United States v. White Mountain Apache Tribe, 537 U.S. 465, 9 (2003)

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

Opinion of the Court

of sovereign immunity, nor need they be construed in the manner appropriate to waivers of sovereign immunity." Mitchell II, supra, at 218-219. It is enough, then, that a statute creating a Tucker Act right be reasonably amenable to the reading that it mandates a right of recovery in damages. While the premise to a Tucker Act claim will not be "lightly inferred," 463 U. S., at 218, a fair inference will do.


The two Mitchell cases give a sense of when it is fair to infer a fiduciary duty qualifying under the Indian Tucker Act and when it is not. The characterizations of the trust as "limited," Mitchell I, 445 U. S., at 542, or "bare," Mitchell II, supra, at 224, distinguish the Allotment Act's trust-in-name from one with hallmarks of a more conventional fiduciary relationship. See United States v. Navajo Nation, post, at 504 (discussing 1 and 2 of the Allotment Act in Mitchell I as having "removed a standard element of a trust relationship"). Although in form the United States "h[e]ld the land . . . in trust for the sole use and benefit of the Indian," 25 U. S. C. 348, the statute gave the United States no functional obligations to manage timber; on the contrary, it established that "the Indian allottee, and not a representative of the United States, is responsible for using the land," that "the allottee would occupy the land," and that "the allottee, and not the United States, was to manage the land." Mitchell I, 445 U. S., at 542-543. Thus, we found that Congress did not intend to "impose any duty" on the Government to manage resources, id., at 542; cf. Mitchell II, supra, at 217-218, and we made sense of the trust language, considered without reference to any statute beyond the Allotment Act, as intended "to prevent alienation of the land" and to guarantee that the Indian allottees were "immune from state taxation," Mitchell I, supra, at 544.

The subsequent case of Mitchell II arose on a claim that did look beyond the Allotment Act, and we found that stat-


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