Idaho v. United States, 533 U.S. 262, 6 (2001)

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Cite as: 533 U. S. 262 (2001)

Opinion of the Court

An 1883 Government survey fixed the reservation's total area at 598,499.85 acres, which the District Court found necessarily "included submerged lands within the reservation boundaries." 95 F. Supp. 2d, at 1108.

As of 1885, Congress had neither ratified the 1873 agreement nor compensated the Tribe. This inaction prompted the Tribe to petition the Government again, to "make with us a proper treaty of peace and friendship . . . by which your petitioners may be properly and fully compensated for such portion of their lands not now reserved to them; [and] that their present reserve may be confirmed to them." App. 350-351. In response, Congress authorized new negotiations to obtain the Tribe's agreement to cede land outside the borders of the 1873 reservation. Act of May 15, 1886, ch. 333, 24 Stat. 44. In 1887, the Tribe agreed to cede

"all right, title, and claim which they now have, or ever had, to all lands in said Territories [Washington, Idaho, and Montana] and elsewhere, except the portion of land within the boundaries of their present reservation in the Territory of Idaho, known as the Coeur d'Alene Reservation." App. 378.

The Government, in return, promised to compensate the Tribe, and agreed that

"[i]n consideration of the foregoing cession and agreements . . . the Coeur d'Alene Reservation shall be held forever as Indian land and as homes for the Coeur d'Alene Indians . . . and no part of said reservation shall ever be sold, occupied, open to white settlement,

Petitioner 9. Ultimately, this factual dispute is of little consequence; the District Court found that the boundary and acreage calculations showed the understanding of the Government and the Tribe that submerged lands were included, 95 F. Supp. 2d, at 1108, and the State conceded on appeal that "[c]ertainly, . . . by 1888, the executive branch had construed the 1873 Coeur d'Alene Reservation as including submerged lands." Opening Brief for Appellant in No. 98-35831 (CA9), p. 17.


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