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UNITED STATES V. POWERS, 305 U. S. 527 (1939)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Powers, 305 U.S. 527 (1939)

United States v. Powers

No. 102

Argued November 18, 1938

Decided January 9, 1939

305 U.S. 527


1. The Treaty of May 7, 1868, between the United States and the Crow Indians, which established their reservation and contemplated settlement in severalty and farming by individual Indians, operated by implication to reserve the waters within the Reservation for the equal benefit of tribal members. Winters v. United States, 207 U. S. 564. Pp. 305 U. S. 528-532.

2. Allottees and their grantees acquired the right to use some portion of the tribal waters essential for cultivation. Id.

Subsequent Acts, cited in the opinion, do not deny to allottees participation in the use of waters essential to farming and homemaking. If possible, legislation subsequent to the Treaty must be interpreted in harmony with its plain purposes.

3. The General Allotment Act of 1887 recognizes equal rights in distribution of water among Indians resident on reservations, and authorizes the Secretary of the Interior by regulations to secure just and equal distribution. P. 305 U. S. 533.

4. Adoption by the Secretary of the Interior of plans for irrigation projects to serve certain lands on the Crow Indian Reservation did not imply a purpose to exclude all other land from participation in essential water, and thereby destroy the equal interest granted by the Treaty. P. 305 U. S. 533.

Subsequent allotments for farming followed by patents negative any such notion.

94 F.2d 783 affirmed.

Certiorari, post, p. 581, to review a decree which affirmed a decree of the District Court, 1 F.Supp. 155, dismissing a bill by which the United States sought to enjoin the owners of certain tracts of land in the Crow Indian Reservation, Indian allotments which had been duly sold in fee, from using or diverting any water from two streams on the Reservation.

Page 305 U. S. 528

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