This article is based on two American Indian cases that arose from aboriginal title claims to coastal Oregon in the U.S. Court of Claims, Coos Bay (1938) and Alcea (1946), both subsequently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The cases set important precedents in judicial Indian law on the eve of the Indian Claims Commission. Coos Bay and Alcea also caused the creation of two distinct tribes of Coos Bay Indians: the Coos tribe included in the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw (Coos Bay); and the Coos tribe included in the Coquille Indian Tribe (Alcea). The latter were the only Coos Indian plaintiffs eligible to join the Alcea victory after the Coos Bay loss in the Supreme Court. The division caused considerable enmity between the two tribes, an unfortunate result, which this article attempts to alleviate by examining the reasons behind the split.

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