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Relations of the United States Government with the Indian Tribes


RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WITH THE INDIAN TRIBES. The relations of the general government with the various Indian tribes has been somewhat anomalous. While the Indian is regarded as having no paramount title to the land, yet the tribes are con sidered so far independent as to enable them to make treaties ceding their lands to the general government, and that is about all the independence our government has recognized as belonging to the Indian tribes.

These treaties are made by persons appointed by the President with the consent and advice of the Sen ate, and are called Indian Agents. The government has thus made treaties with the Indians for all of the North West Territory. In many instances the In dians have reserved a reservation and ceded the bal ance of the soil. These reservations in many cases were in favor of the entire tribe, but in some cases were in favor of an individual. These reservations are described by their natural boundaries, as water courses, trees, rocks and the like. In surveying the govern ment land the surveyors regard these reservations as impassible territory, and run the line up to them and then around. It is these territories that the govern ment buys from the Indians from time to time and opens up to settlement.

In tracing title to land in an Indian Reservation, the completed title starts with the treaty made with the general government by the Indians, as the sanction of the two as to the land in the reservation makes a perfect title.

OF TITLE BY RIGHT OF DISCOV ERY AND POSSESSION. In 1496, the King of England granted a commission under the royal seal to John Cabot, a Venitian sailor, then residing in Eng-land, to discover countries then unknown to Chris tian people and take possession of them in the natne of the crown of England.

Possession was then deemed necessary to a perfect title. So that these early explorers would land on the coast, throw out to the breeze the flag of their sov ereign and formally announce that they took pos session of the territory for their sovereign.

Two years after receiving his commission, Cabot landed at the 56th deg-ree of north latitude and sailed south along the coast to the 38th degree, formally taking possession of the country lying north of the Gulf of Mexico and running from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the name of the king of England. But it turned out that the French and Spanish inonarchs had prior claims to part of the territory, and some of the lands claimed by England by right of Cabot's dis covery and taking possession had to be relinquished to prior discoverers. It was a recognized rule that the discovery of the mouth of a river. entitled the dis coverer to all the territory drained by that river, so that the entire Mississippi river basin was given up by England by reason of previous discovery.

title, territory, possession and land