WASHINGTON, D.C. ? The Supreme Court announced April 22 that it was considering a case on whether or not the federal government could be sued for buildings that had fallen into disrepair on Indian land.
The White Mountain Apache Tribe maintains that the government promised to maintain buildings at Fort Apache, built in 1860. Many of the over 30 buildings at the site, including a school, need extensive repairs. Several have even been condemned.
The Bush administration maintains that it never promised to maintain the buildings and is resistant to spending the $14 million the tribe wants used to restore the structures, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The case has implications for all of Indian country because a precedent could be set making the federal government responsible for the upkeep of all structures in the over 56 million acres it holds in trust for American Indians.