indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Arizona tribe settles trust mismanagement case
Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Two years after securing a major victory before the U.S. Supreme Court, the White Mountain Apache Tribe of Arizona has settled its trust mismanagement case with the federal government.

Under an agreement announced this month, the tribe will receive $12 million to repair, rehabilitate and maintain the historic Fort Apache, a 134-year-old site made famous by Hollywood. "The post has stood as an enduring symbol of the history of the Old West for the tribe and the rest of the world," White Mountain Apache Chairman Dallas Massey Sr. said.

But the 7,500-acre fort is in disrepair due to decades of government neglect. Several buildings are falling apart and the Bureau of Indian Affairs school located on the grounds is in desperate need of repairs.

The tribe hopes to turn things around and ensure the site is preserved for future generations, an idea that has been embraced by the tribal community. "With the settlement, the tribe can now protect and preserve the fort, and establish it as one of Arizona's finest tourist destinations," Massey said.

Established in 1877, the fort has a long and storied history. It was home to a diverse group of soldiers throughout the 1800s and early 1900s and served as the inspiration for several Western films and the television show "Rin Tin Tin."

The U.S. Army retired the fort in 1922, handing control to the Interior Department, and a year later, Congress authorized the establishment of the Theodore Roosevelt School. Things went downhill from here, according to tribal representatives.

In 1960, Congress directed that the fort be held in trust for the tribe "subject" to Interior's use. Despite this law, the BIA refused to maintain the site as a trust property, prompting the legal battle that ended up before the Supreme Court.

The Bush administration argued that the law was too vague and didn't impose any standards to manage the property. At one point, a Department of Justice attorney said the government could blow up the fort without recrimination.

In March 2003, the high court settled the matter once and for all. In a 5-4 ruling, the justices rejected the Bush administration's defense and said the U.S. was liable for letting the fort fall into waste in violation of the common law duties of a trustee.

Even though it lost the case, the administration has continued to challenge the extent of its trust duties to tribes and individual Indians. Interior Secretary Gale Norton and her attorneys have been fighting several trust mismanagement cases although most of the rulings have gone against them.

Meanwhile, the White Mountain Apache Tribe plans to showcase its culture and the history of the fort in what is known as the Fort Apache Historic District, a 288-acre site on the National Register of Historic Places. Upward of 30 buildings, including some belonging to the school, are in need of refurbishment.

Timeline of Events:
1871 - Fort Apache Reservation established by executive order of President Ulysses S. Grant.
1877 - Fort Apache Military Reservation created by executive order within reservation boundaries. Fort is approximately 7,500 acres.
1922 - Fort retired, Theodore Roosevelt School established.
1960 - Congress passes law holding fort in trust for 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."
1976 - About 288 acres of the site, including the school, are put on the National Register of Historic Places.
March 1999 - Tribe files $14 million suit to repair buildings.
November 1999 - Federal court dismisses claim based on government claim of no trust duty.
May 2001 - Federal appeals court reverses in 2-1 decision, orders lower court to resolve outstanding issues.
January 2002 - Bush administration files appeal.
May 2002 - Supreme Court grants petition for writ of certiorari.
December 2002 - Supreme Court hears oral arguments.
March 2003 - Supreme Court rules 5-4 in favor of tribe. May 2004 - Settlement of $12 million announced.

Supreme Court Decision:
Syllabus | Opinion [Souter] | Concurrence [Ginsburg] | Dissent [Thomas]

Relevant Links:
White Mountain Apache Tribe - http://www.wmat.nsn.us

Related Stories:
Trial testimony focuses on trust standards (06/03)
Ariz. congressman to visit historic Apache fort (04/23)
Ore. tribes await outcome of trust fund case (04/17)
Reach of Supreme Court's trust rulings debated (04/14)
Indian Country takes on trust relationship debate (04/08)
Tribal official recalls battle to protect Ariz. fort (04/02)
Supreme Court panel's predictions mostly came true (03/19)
Supreme Court upholds common law trust claim (3/5)
Supreme Court issues trust decisions (3/4)
Panel predicts Apache victory (12/4)
U.S. pressed on trust duties (12/3)
Supreme Court takes on trust (12/2)
Review disputes 'costly' Indian trust litigation (10/21)
U.S. argues limits as trustee (8/9)
Griles slammed for ignorance (7/12)
Griles can't explain trust standards (6/27)
Court to decide limits of trust duty (4/23)
Supreme Court taking on trust (4/22)
Leave no Apache school behind (3/29)
Apache Tribe wins trust case appeal (5/17)

Copyright 2000-2005 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tribes rest easy as Supreme Court wraps up a surprising session (6/24)
Tribes in northern California take action to protect salmon runs (6/24)
Aaron Payment re-elected as chairman of Sault Ste. Marie Tribe (6/24)
Gun Lake Tribe hosts annual Sweet Grass Moon Powwow in July (6/24)
Native Sun News: First Native hockey referee 'Butchy' passes on (6/24)
Delphine Red Shirt: Lakota people denied voting rights on our land (6/24)
Ruth Hopkins: Saving sacred Bear Butte from a massive biker bar (6/24)
Terese Mailhot: Becoming a better ally after the Orlando shooting (6/24)
April Youpee-Roll: Elizabeth Warren owes more to Indian Country (6/24)
Another land-into-trust fix reportedly being drafted in the Senate (6/24)
Federal charges filed in kidnapping of girl on Fort Peck Reservation (6/24)
Non-Indian charged for trespassing at Nambe Pueblo in New Mexico (6/24)
St. Croix Chippewa Tribe warned not to launch marijuana operation (6/24)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe breaks ground on $34M expansion at casino (6/24)
Non-Indian gaming firm loses challenge to law for new tribal casino (6/24)
Grand Ronde Tribes to finish demolition work at site of old racetrack (6/24)
Supreme Court deadlocks in closely-watched tribal jurisdiction case (6/23)
Matthew Fletcher: 'Huge win' for Mississippi Choctaw court system (6/23)
Native American Basketball Invitational draws top talent to Arizona (6/23)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe almost done with long-awaited theater (6/23)
Susanville Rancheria thanks lawmakers for help with land-into-trust (6/23)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on three bills (6/23)
Supreme Court backs affirmative action policy in long-running case (6/23)
Native Sun News: Senate committee takes on Indian Health Service (6/23)
Mark Trahant: A Republican plan to terminate Indian Health Service (6/23)
James Giago Davies: Welfare for corporations but nothing for tribes (6/23)
Peter d'Errico: Justice Clarence Thomas critiques federal Indian law (6/23)
Two charged for beating and setting woman from Crow Tribe on fire (6/23)
White House defends fracking regulation imposed on Indian lands (6/23)
Mescalero Apache woman hosts fundraiser for Miss United States (6/23)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to collect sales tax on entire reservation (6/23)
Seneca-Cayuga Nation ordered to conduct another council election (6/23)
Poarch Creek land-into-trust bill could help casino effort in Florida (6/23)
Cherokee Nation enters deal to run commercial casino in Arkansas (6/23)
Tohono O'odham Nation told to turn over casino-related documents (6/23)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee debates marijuana & sovereignty (6/22)
Major trust reform bill supported by Indian Country signed into law (6/22)
President Obama signs land-into-trust bill for Susanville Rancheria (6/22)
Chairman Jim Boyd from Colville Tribes passes away at age of 60 (6/22)
Tribes take more control of their land with HEARTH Act regulations (6/22)
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community adds another 128 acres (6/22)
Lakota Country Times: Pine Ridge Reservation graduates celebrate (6/22)
Native Sun News: Year of Reconciliation sees another anniversary (6/22)
Former Fond du Lac Band chairman Peter Defoe passes on at 77 (6/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.