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Ex Parte Crow Dog

Significance, An Orderly Government, Impact, The Indian Civil Rights Act


Crow Dog of the Sioux Indian Nation


United States

Petitioner's Claim

That the U.S. court system does not have jurisdiction over crimes committed within the boundaries of an Indian reservation by one tribal member against another.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

A. J. Plowman

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Samuel F. Phillips, U.S. Solicitor General

Justices for the Court

Samuel Blatchford, Joseph P. Bradley, Stephen Johnson Field, Horace Gray, John Marshall Harlan I, Stanley Matthews (writing for the Court), Samuel Freeman Miller, Morrison Remick Waite, William Burnham Woods

Justices Dissenting



Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

17 December 1883


Upheld Crow Dog's claim and overturned the lower court's decision sentencing him to death for a murder.

Related Cases

  • Worcester v. Georgia, 6 Pet. (31 U.S.) 515 (1832).
  • United States v. Kagama, 118 U.S. 375 (1886).
  • Talton v. Mayes, 163 U.S. 376 (1896).
  • Williams v. Lee, 358 U.S. 217 (1959).
  • Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe, 435 U.S. 191 (1978).
  • Duro v. Reina, 495 U.S. 676 (1990).


Bacon, Donald C., et al., eds. The Encyclopedia of the United States Congress. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Further Readings

  • Harring, Sidney L. Crow Dog's Case: American Indian Sovereignty, Tribal Law, and United States Law in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
  • Native American Rights Fund. http://www.narf.org.
  • Wilkins, David E. American Indian Sovereignty and the U.S. Supreme Court: The Masking of Justice. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917