United States v. Powers
United States Supreme Court
305 U.S. 527 (1939)
In 1868, the United States executed a treaty creating the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. The treaty explicitly provided that if any individual Indian wanted to become a farmer, he could select reservation land for farming and that the land would no longer be held in common by the reservation, but would be held individually by that Indian. Likewise, the General Allotment Act of 1877, 24 Stat. 388, also provided that Indians were entitled to allotments of reservation land for agricultural and grazing purposes. That land was initially to be held in trust by the United States, but after 25 years became conveyable as fee-simple property. As a result, by the 1900s, many plots were sold to non-Indians. In 1934, the United States (plaintiff) sued on behalf of the Crow Indian Reservation to prevent further taking of water from sources within the reservation by individuals (defendants) who had succeeded to individual allotments of Crow Indian Reservation land.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (McReynolds, J.)
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