The Supreme Court held that Congress had plenary authority over American Indian affairs and that Indian treaties were subject to unilateral abrogation.
Lone Wolf, one of the principal chiefs of the Kiowa Nation, sought an injunction to block congressional ratification of an agreement allotting tribal lands. He argued that the agreement violated the Treaty of Medicine Lodge of 1867, which required the approval of three-fourths of the adult men of the tribe for any cession of tribal land.
By a 9-0 vote, the Supreme Court rejected Lone Wolf’s claim. Justice Edward D. White’s
Although Lone Wolf has been called “the Indian’s Dred Scott,” the precedent has never been directly overturned. More recent decisions, however, would suggest that there are significant constitutional limits to congressional power over the tribes. This is especially true in regard to property rights and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
Crow Dog, Ex parte
Indian Bill of Rights
Native American law
Native American sovereignty
Native American treaties