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DECOTEAU V. DISTRICT COURT, 420 U. S. 425 (1975)

U.S. Supreme Court

DeCoteau v. District Court, 420 U.S. 425 (1975)

DeCoteau v. District Court

No. 73-1148

Argued December 16, 1974

Decided March 3, 1975*

420 U.S. 425


The Lake Traverse Indian Reservation in South Dakota, created by an 1867 treaty, held terminated and returned to the public domain by an 1891 Act which, in ratification of a previously negotiated 1889 Agreement between the affected Indian tribe and the United States, not only opened all unallotted lands to settlement, but also appropriated and vested in the tribe a sum certain per acre in payment for the express cession and relinquishment of "all" of the tribe's "claim, right, title, and interest" in the unallotted lands; and therefore the South Dakota state courts have civil and criminal jurisdiction over conduct of members of the tribe on the non-Indian, unallotted lands within the 1867 reservation borders. The face of the Act and its surrounding circumstances and legislative history all point unmistakably to this conclusion. Mattz v. Arnett, 412 U. S. 481, and Seymour v. Superintendent, 368 U. S. 351, distinguished. Pp. 420 U. S. 431-449.

No. 73-1148, 87 S.D. 555, 211 N.W.2d 843, affirmed; No. 73-1500, 489 F.2d 99, reversed.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and WHITE, BLACKMUN, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 420 U. S. 460.

Page 420 U. S. 426

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