine his right to an allotment of land in an Indian Reservation.

Page 264 U. S. 447

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