Idaho v. United States, 533 U.S. 262, 10 (2001)

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

Opinion of the Court

and 1889 agreements with the Tribe. Act of Mar. 3, 1891, ch. 543, 19, 20, 26 Stat. 1027, 1029. The Act also directed the Secretary of the Interior to convey to one Frederick Post a "portion of [the] reservation," id., at 1031, that the Tribe had purported to sell to Post in 1871.3 The property, located on the Spokane River and known as Post Falls, was described as "all three of the river channels and islands, with enough land on the north and south shores for water-power and improvements." Ibid.

In 1894, Congress approved yet another agreement with the Tribe, this time for the cession of a lakeside townsite called Harrison, within the boundary of the ratified reservation. Act of Aug. 15, 1894, ch. 290, 28 Stat. 322, agreement reprinted in App. 389; see also 95 F. Supp. 2d, at 1117. The agreement with the Tribe described the cession as covering "all the land" embraced within a tract that included a portion of the lake. App. 392. Like the earlier railroad cession, this one was subject to compensation to the Tribe and no one else.

The United States, acting in its own capacity and as trustee for the Tribe, initiated this action against the State of Idaho to quiet title (in the United States, to be held for the use and benefit of the Tribe) to the submerged lands within the exterior boundaries of the Tribe's current reservation, which encompass the lower third of Lake Coeur d'Alene and part of the St. Joe River.4 The Tribe inter-3 See generally, e. g., Oneida Indian Nation of N. Y. v. County of Oneida, 414 U. S. 661, 667-668 (1974) (under common law and various Nonintercourse Acts, Indian title can only be extinguished with federal consent).

4 Because this action was brought by the United States, it does not implicate the Eleventh Amendment bar raised when the Tribe pressed its own claim to the submerged lands in Idaho v. Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho, 521 U. S. 261 (1997). See Arizona v. California, 460 U. S. 605, 614 (1983).

The United States's complaint was apparently motivated by Idaho's issuance of permits for the construction of "docks, piers, floats, pilings, breakwaters, boat ramps and other such aids to navigation within the


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