Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)




Clyde A. Milner II


Questions of jurisdiction over Indian lands between tribal and state governments constitute some of the most vexing problems in federal Indian law. The Ute jurisdiction case captures, in one instance, the complexities that surround this important body of law. Many cases concerning Native American jurisdiction rights center on disputed interpretations of antiquated federal laws. In the Ute case, both the State of Utah and the Ute Indian tribe contested the meaning of a series of congressional acts that opened Ute lands to white settlement at the turn of the century. The protracted litigation that marked the Ute case revealed many of the inconsistencies and contradictions that plague the federal courts in their attempts to resolve jurisdiction controversies. This thesis examines the particulars of the Ute ii lawsuit and, using it as a vehicle, investigates the limits of the law in deciding Indian/white jurisdiction disputes.