Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Kneip

PETITIONER:Rosebud Sioux Tribe
LOCATION:United States Trust Co. of New York

DOCKET NO.: 75-562
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 430 US 584 (1977)
ARGUED: Jan 12, 1977
DECIDED: Apr 04, 1977

H. Bartow Farr – for the United States, as amicus curiae, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court
H. Bartow Farr, III –
Marvin J. Sonosky – for petitioner
William J. Janklow –

Facts of the case


Media for Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Kneip

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – January 12, 1977 in Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Kneip

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – April 04, 1977 in Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. Kneip

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Number 75-562 Rosebud Sioux Tribe against the Governor of South Dakota would be announce by Mr. Justice Rehnquist.

William H. Rehnquist:

The Rosebud Sioux reservation is located in the southwestern part of South Dakota and is established in 1989 consisted of all our part of five counties in that State.

Three acts passed by congress in 1904, 1907 and 1910 open for settlement reservation land and for the five counties that has not been allotted to the Indians.

To determine whether these acts had also removed these counties from the reservation, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe filed this suit in United States District Court for the District of South Dakota claiming that the original boundaries of their Rosebud Sioux reservation had not been diminished by those acts.

The District Court found that the intent of congress had been to diminish the reservation and the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed.

We granted certiorari and for the reasons expressed and an opinion filed with the clerk this morning, we now affirmed that judgment.

Under the prior opinions of this Court, the question of whether or not the boundaries of an Indian reservation were diminished is a question of congressional intent.

While we do not likely conclude that congress intended to diminish the reservation boundaries, we are required to conclude that it did so if the language and surroundings circumstance demonstrate that congress so intended.

Our examination of the language, the legislative history and the background of the acts convinces us that congress did intend to remove the four counties and dispute from the Rosebud Sioux reservation.

Our conclusion is to the intent of congress is buttress by the fact that the State has exercised jurisdiction over these counties since the passage of the acts in question.

This longstanding assumption jurisdiction by the State of South Dakota over the area not only demonstrates the parties’ understandings of the consequences of the acts, but also has created justifiable expectations.

The reading of the acts urged upon us by the tribe is too strain to upset this jurisdictional history.

And we hold that the area in question was removed from the Rosebud reservation by the three acts.

Mr. Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion in which Mr. Justice Brennan and Mr. Justice Stewart joined.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Rehnquist.