Steven Newcomb: California tribes still not treated with respect

"On October 5, 1942, the U.S. Court of Claims issued its opinion in the case California Indians K-344, which involved “Various Tribes of Indians located in California.” The case was the result of a jurisdictional act of May 18, 1928, whereby Congress permitted the State of California to sue the United States on behalf of the Indians of California. As the Court of Claims stated: “In 1928, Congress passed a private act, 45 Stat. 602…which provided that the claims of these Indians should be adjudicated by the Court of Claims.”

The Court of Claims was referring to claims premised on the refusal of the U.S. Senate, in 1852, to ratify eighteen treaties that U.S. treaty representatives made with the Indians of California. As the Court of Claims said: “There was a promise made to these tribes and bands of Indians and accepted by them but the treaties were never ratified so the promise was never fulfilled. From 1852 this matter lay dormant for almost eighty years.” In making its ruling, the Court of Claims also specified:

This case does not involve the payment for land of which the Indians has a cession [sic], or use and occupancy. No legal claim under any treaty or act of Congress setting aside land for the use of the Indians of California can be sustained. The decree can only be for a fixed amount of compensation. There has been no taking [of land] which under the Constitution would require just compensation to be paid and therefore would involve interest."

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: The Court of Claims Ruling in California Indians K-344 (Indian Country Today 5/30)

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