Lands Rights

George Gillette (left), chairman of the Fort Berthold Indian Tribal Business Council, weeps as Secretary of Interior J.A. Krug signs a contract whereby the tribe sells 155,000 acres of its reservation in North Dakota for the Garrison Dam and Reservoir project, 1948

George Gillette (left), chairman of the Fort Berthold Indian Tribal Business Council, weeps as Secretary of Interior J.A. Krug signs a contract whereby the tribe sells 155,000 acres of its reservation in North Dakota for the Garrison Dam and Reservoir project, 1948
Courtesy of Associated Press

In 1948, members of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes in North Dakota were forced to sell ¼ of their reservation to the federal government, including tribal headquarters, the hospital, and fertile farmland to make way for the building of the Garrison Dam. With their only option to move to high, barren land, these people consequently experienced poverty, poor diets, and lack of self-esteem.