Idaho v. United States, 533 U.S. 262, 13 (2001)

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Opinion of the Court

on notice that the Executive reservation included submerged lands, see id., at 42, 45, 56, and whether the purpose of the reservation would have been compromised if the submerged lands had passed to the State, id., at 42-43, 45-46, 58. Where the purpose would have been undermined, we explained, "[i]t is simply not plausible that the United States sought to reserve only the upland portions of the area," id., at 39-40.

Here, Idaho has conceded that "the executive branch had intended, or by 1888 had interpreted, the 1873 Executive Order Reservation to include submerged lands." Brief for Petitioner 17. The concession is a sound one. A right to control the lakebed and adjacent waters was traditionally important to the Tribe, which emphasized in its petition to the Government that it continued to depend on fishing. Cf. Montana, supra, at 556 (finding no intent to include submerged lands within a reservation where the tribe did not depend on fishing or use of navigable water). The District Court found that the acreage determination of the reserved area in 1883 necessarily included the area of the lakebed within the unusual boundary line crossing the lake from east to west. Cf. Alaska, supra, at 39 (concluding that a boundary following the ocean side of offshore islands necessarily embraced submerged lands shoreward of the islands). In light of those findings and Idaho's concession, the parties here concentrate on the second question, of Congress's intent to defeat Idaho's title to the submerged lands.5

5 The District Court and Court of Appeals accepted the United States's position that it had reserved the submerged lands, and that Congress intended that reservation to defeat Idaho's title. They did not reach the Tribe's alternative theory that, notwithstanding the scope of any reservation, the Tribe retained aboriginal title to the submerged lands, which cannot be extinguished without explicit action by Congress, see Oneida Indian Nation, 414 U. S., at 667-668; cf. United States v. Winans, 198 U. S. 371, 381 (1905) (explaining that a treaty ceding some aboriginal lands to the United States and setting apart other lands as a reservation "was not a grant of rights to the Indians, but a grant of rights from

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