United States v. Kagama was a United States Supreme Court case that
upheld the constitutionality of the Major Crimes Act of 1885, which gave
jurisdiction to the federal courts in certain cases involving Native
Americans. Kagama, a Yurok, was accused of murdering another Yurok on an
Indian reservation. His case was selected by the Department of Justice
as a test case for the Act. The court opinion, authored by Justice
Samuel Freeman Miller (pictured), confirmed the authority of Congress
over Indian affairs. Plenary power over Indian tribes, supposedly
granted to the U.S. Congress by the Commerce Clause of the Constitution,
was not deemed necessary to reach the decision; instead, the Court found
the power in the tribe’s status as a dependent domestic nation. In the
year following the decision, Congress passed the Dawes Act, intended to
force assimilation and weaken tribal sovereignty. The case has been
criticized by legal scholars as drawing on powers that are not granted
to Congress by the Constitution.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
Several tribes of Pueblo Indians captured the town of Santa Fe
in Nuevo México.
Nat Turner led a slave revolt in Southampton County, Virginia,
US; it was suppressed about 48 hours later.
Second World War: A combined Canadian–Polish force captured
the strategically important town of Falaise, France, in the final
offensive of the Battle of Normandy.
An Australian tourist set the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on
fire, a major catalyst of the formation of the Organisation of Islamic
A limnic eruption of a cloud of carbon dioxide from Lake Nyos
in Cameroon killed up to 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock in nearby
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
1. (sports) An extra lap of the race track taken after the conclusion of a
2. (US, education, slang) One or more years of study beyond the traditional
four taken to complete one’s undergraduate degree.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
I like digging into these characters that are a lot more complex,
and there’s a lot that isn’t apparent on the surface … In a weird way,
you can access all that fear and pain. … Nothing makes me happier than
when somebody figures out I was in something, and then they’d seen me in
something else, and had no idea it was the same person… Then I feel
like I’ve done my job.
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