The Indian Country Today
  Salmon Restoration Environmental Protection Saving A Language "We Will Still Be Indians" Preparing For The Tricentennial, 2104-2106  


"We Will Still Be Indians"

The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation is the modern home of the 3,000 member Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes. The community there has experienced many disruptions since the Corps of Discovery arrived in the fall of 1805. Fur traders, missionaries and schoolteachers have each played a role in the disruption of traditional lifeways. And after World War II, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers embarked on an ambitious flood control and hydroelectric project on the Missouri River, erecting a series of massive dams and inundated the fertile bottomlands the tribes had cultivated for centuries. The reservation’s traditional villages were replaced by New Town, an administrative center, and other new settlements.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Three Affiliated Tribes struggled to rebuild their communities and identify strategies for sustaining their traditions. New businesses, from construction and woodworking to a modern casino and lodge, now sustain the local economy. Fort Berthold Community College, founded in 1973, has taken a leading role in efforts to preserve tribal cultural traditions: offering courses, encouraging local artists and writers, and providing a solid institutional home for the work of cultural preservation.