Red Lake Ownership established by Supreme Court Ruling

U.S. vs. Holt State Bank Supreme Court ruling in 1926 concludes with the following statements:

“… the lake, and therefore the lands under it, was within the limits of the Red Lake Reservation when the State was admitted. The existence of the reservation is conceded, but that it operated as a disposal of lands underlying navigable waters within its limits is disputed. We are of opinion that the reservation was not intended to effect such a disposal and that there was none.”

“… There was no formal setting apart of what was not ceded, nor any affirmative declaration of the rights of the Indians therein, nor any attempted exclusion of others from the use of navigable waters. The effect of what was done was to reserve in a general way for the continued occupation of the Indians what remained of their aboriginal territory; and thus it came to be known and recognized as a reservation. There was nothing in this which even approaches a grant of rights in lands underlying navigable waters; nor anything evincing a purpose to depart from the established policy, before stated, of treating such lands as held for the benefit of the future State.”

“… Without doubt the Indians were to have access to the navigable waters and to be entitled to use them in accustomed ways; but these were common rights vouchsafed to all, whether white or Indian, by the early legislation reviewed in Railroad Company v. Schurmeir, 7 Wall. 272, 287-289, and Economy Light & Power Co. v. United States, supra, pp. 118-120, and emphasized in the Enabling Act under which Minnesota was admitted as a State, c. 60, 11 Stat. 166, which declared that the rivers and waters bounding the State “and the navigable waters leading into the same shall be common highways, and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of said State as to all other citizens of the United States.”

“We conclude that the State on its admission into the Union became the owner of the bed of the lake. It is conceded that, if the bed thus passed to the State, the defendants have succeeded to the State’s right therein; and the decisions and statutes of the State brought to our attention show that the concession is rightly made.”

Click US v Holt State Bank, to read the actual ruling.