Fort Berthold

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Fort Berthold Indian Reservation

The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, in western North Dakota, is home for the federally recognized Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes.

Created by the United States government in 1870, today the Reservation consists of only a small part of the lands that were originally reserved for the tribes by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, which set aside nearly twelve million acres in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.

The Reservation is located along the Missouri River in McLean, Mountrail, Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer, and Ward counties, with the largest amount of land being in McLean and the least in Ward County. Today, the Reservation consists of 988,000 acres, of which 457,837 are owned by Native Americans, individually or by the tribe as a whole. The McLean National Wildlife Refuge is situated within the Reservation boundaries.

The Reservation was named for a U.S. Army fort, located on the northern banks of the Missouri River, twenty miles downstream from the mouth of the Little Missouri River, which was decommissioned in 1867.

The construction of the Garrison Dam, and the creation of Lake Sakakawea, flooded a portion of the Reservation land, displacing Fort Berthold farmers, and destroying much of the agricultural economy of the Three Affiliated Tribes, which had previously been based on farming and ranching along the fertile river bottom.

The heaviest areas of population on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation are the cities of New Town and Parshall. Other communities within the Reservation are Four Bears Village, Mandaree, Twin Buttes, White Shield, and Sahnish. The tribe now operates a casino in New Town.

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