Royal Proclamation of 1763
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III on October 7, 1763, following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War. This proclamation rendered all land grants given by the government to British subjects who fought for the Crown against France worthless, it forbade all settlement west of a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains, delineated as an Indian Reserve. Exclusion from the vast region of Trans-Appalachia filled people within various colonies with indignation. Discontent would arise during the American Revolution; the Royal Proclamation continues to be of legal importance to First Nations in Canada. The 1763 proclamation line is similar to the Eastern Continental Divide's path running northwards from Georgia to the Pennsylvania–New York border and north-eastwards past the drainage divide on the St. Lawrence Divide from there northwards through New England; the Seven Years' War ended with the Treaty of Paris.
Under this treaty, France ceded ownership of all of continental North America east of the Mississippi River, including Quebec, the rest of Canada to Britain. Spain received all French territory west of the Mississippi. Both Spain and Britain received some French islands in the Caribbean. France kept a few small islands used by fishermen, modern-day Haiti and the rich sugar island of Guadeloupe; the Proclamation of 1763 dealt with the management of inherited French colonies from the French and Indian War, as well as regulating colonial expansion. It established new governments for four areas: the province of Quebec, the new colonies of West Florida and East Florida, Grenada. At the outset, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 defined the jurisdictional limits of the occupied territories of North America. Explaining parts of the Frontier expansion in North America, in Colonial America and Canada colony of New France, a diminutive new colony, the Province of Quebec was carved; the territory northeast of the St. John River on the Labrador coast was placed under the Newfoundland Colony.
The lands west of Quebec and west of a line running along the crest of the Allegheny mountains became Indian territory, temporarily barred to settlement, to the great disappointment of the land speculators of Virginia and Pennsylvania, who had started the Seven Years' War to gain these territories. The proclamation created a boundary line between the British colonies on the Atlantic coast and American Indian lands west of the Appalachian Mountains; the proclamation line was not intended to be a permanent boundary between the colonists and Aboriginal lands, but rather a temporary boundary which could be extended further west in an orderly, lawful manner. It was not designed as an uncrossable boundary, its contour was defined by the headwaters. All land with rivers that flowed into the Atlantic was designated for the colonial entities, while all the land with rivers that flowed into the Mississippi was reserved for the native Indian population; the proclamation outlawed the private purchase of Native American land, which had created problems in the past.
Instead, all future land purchases were to be made by Crown officials "at some public Meeting or Assembly of the said Indians". Furthermore, British colonials were forbidden to settle on native lands, colonial officials were forbidden to grant ground or lands without royal approval; the proclamation gave the Crown a monopoly on all future land purchases from American Indians. British colonists and land speculators objected to the proclamation boundary since the British government had assigned land grants to them. Many settlements existed beyond the proclamation line, some of, temporarily evacuated during Pontiac's War, there were many granted land claims yet to be settled. For example, George Washington and his Virginia soldiers had been granted lands past the boundary. Prominent American colonials joined with the land speculators in Britain to lobby the government to move the line further west, their demands were met, the boundary line was adjusted in a series of treaties with the Native Americans.
In 1768 the Treaty of Fort Stanwix and the Treaty of Hard Labour, followed in 1770 by the Treaty of Lochaber, opened much of what is now Kentucky and West Virginia to British settlement. A new map was drawn up at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, that moved the line much further to the west, gave the lands claimed by the colonists to the British side. Pontiac's Rebellion was a war involving Native American tribes from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, Ohio Country who were dissatisfied with British postwar policies in the Great Lakes region after the British victory, they were able to take over a large number of the forts which commanded the waterways involved in trade within the region and export to Great Britain. The Proclamation of 1763 had been in the works before Pontiac's Rebellion, but the outbreak of the conflict hastened the process. British officials hoped the proclamation would reconcile American Indians to British rule and help to prevent future hostilities; some Native American peoples—primarily in the Great Lakes region—had a long and close relationship with France, were dismayed to find that they were now under British sovereignty.
They missed the amicable relationship with the French, along with the gifts they bestowed upon them, neither of which they had with the British. The Royal Proclamation continued to govern the cession
Joint Tribal Council of the Passamaquoddy Tribe v. Morton
Joint a Tribal Council, of the Passamaquoddy Tribe v. Morton, 528 F.2d 370, was a landmark decision regarding aboriginal title in the United States. The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that the Nonintercourse Act applied to the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot, non-federally-recognized Indian tribes, established a trust relationship between those tribes and the federal government that the state of Maine could not terminate. By upholding a declaratory judgement of the United States District Court for the District of Maine, the First Circuit cleared the way for the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot to oblige the federal government to bring a land claim on their behalf for 60% of Maine, an area populated by 350,000 non-Indians. According to the Department of Justice, the suit was "potentially the most complex litigation brought in the federal courts with social and economic impacts without precedent and incredible potential litigation costs to all parties." The decision led to the passage of the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act in 1980, allocating $81.5 million for the benefit of the tribes, in part to allow them to purchase lands in Maine, extinguishing all aboriginal title in Maine.
The settlement was reached "after more than a decade of enormously complex litigation and negotiation."The Passamaquoddy claim was "one of the first of a series of eastern Indian land claims to be prosecuted" and "the first successful suit for the return of any significant amount of land." Compared to the $81.5 million compensation in the Passamaquoddy case, the financial compensation of other Indian Land Claims Settlements has been "inconsequential." Indigenous populations have been present in modern-day Maine for 11,000 years, with year-round occupation for 6,000 years. Burial sites associated with an Algonquian-speaking culture date back 5,000 years; the Wabanaki Confederacy, which included the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes pre-dates European contact in the region. The Passamaquoddy may have had contact with Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524, but their first extended contact with Europeans would have been with a short-lived settlement built on Dochet Island by Samuel de Champlain and Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons in 1604–1605.
Research by Emerson Baker in 1989 uncovered over 70 extant deeds documenting private purchases of land from indigenous peoples by English-speaking settlers, the earliest dating to 1639. But, most Passamaquoddy lands "remained beyond the reach of English settlers" until the mid-18th century. A few years prior to the end of the French and Indian Wars in 1763, the Province of Massachusetts Bay had taken possession of all Penobscot land "below the head of the tide" of the Penobscot River. During the Revolutionary War, both the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy, having been solicited by Superintendent John Allan, were allied with the colonies and fought against the British. After the war, Allan urged the Continental Congress to follow through on various promises made to the tribes. In 1794, Allan—now as Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts—negotiated a treaty with the Passamaquoddy that alienated most of the aboriginal lands at issue in the litigation; the treaty reserved 23,000 acres for the tribe.
In 1796, the Penobscot ceded 200,000 acres in the Penobscot River basin. In 1818, the Penobscot ceded all their remaining land, save some islands in the Penobscot River and four six-mile-square townships. Maine assumed Massachusetts' obligations under these treaties; the "final big grab" happened in 1833, when Maine purchased the four townships, relegating the Penobscot to Indian Island. None of the land cessions occurred pursuant to a federally ratified treaty. According to Kempers: Since the beginning of this country's history, most American Indian tribes have been subject to federal authority and jurisdiction. In Maine, indigenous populations lived on reservations that were and administered by the state; this unique arrangement shaped tribal life in Maine, proved to be a crucial issue in the development and resolution of the tribe's land claim. In the late 19th century, the Maine Supreme Court had held that the Passamaquoddy were not a tribe and had no aboriginal rights. In the 1950s, the Penobscot Nation had hired a lawyer to research the possibility of a land claim.
In light of the Eisenhower administration's Indian termination policy, counsel opined that "obtaining a fair hearing of their claim would be impossible." Up until the 1960s, Maine continued to fulfill certain provisions of the 1794 treaty, including the periodic provision of 150 yards of blue cloth, 400 pounds of powder, 100 bushels of salt, 36 hats, a barrel of rum. By 1964, of the 23,000 acres reservation, 6,000 acres had been diverted to other purposes and only 17,000 acres remained under tribal control. In February 1964, the tribal council of the Passamaquoddy Indian Township Reservation requested a meeting with Maine's governor and attorney general to discuss a land dispute related to construction by non-Indians on lands claimed by the tribe; the Passamaquoddy representatives were kept waiting for 5 hours after their scheduled meeting time with the governor, the attorney general "smiled and wished them well if they took their claim to court." Soon after the meeting, pursuant to a vote of the Passamaquoddy tribal council, 75 members protested against the construction project along Route 1, resulting in 10 arrests.
Charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing, they hired attorney Don Gellers to defend them. While these charges were still pending, Gellers began to prepare a land claim on behalf of the tribe. Gellers' theory was that Ma
Aboriginal title in the United States
The United States was the first jurisdiction to acknowledge the common law doctrine of aboriginal title. Native American tribes and nations establish aboriginal title by actual and exclusive use and occupancy for a "long time." Individuals may establish aboriginal title, if their ancestors held title as individuals. Unlike other jurisdictions, the content of aboriginal title is not limited to historical or traditional land uses. Aboriginal title may not be alienated, except to the federal government or with the approval of Congress. Aboriginal title is distinct from the lands Native Americans own in fee simple and occupy under federal trust; the power of Congress to extinguish aboriginal title—by "purchase or conquest," or with a clear statement—is plenary and exclusive. Such extinguishment is not compensable under the Fifth Amendment, although various statutes provide for compensation. Unextinguished aboriginal title provides a federal common law cause of action for ejectment or trespass, for which there is federal subject-matter jurisdiction.
Many meritorious tribal lawsuits have been settled by Congressional legislation providing for the extinguishment of aboriginal title as well as monetary compensation or the approval of gaming and gambling enterprises. Large-scale compensatory litigation first arose in the 1940s, possessory litigation in the 1970s. Federal sovereign immunity bars possessory claims against the federal government, although compensatory claims are possible by statute; the Eleventh Amendment bars both possessory and compensatory claims against states, unless the federal government intervenes. The US Supreme Court rejected nearly all legal and equitable affirmative defenses in 1985. However, the Second Circuit—where most remaining possessory claims are pending—has held that laches bars all claims that are "disruptive." Before Independence Before 1763, the Colonial history of the United States was characterized by private purchases of lands from Indians. Many of the earliest deeds in the Eastern states purport to commemorate such transactions.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 changed matters, reserving for the Crown the exclusive right of preemption, requiring all such purchases to have Royal approval. It was an attempt to restrain colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains. Forged versions of the Pratt-Yorke opinion of 1757 were circulated in the colonies, edited such that it appeared to apply to purchases from Native Americans; the Royal Proclamation was among the enumerated complaints in the Declaration of Independence: He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States. Articles of Confederation-eraThe Confederation Congress Proclamation of 1783 prohibited the extinguishment of aboriginal title without the consent of Congress. But, the states New York, purchased lands from tribes during this period without the consent of the federal government; these purchases were not tested in court until the 1970s and 1980s, when the Second Circuit held that the Confederation Congress had neither the authority under the Articles of Confederation nor the intent to limit the ability of states to extinguish aboriginal title within their borders.
Post-ConstitutionStates lost the ability to extinguish aboriginal title with the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788, which vested authority over commerce with American Indian tribes in the federal government. Congress codified this prohibition in the Nonintercourse Acts of 1790, 1793, 1796, 1799, 1802, 1833. Marshall Court The Marshall Court issued some of the earliest and most influential opinions on the status of aboriginal title in the United States, most of them authored by Chief Justice John Marshall. But, without exception, the remarks of the Court on aboriginal title during this period are dicta. Only one indigenous litigant appeared before the Marshall Court, there, Marshall dismissed the case for lack of original jurisdiction. Fletcher v. Peck and Johnson v. M'Intosh, the first and the most detailed explorations of the subject by Marshall both arose out of collusive lawsuits, where land speculators deceived the court with a falsified case and controversy in order to elicit the desired precedent.
In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Worcester v. Georgia, the dicta of Marshall and the dissenting justices embraced a far broader view of aboriginal title. Johnson involved a pre-Revolutionary private conveyances from 1773 and 1775. In both cases, the Marshall Court continued to apply the rule that aboriginal title was inalienable, except to The Crown. Removal era The Indian Removal Act of 1830 established policy that resulted in the complete extinguishment of aboriginal title in Alabama and Mississippi. Reservation and termination eras This shift in policy resulted in all tribal lands being either ceded to the federal government or designated as an Indian reservation in Iowa, Minnesota and Kansas by 1870. Whereas, "it had taken whites 250 years to purchase the Eastern half of the United States... they needed less than 40 years for the Western hal
Aboriginal title in Louisiana
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held that there is no aboriginal title in Louisiana. Spanish law, as interpreted by the U. S. Supreme Court, required the approval of the Governor for the alienation of aboriginal title. Spain relinquished its claim to Louisiana to France in 1800. In 1803, the United States purchased France's claim to Louisiana in the Louisiana Purchase; the 1804 act forming the Louisiana Territory declared that any Spanish grants during the disputed period, “under whatsoever authority transacted, or pretended,” were “from the beginning, void, of no effect in law or equity." Louisiana became a state in 1812. Foster v. Neilson Sampeyreac v. United States Haydel v. Dufresne West v. Cochran The "Louisiana Land Claims Act" is the collective name given to federal land title statutes applicable to Louisiana, passed between 1805 and 1844; the first act, passed on March 2, 1805, required all those claiming land under imperfect or incomplete title to file a claim with the Board of Land Commissioners.
The 1807 act authorized the Board to decide claims submitted to it. In 1816, the "Opelousas Report" concluded that the Nonintercourse Act did not apply to purchases from Indians under Spanish and French rule, but that Spanish and French law did apply; the Chitimacha brought suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in July 1977 claiming a large tract in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana; the land in the tract was conveyed from the tribe in three 18th century transactions in violation of the Nonintercourse Act. The three sales, which occurred under Spanish rule, deeded land to Phillip Verret, Frederick Pellerin, Marie Joseph. Eighty land owners were named as defendants. Judge W. Eugene Davis granted summary judgement to the landowners; the Chitimacha appealed, arguing both that Judge Davis should have recused and that his ruling was in error. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed. In addition to finding Judge Davis qualified to hear the case, the Fifth Circuit held that the Louisiana Land Claims Acts applied to aboriginal title, obligated the Chitimacha to file a claim with the Commission, extinguished their title when they did not do so.
The Fifth Circuit assumed, but did not decide, that the three transactions occurred in violation of Spanish law by failing to obtain the permission of the Governor. The three transferees, although not required to file claims under the Louisiana Land Claims Act, had done so, their claims had been upheld; the Fifth Circuit referred to the Supreme Court's cases interpreting the California Land Claims Act, which it concluded was "very similar" to the statutes relating to Louisiana. Conversely, the Court distinguished United States v. Santa Fe Pac. R. R. noting that the federal statutes relating to Arizona and New Mexico there "did not set up any system for filing and deciding the validity of the land claims. They did not contain a forfeiture provision." The Fifth Circuit further held that the Chitimacaha held "incomplete title," defining incomplete title as "title, not valid until confirmed by the United States government." The Fifth Circuit did not hold that all aboriginal title was incomplete title, but held that the Chitimacha's was because they had sold the land in question and "released possession."
Harry L. Coles, Jr. Applicability of the Public Land System to Louisiana, 43 Miss. Valley Hist. Rev. 39. Francis B. Sayre, Change of Sovereignty and Private Ownership of Land, 12 Am. J. Int'l L. 475
Indian removals in Indiana
Indian removals in Indiana followed a series of the land cession treaties made between 1795 and 1846 that led to the removal of most of the native tribes from Indiana. Some of the removals occurred prior to 1830, but most took place between 1830 and 1846; the Lenape, Kickapoo and Shawnee were removed in the 1820s and 1830s, but the Potawatomi and Miami removals in the 1830s and 1840s were more gradual and incomplete, not all of Indiana’s Native Americans voluntarily left the state. The most well-known resistance effort in Indiana was the forced removal of Chief Menominee and his Yellow River band of Potawatomi in what became known as the Potawatomi Trail of Death in 1838, in which 859 Potawatomi were removed to Kansas and at least forty died on the journey west; the Miami were the last to be removed from Indiana, but tribal leaders delayed the process until 1846. Many of the Miami were permitted to remain on land allotments guaranteed to them under the Treaty of St. Mary's and subsequent treaties.
Between 1803 and 1809 William Henry Harrison negotiated more than a dozen treaties on behalf of the federal government that purchased nearly all the Indian land in most of present-day Illinois and the southern third of Indiana from various tribes. Most of the Wea and the Kickapoo removed west to Illinois and Missouri after 1813; the Treaty of St. Mary's led to the removal of the Delaware, in 1820, the remaining Kickapoo, who removed west of the Mississippi River. After the United States Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, removals in Indiana became part of a larger nationwide effort, carried out under President Andrew Jackson's administration. Most of the tribes had removed from the state; the only major tribes remaining in Indiana were the Miami and the Potawatomi, both of them were confined to reservation lands under the terms of previous treaties. Between 1832 and 1837 the Potawatomi ceded their Indiana land and agreed to remove to reservations in Kansas. A small group joined the Potawatomi in Canada.
Between 1834 and 1846 the Miami ceded their reservation land in Indiana and agreed to remove west of the Mississippi River. Not all of Indiana’s Native Americans left the state. Less than one half of the Miami removed. More than a half of the Miami either returned to Indiana or were never required to leave under the terms of the treaties; the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians were the only other Indians left in the state after the end of the removals. Native Americans remaining in Indiana settled on owned land and merged into the majority culture, although some retained ties to their Native American heritage. Members of the Miami Nation of Indiana concentrated along the Wabash River, while other Native Americans settled in Indiana's urban centers. In 2000 the state's population included more than 39,000 Native Americans from more than 150 tribes; the Miami people and the Potawatomi were the most important native tribes to establish themselves in the region now known as Indiana. In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, some of these Algonquians returned from the north, where they had sought refuge from the Iroquois during the Beaver Wars.
The Miami remained Indiana's largest tribal group, had a significant presence along the Maumee and Miami rivers in what is now central and west central Indiana. They held land in a large part of northwest Ohio; the Potawatomi settled north of the Wabash River, along Lake Michigan in northern Indiana, in present-day Michigan. The Wea settled near present-day Lafayette; the Shawnee came to west central Indiana. Smaller groups, including the Lenape, Wyandott and others were scattered across other areas; these native tribes lived in agricultural villages along the rivers and exchanged furs for European goods with French traders, who began to arrive in the late 1600s. After the French left the area now known as Indiana, early treaties with Great Britain and United States set in motion a series of confrontations between the Indians who lived on the land and the British and U. S. governments who believed they had possession of it by right of treaty. Following Great Britain's defeat of the French in the French and Indian Wars, the Treaty of Paris gave the British nominal control over North America, east of the Mississippi River.
Pontiac's Rebellion, in which the Miami and Potawatomi tribes joined other Indians to fight the British, succeeded in capturing forts Miamis and Ouiatenon, among others, but the success was short lived. The Royal Proclamation of 1763, which prohibited American colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains was ineffective. Westward movement of Anglo-American settlers onto Indian lands continued. After the American Revolutionary War, Great Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris, which ceded to the Americans a large portion of land in North America, including present-day Indiana, but the native tribes who occupied the land argued that they had not been represented in the treaty negotiations and ignored its terms. Further negotiations were held to establish compensation for the loss of tribal lands, while American military expeditions were called to control Indian resistance. An Indian confederacy waged war against the Americans, but the confederacy was defeated at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, at the conclusion of the Northwest Indian War.
With the loss of British military support and supplies after their withdraw
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first constitution. It was approved, after much debate, by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, sent to the states for ratification; the Articles of Confederation came into force on March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all 13 states. A guiding principle of the Articles was to preserve the sovereignty of the states; the weak central government established by the Articles received only those powers which the former colonies had recognized as belonging to king and parliament. The Articles formed a war-time confederation of states, with an limited central government. While unratified, the document was used by the Congress to conduct business, direct the American Revolutionary War, conduct diplomacy with foreign nations, deal with territorial issues and Native American relations; the adoption of the Articles made few perceptible changes in the federal government, because it did little more than legalize what the Continental Congress had been doing.
That body was renamed the Congress of the Confederation. As the Confederation Congress attempted to govern the continually growing American states, delegates discovered that the limitations placed upon the central government rendered it ineffective at doing so; as the government's weaknesses became apparent after Shays' Rebellion, some prominent political thinkers in the fledgling US began asking for changes to the Articles. Their hope was to create a stronger national government; some states met to deal with their trade and economic problems. However, as more states became interested in meeting to change the Articles, a meeting was set in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787; this became the Constitutional Convention. It was agreed that changes would not work, instead the entire Articles needed to be replaced. On March 4, 1789, the government under the Articles was replaced with the federal government under the Constitution; the new Constitution provided for a much stronger federal government by establishing a chief executive and taxing powers.
The political push to increase cooperation among the then-loyal colonies began with the Albany Congress in 1754 and Benjamin Franklin's proposed Albany Plan, an inter-colonial collaboration to help solve mutual local problems. Over the next two decades, some of the basic concepts it addressed would strengthen. With civil disobedience resulting in coercive and quelling measures, the passage of what the colonials referred to as the intolerable acts in the English Parliament, armed skirmishes which resulted in dissidents being proclaimed rebels; these actions eroded the number of Crown Loyalists (aka Tories amongst the colonials and together with the effective propaganda campaign of the Patriot leaders, they caused an increasing number of colonists to begin agitating for independence from the mother country. In 1775, with events outpacing communications, the Second Continental Congress began acting as the provisional government that would run the American Revolutionary War and gain the colonies their collective independence.
It was an era of constitution writing—most states were busy at the task—and leaders felt the new nation must have a written constitution. During the war, Congress exercised an unprecedented level of political, diplomatic and economic authority, it adopted trade restrictions and maintained an army, issued fiat money, created a military code and negotiated with foreign governments. To transform themselves from outlaws into a legitimate nation, the colonists needed international recognition for their cause and foreign allies to support it. In early 1776, Thomas Paine argued in the closing pages of the first edition of Common Sense that the "custom of nations" demanded a formal declaration of American independence if any European power were to mediate a peace between the Americans and Great Britain; the monarchies of France and Spain in particular could not be expected to aid those they considered rebels against another legitimate monarch. Foreign courts needed to have American grievances laid before them persuasively in a "manifesto" which could reassure them that the Americans would be reliable trading partners.
Without such a declaration, Paine concluded, "he custom of all courts is against us, will be so, until, by an independence, we take rank with other nations."Beyond improving their existing association, the records of the Second Continental Congress show that the need for a declaration of independence was intimately linked with the demands of international relations. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution before the Continental Congress declaring the colonies independent. Congress created three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, the Articles of Confederation; the Declaration announced the states' entry into the international system. On June 12, 1776
The Nonintercourse Act is the collective name given to six statutes passed by the Congress in 1790, 1793, 1796, 1799, 1802, 1834 to set Amerindian boundaries of reservations. The various Acts regulate commerce between Americans and Native Americans; the most notable provisions of the Act regulate the inalienability of aboriginal title in the United States, a continuing source of litigation for 200 years. The prohibition on purchases of Indian lands without the approval of the federal government has its origins in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Confederation Congress Proclamation of 1783; the first four Acts expired after 4 years. The version of the Act in force at the time of the illicit conveyance determines the law that applies; the courts have found few legal differences between the five versions of the Act. For example, three dissenting justices in South Carolina v. Catawba Indian Tribe noted that the 1793 Act expanded the scope of the 1790 Act by applying the prohibition not only to lands but "claims."The original Act, passed on July 22, 1790 provides: No sale of lands made by any Indians, or any nation or tribe of Indians within the United States, shall be valid to any person or persons, or to any state, whether having the right of pre-emption to such lands or not, unless the same shall be made and duly executed at some public treaty, held under the authority of the United States.
The 1793 Act provides: o purchase or grant of lands, or of any title or claim thereto, from any Indians or nation or tribe of Indians, within the bounds of the United States, shall be of any validity in law or equity, unless the same be made by a treaty or a convention entered into pursuant to the constitution... The 1796 Act provides: o purchase, lease, or other conveyance of lands, or of any title or claim thereto, from any Indian, or nation or tribe of Indians, within the bounds of the United States, shall be of any validity, in law or equity, unless the same be made by treaty, or convention, entered into pursuant to the constitution... The 1799 Act provides: No purchase, lease, or other conveyance of lands, or of any title or claim thereto, from any Indian, or nation or tribe of Indians, within the bounds of the United States, shall be of any validity, in law or equity, unless the same be made by treaty or convention, entered into pursuant to the constitution... The 1802 Act provides No purchase, lease, or other conveyance of lands, or of any title or claim thereto, from any Indian, or nation, or tribe of Indians, within the bounds of the United States, shall be of any validity, in law or equity, unless the same be made by treaty or convention, entered into pursuant to the constitution...
The 1834 Act codified at 25 U. S. C. § 177, provides: No purchase, lease, or other conveyance of land, or of any title or claim thereto, from any Indian nation or tribe of Indians, shall be of any validity in law or equity, unless the same be made by treaty or convention entered into pursuant the constitution. One of the earliest interpretations of the Nonintercourse Act comes from a speech by President George Washington to the Seneca Nation of New York in 1790, after the passage of the Act: I am not uninformed that the six Nations have been led into some difficulties with respect to the sale of their lands since the peace, but I must inform you that these evils arose before the present government of the United States was established, when the separate States and individuals under their authority, undertook to treat with the Indian tribes respecting the sale of their lands. But the case is now altered; the general Government only has the power, to treat with the Indian Nations, any treaty formed and held without its authority will not be binding.
Here is the security for the remainder of your lands. No State nor person can purchase your lands, unless at some public treaty held under the authority of the United States; the general government will never consent to your being defrauded. But it will protect you in all your just rights; the first litigation of the Nonintercourse Act by an indigenous party to reach the Supreme Court was Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, which the Court dismissed on the technicality that the court lacked of original jurisdiction, so the result was the Cherokee did not have a standing as a foreign nation, but the opinion did not rule on the merits, leaving the door open for a ruling on a resubmitted case. Former Attorney General William Wirt, the Cherokee's lawyer, argued that the challenged Georgia statute was void, inter alia, "ecause it is repugnant to a law of the United States passed in 1803 entitled'an act to regulate trade and intercourse with Indian tribes, to preserve peace on the frontiers.'" Wirt argued that the state statute violated the Cherokee treaties and the Contract Clause and the dormant Indian Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
A similar argument was made in the Bill filed by Wirt in the Supreme Court. William Wirts arguments may have had a telling effect, for in a subsequent action, Worcester v. Georgia the court reversed itself, holding that the Cherokee were a sovereign nation and thus the Supreme Court did have original jurisdiction. After Cherokee Nation, the next such case to reach the Court was Seneca Nation of Indians v. Christy; the New York Court of Appeals had dismissed the claim based on an interpretation of the Nonintercourse Act and an invocation of the statute of limitations for the state enabling act which enabled the Seneca to sue in state court. The Act remained un-litigated by trib