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UNITED STATES V. CHAVEZ, 290 U. S. 357 (1933)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Chavez, 290 U.S. 357 (1933)

United States v. Chavez

No. 162

Argued November 6, 7, 1933

Decided December 11, 1933

290 U.S. 357


1. The term "Indian country," as used in the Act of June 30, 1839, regulating trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, was intended to include any unceded lands owned or occupied by an Indian nation or tribe of Indians, and it continues to have that meaning, save in instances where the context of the Act shows that a different meaning is intended. P. 290 U. S. 364.

2. The people of the Pueblo of Isleta are Indian wards of the United States, and the lands owned and occupied by them under their ancient grant are "Indian country" within the meaning of U.S.C. Title 25, § 217, extending to "the Indian country" the general

Page 290 U. S. 358

laws of the United States relating to the punishment of crimes. P. 290 U. S. 364.

3. Larceny within the Pueblo of Isleta of property belonging to an Indian, though the offender be not an Indian, is an offense against the United States. Construing U.S.C. Title 18, §§ 451 and 456, and U.S.C. Title 25, § 217. P. 290 U. S. 365.

4. The principle of state equality established by the Constitution and declared by the Act enabling New Mexico to be admitted into the Union as a state "on an equal footing with the original states" is not disturbed by a legitimate exertion by the United States of its constitutional power in respect of its Indian wards and their property. P. 290 U. S. 365.


Appeal under the Criminal Appeals Act from a judgment of the District Court which sustained a demurrer to an indictment.

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