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United States v. Sioux Nations of Indians

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Property Law Keyed to Singer

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Citation. 448 U.S. 371,100 S. Ct. 2716, 65 L. Ed. 2d 844,1980 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. Congress took away the land of the Sioux, which had previously been given to them in perpetuity.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The 1877 Act constituted a taking of tribal property, which had been set aside for the exclusive occupation of the Sioux by the Fort Laramie Treaty. That taking implied an obligation on the part of the government to provide just compensation to the Sioux Nation.

Facts. The Fort Laramie Treaty between the United States (Defendant) and Sioux Nation of Indians (Plaintiff) established the Great Sioux Reservation, a large tract of land. Defendant agreed that no unauthorized persons would enter the land. In exchange, Plaintiff agreed to relinquish their rights to occupy territories outside the reservation. Years later, speculation arose that the Black Hills, which were included in the Reservation contained gold and silver. Defendant allowed miners to go to the Hills. In the meantime, Congress was dissatisfied with the failure of the Sioux to become self-sufficient. Congress had to appropriate money to feed them. In 1876, Defendant entered into an agreement with Plaintiff when the Sioux would relinquish their rights to the Black Hills in exchange for subsistence rations for as long as they would be needed. The agreement was turned into an Act the next year, which abrogated the Fort Laramie Treaty.

Issue. Is the Act a taking of the Black Hills for which just compensation was due?
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