The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 362
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ed within these boundaries was a considerable portion of the
upper part of the Red River. It was soon realized that the com-
missioners who signed this treaty had erred when they set aside
land for the Indians within the borders of Texas because the fed-
eral government owned no public lands in the Lone Star State.
Another agreement was reached in 1867 at Medicine Lodge,
Kansas, and this treaty set the boundaries of the Indian reserva-
tion within the present limits of the state of Oklahoma.a"
The 1865 treaty had provided for the eastern section of the
tribal lands to extend to the northern boundary of Texas. The
1867 treaty, drawn by Indians and commissioners who assumed
that the Texas boundary was the middle of the Red River, con-
tained the phrase "middle of the main channel" of the river as
a definition for the southern boundary of the Indian territory.
The Indians laid claim to the land south of the mid-channel of
the river on the grounds that those who drew up the second
treaty could not have known that the Texas boundary did not
extend to the medial line of the stream. Had it been known that
the south bank was to be ruled as the Texas boundary, the
Indians contended, the treaty would have used the phrase "south
bank" or "Texas boundary" instead of "middle of the main
channel" of the river. By this reasoning and on the basis of other
boundary delimitations agreed upon in 1867, the Indians asserted
ownership of the land between the mouth of the north fork of the
river to the ninety-eighth meridian. The oil-producing land lay
between these two points.
The Indian claims proved to be no more acceptable than those
of Oklahoma or Texas. The Court ruled that the wording of the
treaty was explicit, despite the probable intent of those who drew
up the 1867 agreement. With such clear language in the docu-
ment, the Court declared, the problem of Indian claims could not
'be settled by judicial means.3? When the Indian lands were
opened to white settlement soon after the turn of the twentieth
century, this narrow strip of river bottom was not claimed by
homesteaders. Since it had not been granted to Oklahoma, it thus
remained unallotted and unappropriated public domain of the
United states lying within the limits of Oklahoma.
0olbid., XV, 581.
81United States Reports, CCLVIII, 574.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/429/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.