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This memorandum, dated October 17, 1945, from Felix S. Cohen, Associate Solicitor for the United States (US) Department of the Interior Office of the Solicitor, to the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, was submitted to supplement his statement of October 9 of that year, and deals specifically with the character of the title held by the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, and the legal means available to the Tribes for the possible protection of their land. References on page 4 of the document make it clear that the threat from which the Tribes might seek protection is the proposed construction of the Garrison Dam.
The memorandum gives a brief history of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, starting with the Treaty of Fort Laramie, while also detailing violations of that treaty by the US government and the resulting legal actions taken by the Tribes in the US Court of Claims, arriving at a conclusion that the United States has no right to enter upon the territory of the Tribes.
Cohen then explains that, since treaty obligations may be violated by act of Congress, the Tribes desire to know in what ways they can challenge the legality of such an action, should Congress choose not to respect the treaty obligations of the United States and instead appropriate funds to construct the Garrison Dam on the Tribes' land. He suggests two methods available to the tribes for presenting objections to the taking of their land for the construction of the dam, and cites cases to establish that the Tribes have the same right to employ legal counsel and to seek injunction against unlawful interference with their property as any non-Indian citizen.
Note: In the last paragraph of the memorandum, Cohen mistakenly refers to the Tribes as the "Three Affilliated Tribes of Fort Belknap Reservation," though he does refer to them by their correct name elsewhere in the document.
Date of Work
Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, Mandan, Nueta, Hidatsa, Arikara, Sahnish, Garrison Dam, Garrison Reservoir, Garrison Diversion, inundate, inundation, legal recourse, injunction, treaty, Fort Laramie, solicitor
Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, Mandan, Nueta, Hidatsa, Arikara, Sahnish, US Army, US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, US Department of the the Interior, US Department of the Interior Office of the Solicitor
Felix S. Cohen
Cohen, Felix S., "Memorandum from Felix Cohen to US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Regarding Nature of Land Title and Possible Means of Protecting Land from Garrison Dam Project, October 17, 1945" (1945). William Langer Papers. 989.