The equal footing doctrine creates a presumption against conveyance of the beds of navigable waters by the United States prior to statehood. Where submerged lands lie within the boundaries of an Indian reservation, the presumption may conflict with the canons of construction applicable in Indian law. In United States v. Aam, the Ninth Circuit attempted to resolve this conflict by establishing a per se test to determine when the presumption is rebutted. This Note examines the Ninth Circuit's opinion and concludes that in light of the respective policies underlying the conflicting doctrines, the court's test gives insufficient weight to the canons of construction.
Andrea G. Oakley,
Not on Claims Alone: Determining Indian Title to Intertidal Lands—United States v. Aam, 887 F.2d 190 (9th Cir. 1989),
65 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol65/iss3/9