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Case of Mary and Carrie Dann v. United States

Cas. No. 11.140 (Judgment on the Merits)
Inter-Am. C.H.R. No. 75/02 (2002)


The Bureau of Land Management cited Mary and Carrie Dann (Danns) (plaintiffs) for grazing their cattle on federal lands without a permit. The Danns argued that as members of the Western Shoshone Indian tribe, they possessed aboriginal title to the land. The United States (defendant) argued that the Western Shoshone’s aboriginal title was extinguished when the Indian Claims Commission (ICC) paid compensation to the tribe. However, the payment was placed in a trust account, which had not yet been distributed. The United States Supreme Court held that the payment to the trust account terminated the tribe’s aboriginal title but made no ruling as to whether the Danns possessed individual aboriginal title. On remand, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Danns’ individual rights were terminated by the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act. The Danns petitioned the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, contending that the United States’ denial of their aboriginal title rights violated the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (American Declaration).

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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