Idaho v. United States, 533 U.S. 262, 8 (2001)

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

Opinion of the Court

the Tribe alone (no one else being mentioned) be compensated for the right-of-way, a part of which crossed over navigable waters within the reservation. Id., 3, 25 Stat. 161; see also Reply Brief for Petitioner 16.

Congress was not prepared to ratify the 1887 agreement, however, owing to a growing desire to obtain for the public not only any interest of the Tribe in land outside the 1873 reservation, but certain portions of the reservation itself. The House Committee on Indian Affairs later recalled that the 1887 agreement was not promptly ratified for

"sundry reasons, among which was a desire on the part of the United States to acquire an additional area, to wit, a certain valuable portion of the reservation specially dedicated to the exclusive use of said Indians under an Executive order of 1873, and which portions of said lands, situate[d] on the northern end of said reservation, is valuable and necessary to the citizens of the United States for sundry reasons. It contains numerous, extensive, and valuable mineral ledges. It contains large bodies of valuable timber. . . . It contains a magnificent sheet of water, the Coeur d'Alene Lake . . . ." H. R. Rep. No. 1109, 51st Cong., 1st Sess., 4 (1890).

But Congress did not simply alter the 1873 boundaries unilaterally. Instead, the Tribe was understood to be entitled beneficially to the reservation as then defined, and the 1889 Indian Appropriations Act included a provision directing the Secretary of the Interior "to negotiate with the Coeur d'Alene tribe of Indians," and, specifically, to negotiate "for the purchase and release by said tribe of such portions of its reservation not agricultural and valuable chiefly for minerals and timber as such tribe shall consent to sell." Act of Mar. 2, 1889, ch. 412, 4, 25 Stat. 1002. Later that year, the Tribe and Government negotiators reached a new agreement under which the Tribe would cede


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