Ancestral Lands Taken and Destroyed

1948: Chairman George Gilette (left), witnessing the forced sale of over 150,000 acres of land for the Garrison Dam and Reservoir, which would displace more than 900 tribal families.

“We will sign this contract with a heavy heart … With a few scratches of the pen, we will sell the best part of our reservation. Right now, the future doesn’t look too good for us.” — Chairman George Gilette

Five years later, in 1953, the newly constructed Garrison Dam flooded nearly a dozen tribal villages, destroying hundreds of homes and what was our thriving economy. We lost a quarter of our remaining land base, and 90 percent of our people were forced to relocate from their homes.

We have paid in land, we have paid in water, we have sometimes paid with our lives for the right to keep what is just a fragment of our ancestral territory.

Now, we are at risk of losing our Missouri Riverbed mineral rights due to an illegal taking by the Department of the Interior, on behalf of the state of North Dakota. The historical precedent is clear — the MHA Nation owns the rights under the riverbed within the boundaries of the Fort Berthold Reservation.

Take Action and Stand with MHA Nation Today.


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