Except as otherwise provided in sections
1156 of this title, the term “Indian country”, as used in this chapter, means
(a) all land within the limits of any Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States Government, notwithstanding the issuance of any patent, and, including rights-of-way running through the reservation,
(b) all dependent Indian communities within the borders of the United States whether within the original or subsequently acquired territory thereof, and whether within or without the limits of a state, and
(c) all Indian allotments, the Indian titles to which have not been extinguished, including rights-of-way running through the same.
This section consolidates numerous conflicting and inconsistent provisions of law into a concise statement of the applicable law.
R.S. §§ 2145,
2146 (U.S.C., title
25, §§ 217,218) extended to the Indian country with notable exceptions the criminal laws of the United States applicable to places within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States. Crimes of Indians against Indians, and crimes punishable by tribal law were excluded.
The confusion was not lessened by the cases of U.S. v. McBratney, 104 U.S. 622 and Draper v. U.S., 17 S.Ct. 107, holding that crimes in Indian country by persons not Indians are not cognizable by Federal courts in absence of reservation or cession of exclusive jurisdiction applicable to places within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States. Because of numerous statutes applicable only to Indians and prescribing punishment for crimes committed by Indians against Indians, “Indian country” was defined but once. (See act June 30, 1834, ch. 161, § 1,
4, Stat. 729, which was later repealed.)
Definition is based on latest construction of the term by the United States Supreme Court in U.S. v. McGowan, 58 S.Ct. 286, 302 U.S. 535, following U.S. v. Sandoval, 34 S.Ct. 1, 5, 231 U.S. 28, 46. (See also Donnelly v. U.S., 33 S.Ct. 449, 228 U.S. 243; and Kills Plenty v. U.S., 133 F.2d 292, certiorari denied, 1943, 63 S.Ct. 1172). (See reviser’s note under section
1153 of this title.)
Indian allotments were included in the definition on authority of the case of U.S. v. Pelican, 1913, 34 S.Ct. 396, 232 U.S. 442, 58 L.Ed. 676.
This section [section
25], by adding to section
1151 of title
18, U.S.C., the phrase “except as otherwise provided in sections
1156 of this title”, incorporates in this section the limitations of the term “Indian country” which are added to sections
1156 by sections 27 and 28 of this bill.
1949—Act May 24, 1949, incorporated the limitations of term “Indian country” which are contained in sections
1156 of this title.
The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.
The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013
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