Idaho v. United States, 533 U.S. 262, 19 (2001)

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Opinion of the Court

reservation land for the townsite of Harrison confirms Congress's understanding that the lakebed within the reservation's boundaries was part of the reservation. Only three years after the Act confirming the reservation, the town-site cession was treated just as the right-of-way for the railroad had been treated before statehood. The Tribe (and no one else) was compensated for a cession whose bounds suggested inclusion of submerged lands; the boundary lines did not stop at the water's edge and meander the entire shore, but continued into the area of the lake to encompass submerged territory that the National Government simply could not have conveyed if it had passed to Idaho at the time of statehood.9

In sum, Congress undertook to negotiate with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe for reduction in the territory of an Executive Order reservation that Idaho concedes included the submerged lands at issue here. Congress was aware that the submerged lands were included and clearly intended to redefine the area of the reservation that covered them only by consensual transfer, in exchange for the guarantee that the Tribe would retain the remainder. There is no indica-submerged lands underlying navigable waters. We need not resolve this factual question, which was not addressed below. Suffice it to say that Congress's actions in 1891 were consistent with an understanding that the State did not have title to the riverbeds conveyed to Post, which, along with the later Harrison cession of part of the concededly navigable lake, is consistent with an understanding that no submerged lands within the reservation's stated boundaries had passed to Idaho.

9 Here, we agree with the dissent, post, at 284, that Congress cannot, after statehood, reserve or convey submerged lands that "ha[ve] already been bestowed" upon a State. See Shively v. Bowlby, 152 U. S. 1, 26-28 (1894) (citing Lessee of Pollard v. Hagan, 3 How. 212 (1845)). Our point in mentioning Congress's actions after statehood is merely to confirm what Congress's prestatehood actions already make clear: that the lands at issue here were not bestowed upon Idaho at statehood, because Congress intended that they remain tribal reservation lands barring agreement to the contrary.

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