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WILLIAMS v. CITY CHICAGO ET AL.

January 8, 1917

WILLIAMS, CHIEF, ET AL
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO ET AL.



APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS

White, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Van Devanter, Pitney, McReynolds, Brandeis, Clarke

Author: Mcreynolds

[ 242 U.S. Page 435]

 MR. JUSTICE MCREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the court.

The claim set up in this cause is without merit and the amended bill was properly dismissed, upon motion, for want of equity.

Complainants are eight Pottawatomie Indians, members of the Pokagon Band and residents of Michigan. They undertake to sue "on behalf of themselves and of all members of the Pokagon Band of Pottawatomie Indians, and of all other members of the Pottawatomie Nation of Indians, if any are entitled to join herein with them, and of all others, if any, who are entitled to join herein with them."

Defendants are the City of Chicago and certain corporations now occupying valuable lands within the geographical limits of Illinois, which have been reclaimed from Lake Michigan.

The bill proceeds upon this theory --

That from time immemorial, on August 3, 1795 and

[ 242 U.S. Page 436]

     thereafter, the Pottawatomie Indians were the owners and in possession as a sovereign nation, as their country, of large tracts of land around and along the shores of Lake Michigan, south of a line running from Milwaukee River, Wisconsin, to Grand River, Michigan, and extending, "east and west of said two points and including all of Lake Michigan which is south of said line" -- a stretch of a hundred miles.

That by the Treaty of Peace entered into at Greenville, Ohio, August 3, 1795, the United States relinquished to the Pottawatomie and other tribes their claims to Indian lands westward of a designated line passing through the State of Ohio and lying, "northward of the river Ohio, eastward of the Mississippi, and westward and southward of the Great Lakes and the waters uniting them, according to the boundary line agreed on by the United States and the king of Great-Britain, in the treaty of peace made between them in the year of 1783."

That by later treaties the Pottawatomie Nation receded to the United States all such lands up to the shores of Lake Michigan, but those within the geographical limits of Illinois which were formerly beneath the waters of Lake Michigan, "whether reclaimed, artificially made, or now or formerly submerged . . . have remained and still are the property of these complainants, . . . and any attempts on the part of any persons, firms, and corporations to appropriate the same, or any part thereof were and are in violation of said treaties and of the rights of these complainants."

That in 1833, with the exception of the Pokagon Band, in pursuance of a treaty with the United States, the Pottawatomie Nation migrated west of the Mississippi River leaving that band in possession, occupation, control and sovereignty of ...


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