Making History in the Process, North Dakota Redistricting
It is great news that Fort Berthold Reservation is proposed to receive a new subdistrict (District 4a). This change will help to ensure that representation comes from Fort Berthold reservation. With the Native American population outpacing all other groups in North Dakota, this just makes sense. That being said, it is unfortunate that the ND redistricting committee did not give the same subdistrict structure to the legislative districts containing Standing Rock reservation and Spirit Lake reservation.
While growing up in Mandaree I always wondered about our governments and why there is no Native American representation in all forms of North Dakota government. To discuss the importance of Native American representation, I gave a public comment to the ND redistricting committee on the morning of September 29, 2021. In my testimony I discussed the importance of having a Native American person from Fort Berthold representing Fort Berthold reservation in the legislature. Having a Native American person representing Fort Berthold will inspire the next generation of indigenous leaders on Fort Berthold reservation to commit to public service. Creating District 4a is a step towards that goal. I would like to thank the ND redistricting committee for adding District 4a, but also ask that the legislature approve a new map that also provides the subdistrict structure to other reservation communities like Spirit Lake reservation and Standing Rock reservation. North Dakotas Native American tribes need to be at the table and we need fair representation in North Dakota.
Lisa DeVille Mandaree, ND
Lisa DeVille is a lifelong resident of Mandaree on Fort Berthold in North Dakota (ND). Lisa serves on the ND Native vote Board. Lisa is co-creator of Fort Berthold Protectors of Water Earth Rights (POWER) an affiliate of Dakota Resource Council (DRC). Lisa also serves on the DRC and Western Organization of Resource Council (WORC).