Hagen v. Utah, 510 U.S. 399, 27 (1994)

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Cite as: 510 U. S. 399 (1994)

Blackmun, J., dissenting

ished. See Solem, 465 U. S., at 468. The General Allotment Act itself did not terminate the reservation system, however, but was intended to assimilate 4 the Indians by transforming them into agrarians and opening their lands to non-Indians. See Mattz, 412 U. S., at 496. After this goal of the allotment policies proved to be a disastrous failure,5 Congress reversed course with the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, 48 Stat. 984, as amended, 25 U. S. C. 461 et seq. (1988 ed. and Supp. IV), which allowed surplus-opened Indian lands to be restored to tribal ownership. Finally, in 1948 Congress resolved the ensuing jurisdictional conflicts by extending tribal jurisdiction to encompass lands owned by non-Indians within reservation boundaries. See Act of June 25, 1948, 62 Stat. 757 (codified as 18 U. S. C. 1151 (defining "Indian country" as including "all land within the limits of any Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States Government")).6 Reservation boundaries,

4 "The theory of assimilation was used to justify the [allotment] legislation as beneficial to Indians. Proponents of assimilation policies maintained that if Indians adopted the habits of civilized life they would need less land, and the surplus would be available for white settlers. The taking of these lands was justified as necessary for the progress of civilization as a whole." Cohen 128.

5 The 138 million acres held exclusively by Indians in 1887 when the General Allotment Act was passed had been reduced to 52 million acres by 1934. See 2 F. Prucha, The Great Father 896 (1984). John Collier testified before Congress that nearly half of the lands remaining in Indian hands were desert or semidesert, and that 100,000 Indians were "totally landless as a result of allotment." Hearings on H. R. 7902 before the House Committee on Indian Affairs, 73d Cong., 2d Sess., 17 (1934); see also D. Otis, The Dawes Act and the Allotment of Indian Lands 124-155 (Prucha ed. 1973) (discussing results of the allotments by 1900).

6 Congress' extension of tribal jurisdiction to reservation lands owned by non-Indians served pragmatic ends. "[W]here the existence or nonexistence of an Indian reservation, and therefore the existence or nonexistence of federal jurisdiction, depends upon the ownership of particular parcels of land, law enforcement officers operating in the area will find it necessary to search tract books in order to determine whether criminal jurisdiction over each particular offense . . . is in the State or Federal


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