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Statement of the Case.

said that he had never given an official construction to the term mixed blood.

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It was stipulated that in administering the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the Clapp Amendment and especially in issuing patents thereunder, the Department had not required any statement as to the quantum of foreign blood, but had issued patents upon the showing that the applicant was a mixed blood. Several instances were shown by the records of allotments having been made to allottees on the White Earth Reservation having but one-sixteenth or onethirty-second of Indian blood, while other instances were shown where allotment had been denied because applicant was of "doubtful blood."

A white man who had resided for a long time among the Chippewa Indians stated that in the early period the terms mixed blood and half breed were synonymous, applying to one of mixed white and Indian blood, irrespective of the percentage, and that later the term mixed blood was more commonly used, while the term half breed was applied to one having nearly equal parts of white and Indian blood. The general impression of business men in and about the White Earth Reservation was that any Indian who had white blood in his veins was a mixed blood.

Several very elderly Indians testified, however, that the Indians regarded the term mixed blood as applying to those having practically half white and half Indian blood.

The District Court, after stating that the question was one of first impression, said that Congress intended competency to be the test and came to the conclusion that an Indian having an admixture of one-eighth white blood might come within the term, but that beyond that the white blood would not affect the capacity of the Indian to manage his own affairs, and therefore dismissed the bill in the third case and entered a decree in favor of the complainants in the other two cases. The Circuit Court of Appeals reached the conclusion that every Chippewa

Argument for the United States.

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Indian having an identifiable mixture of other than Indian blood, however small, is a mixed blood Indian and all others are full blood Indians within the meaning of the Clapp Amendment, and accordingly reversed the decree of the District Court in the first two cases and affirmed the decree in the third case.

The Solicitor General, with whom Mr. C. C. Daniels and Mr. W. A. Norton, Special Assistant to the Attorney General, were on the brief, for the United States:

The history of the legislation involved shows the disastrous effects resulting from its improper application.

The term "mixed blood" is to be applied only to those Indians who possess a quantum of white blood amounting to one-half or more.

The act should be so construed as to subserve the welldefined and well-established policy of Congress. Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U. S. 457; Duroussea v. United States, 6 Cranch, 307; Lionberger v. Rouse, 9 Wall. 468, 475; United States v. Freeman, 3 How. 556; United States v. Lacher, 134 U. S. 624.

It has been the settled policy of Congress in dealing with the Indians to make competency alone the test for removing these restrictions. Smith v. Stevens, 10 Wall. 321, 326.

Congress having declared in plain and unmistakable language that lands allotted to these Indians would be held in trust for them for a period of twenty-five years, and the assent of the Indians to a cession of their reservation having been given in reliance upon that promise, no subsequent act of Congress should be construed to revoke this promise unless couched in language so plain and certain as to leave room for no other interpretation. Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, 187 U. S. 553.

Assuming the competency of the white man and the incompetency of the Indians, it is but reasonable in mak

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Argument for Appellees.

ing a classification based on blood to include in the competent class all who have more than one-half white blood and in the incompetent class all who have more than onehalf Indian blood. Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U. S. 457.

The act is to be interpreted according to the understanding of its terms among the Indians themselves.

Indian treaties and statutes modifying treaty rights will be construed as they are understood by the Indians and not necessarily in accordance with the technical terms employed by white men in framing them. Jones v. Meehan, 175 U. S. 1; Starr v. Long Jim, 227 U. S. 613.

Provision for mixed bloods was made in treaties with the Chippewas by their request, and the identification of such mixed bloods was left to them.

That the Indians understood the words "mixed blood" in the sense for which the Government contends is clearly shown by uncontradicted testimony.

The meaning for which the Government contends is not foreclosed either by departmental construction or judicial decisions.

See also Deweese v. Smith, 106 Fed. Rep. 438; Jeffries v. Ankeny, 11 Ohio, 372; Lane v. Baker, 12 Ohio, 237; Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, 187 U. S. 553; Merritt v. Cameron, 137 U. S. 542; Nor. Pac. Ry. Co. v. United States, 227 U. S. 355; Thacker v. Hawk, 11 Ohio, 376; United States v. Kagama, 118 U. S. 375.

Mr. Ransom J. Powell, with whom Mr. George T. Simpson and Mr. Ernest C. Carman were on the brief, for appellees:

The Clapp act was obviously designed to create an arbitrary classification.

The language is clear and explicit, and the term "mixed blood" had acquired a definite and well-understood meaning.

Argument for Appellees.

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See 2 Kappler, Indian Laws and Treaties, pp. 147, 148, 173, 175, 207, 211, 218, 223, 269, 298, 301, 307, 338, 452, 464, 474, 492, 493, 499, 543, 568, 573, 649, 689, 692, 766, 774, 779, 798, 802, 841, 855, 862, 864, 881, 959, 975; Debates in Congress, 40 Cong. Record, pp. 1260 et seq., 5738, 5739, 5784, 6041, 6044, 6046; vol. 41, p. 2337.

For definitions and use of "mixed blood" in decided cases, see Standard Dictionary; Century Dictionary; 14 Encyc. Britannica, 467; Hodge's Hand Book of American Indians, 1907, pp. 365, 850, and 913; 5 Words and Phrases, 4546; 27 Cyc. 811; Hamilton v. Railway Co., 21 Mo. App. 152; Daniel v. Guy, 19 Arkansas, 121; Thurman v. State, 18 Alabama, 276; Johnson v. Norwich, 29 Connecticut, 407; Van Camp v. Board of Education, 9 Oh. St. 407; Gentry v. McMannis, 3 Dana (Ky.), 382; Scott v. Raub, 88 Virginia, 721, 727; Jones v. Commonwealth, 80 Virginia, 538; North Carolina Statutes, § 5, c. 71; § 81, c. 31, act of 1836; State v. Dempsey, 31 N. Car. 384; State v. Chavers, 50 N. Car. 11; Hopkins v. Bowers, 111 N. Car. 175; State v. Davis, 2 Bailey (S. Car.), 558; Thacker v. Hawk, 11 Ohio, 77.

The tendency at that time was toward the removal of restrictions by arbitrary act of Congress. Ann. Rep. Indian Comm. 1905, p. 3.

For the act of May 27, 1908, 35 Stat. 312, its history and the debate thereon, see 42 Cong. Record, pp. 50745078, 5425.

The interpretation of the term "mixed blood" necessitates the interpretation of the term "full blood." Congress made two classes, not three.

In seeking the intent of the legislature the first consideration is the natural, ordinary, and generally understood meaning of the terms used. United States v. Fisher, 2 Cr. 358; Lake County v. Rollins, 130 U. S. 662; Sloan v. Uniied States, 118 Fed. Rep. 285; United States v. Temple, 105 U. S. 97; Maillard v. Lawrence, 16 Hów. 250; United States v. Pacific Ry. Co., 91 U. S. 72; Parsons v. Hunter,

Argument for Appellees.

2 Sumn. (U. S.) 422; Levy v. McCartee, 6 Pet. 102, 110; United States v. Goldenberg, 168 U. S. 95, 102; The Cherokee Tobacco, 11 Wall. 616; Edison &c. Co. v. U. S. Elect. Co., 35 Fed. Rep. 138.

A dispute over the meaning of a statute does not of itself show an ambiguity in the act. Nor. Pac. Ry. Co. v. Sanders, 47 Fed. Rep. 610; Shreve v. Cheesman, 69 Fed. Rep. 789; Webber v. St. Paul City Ry. Co., 97 Fed. Rep. 140; Swartz v. Siegel, 117 Fed. Rep. 13.

Subsequent experience is no guide to interpretation. United States v. Un. Pac. Ry. Co., 91 U. S. 72; Platt v. Un. Pacific Ry. Co., 99 U. S. 48.

Where Congress has by apt terms created a class or drawn distinctions between classes of persons or objects it is not competent for the courts, under the guise of interpretation, to extend or limit the operation of the statute. United States v. Colorado Co., 157 Fed. Rep. 321; Brun v. Mann, 151 Fed. Rep. 145; United States v. Temple, 105 U. S. 97; Minor v. Bank, 1 Pet. 44; Folsom v. United States, 160 U. S. 121; United States v. Choctaw Nation, 179 U. S. 494; Pirie v. Chicago, 182 U. S. 438, 451; The Paulina, 7 Cr. 52, 61; Barintz v. Casey, 7 Cr. 456, 468; United States v. Goldenberg, 168 U. S. 95, 102; Maxwell v. Moore, 22 How. 185, 191; Tiger v. Western Inv. Co., 221 U. S. 286; Thurman v. State, 18 Alabama, 276.

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The court is not at liberty to amend the statute or read words into it to make it conform to what the court may believe to be the spirit of the act or to escape injustice of the law. Maxwell v. Moore, 22 How. 185; United States v. Goldenberg, 168 U. S. 95; Hobbs v. McLean, 117 U. S. 567; In re Conway and Gibbons, 17 Wisconsin, 526; 17 Op. Att'y Gen. 65; St. Louis Co. v. Taylor, 210 U. S. 281; Hadden v. Barney, 5 Wall. 107; Gardner v. Collins, 2 Pet. 92.

The practical construction by the Departments of the Government and the dealings of the citizens with the subject in reliance upon that construction is entitled to con

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