MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.
The Court of Appeals affirmed a decree of the District Court dismissing libel proceedings brought by the United States praying forfeiture of two automobiles used to carry intoxicants into the Reno (Nevada) Indian Colony.
"Automobiles or any other vehicles or conveyances used in introducing, or attempting to introduce, intoxicants into the Indian country, or where the introduction is prohibited by treaty or Federal statute, whether used by the owner thereof or other person, shall be subject to . . . seizure, libel, and forfeiture. . ."
Both courts below concluded that the Reno Indian Colony is not "Indian country" within the meaning of this statute.
The only question for determination is whether this colony is such Indian country. In this inquiry, both the legislative history of the term "Indian country" and the traditional policy of the United States in regulating the sale of intoxicants to Indians are important.
The words "Indian country" have appeared in the statutes relating to Indians for more than a century.
The fundamental consideration of both Congress and the Department of the Interior in establishing this colony has been the protection of a dependent people.
"In the present case the original reservation was Indian country simply because it had been validly set apart for the use of the Indians as such, under the superintendence of the Government." [Italics added.]
The Reno Colony has been validly set apart for the use of the Indians. It is under the superintendence of the Government. The Government retains title to the lands which it permits the Indians to occupy. The Government has authority to enact regulations and protective laws respecting this territory.
When we view the facts of this case in the light of the relationship which has long existed between the Government and the Indians — and which continues to date
2. The federal prohibition against taking intoxicants into this Indian colony does not deprive the State of Nevada of its sovereignty over the area in question. The Federal Government does not assert exclusive jurisdiction within the colony. Enactments of the Federal Government passed to protect and guard its Indian wards only affect the operation, within the colony, of such state laws as conflict with the federal enactments.
MR. JUSTICE CARDOZO took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
"For the purpose of procuring home and farm sites, with adequate water rights, and providing agricultural equipment and instruction and other necessary supplies for the nonreservation Indians in the State of Nevada, $15,000 . . ."
"For the purchase of land and water rights for the Washoe Tribe of Indians, the title to which is to be held in the United States for the benefit of said Indians, $10,000, to be immediately available; for the support and civilization of said Indians, $5,000; in all, $15,000."
On recommendation of the Secretary of the Interior the 1926 additional appropriation was made and 8.38 acres were added to the Colony to take care of additional worthy Indian families who were anxious to establish homes in the Colony. See, House Report No. 795, 69th Congress, 1st Session.
"These Indians live just from hand to mouth. . . . They have no reservation to live on, and no protection whatever, and it is an outrage. . . . It is useless to go and appropriate for some public lands unless you can acquire water rights for them. . . . Those who take the most interest in Indian affairs in our State (Nevada) think the best thing to do is to purchase a tract of real agricultural land, say, 100 acres, close to Carson City, with a water right, where these Indians can raise garden stuff and chickens, and have a home and a market for their produce." Hearings, Comm. on Indian Affairs, U.S. Senate, on H.R. 20150, Vol. 1, pp. 226, 227 (1915).