United States v. White Mountain Apache Tribe, 537 U.S. 465, 5 (2003)

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Cite as: 537 U. S. 465 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

Congress attended to the fort again in 1960, when it provided by statute that "former Fort Apache Military Reservation" would be "held by the United States in trust for the White Mountain Apache Tribe, subject to the right of the Secretary of the Interior to use any part of the land and improvements for administrative or school purposes for as long as they are needed for the purpose." Pub. L. 86-392, 74 Stat. 8 (1960 Act). The Secretary exercised that right, and although the record does not catalog the uses made by the Department of the Interior, they extended to about 30 of the post's buildings and appurtenances, a few of which had been built when the Government first occupied the land. Although the National Park Service listed the fort as a national historical site in 1976, the recognition was no augury of fortune, for just over 20 years later the World Monuments Watch placed the fort on its 1998 List of 100 Most Endangered Monuments. Brief for Respondent 3.

In 1993, the Tribe commissioned an engineering assessment of the property, resulting in a finding that as of 1998 it would cost about $14 million to rehabilitate the property occupied by the Government in accordance with standards for historic preservation. This is the amount the Tribe sought in 1999, when it sued the United States in the Court of Federal Claims, citing the terms of the 1960 Act, among others,1 and alleging breach of fiduciary duty to "maintain, protect, repair and preserve" the trust property. App. to Pet. for Cert. 37a.

The United States moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief might be granted and for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. While the Government acknowledged that the Indian Tucker Act, 28 U. S. C. 1505, invested the Court of Federal Claims with jurisdiction to

1 These included the Snyder Act, 42 Stat. 208, as amended, 25 U. S. C. 13, and the National Historic Preservation Act, 80 Stat. 915, 16 U. S. C. 470 et seq.


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