Washington Law Review


Bradley I. Nye


Courts have failed to develop a uniform test to determine the extent of Indian off-reservation hunting rights in the Pacific Northwest. Though the language guaranteeing these rights is consistent from treaty to treaty, analysis of this language varies widely from court to court. The United States Supreme Court employs three well-founded canons of construction in its interpretations of Indian treaties. These same principles should be applied by lower courts to determine the extent of off-reservation hunting rights. Consistent use of accepted canons of treaty construction would add much certainty to an area of law plagued by uncertainty and controversy.

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