Ash Sheep Co. v. United States

In Ash Sheep Co. v. United States, 252 U.S. 159 (1920), the Tribe ceded, granted, and relinquished to the United States all of their right, title and interest. Id. at 164. However, the government did not provide unconditional payment, promising only to give the Indians the future proceeds of any land sales. Id. at 164-65. And, in language nearly identical to the 1905 Act, the statute stated that the United States was not bound to purchase or sell the affected lands but rather to act as trustee in their disposal. Id. at 165-66. The Court determined, based on this language, that although the Indians had released their possessory right to the government, the lands remained Indian lands because any benefits derived therefrom would belong to the Indians as beneficiaries and not the government as trustee until the lands were sold. Id. at 166.1