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Ex Parte Kan-Gi-Shun-Ca (Ex Parte Crow Dog)

United States Supreme Court
109 U.S. 556 (1883)


Crow Dog (defendant) and Spotted Tail were both members of the Brule Sioux Indian tribe. On August 5, 1881, Crow Dog killed Spotted Tail. The Sioux tribe dealt with the crime according to their customs and policies. Shortly thereafter, a federal agent arrested Crow Dog, who was charged with murder and tried before the federal district court for the First Judicial District of the Territory of Dakota. Crow Dog was found guilty and sentenced to death. Crow Dog was held in jail in anticipation of his execution on January 14, 1884. Crow Dog appealed, and the supreme court of the territory affirmed. Crow Dog petitioned the United States Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the federal district court had no jurisdiction over his crime of killing another Indian man on Indian territory because section 2146 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (Revised Statutes) exempted Indian-on-Indian crimes from federal jurisdiction. In response, the federal government argued that an 1868 treaty with the Sioux Nation had repealed section 2146.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Matthews, J.)

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