Relatives and colleagues,
In the coming months, we will launch a campaign to urge the Department of the Interior (DOI) to reinstate its opinion that affirms our rights to the Missouri River riverbed and the minerals beneath it.
Today’s economy brings opportunity and challenges, and one of the answers to our self-reliance lies within the river. As Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara river people, you know of our longstanding and strong connections with the Missouri River, the bottomlands, and all it provides for our people.
In 2016, the DOI issued an opinion that reaffirms our property rights to the Missouri River and the riverbed. The federal government has affirmed our property rights to the riverbed many times, but the current administration has chosen to suspend the DOI’s decision without legal justification. Recognition of our property rights is critical to expanding our economy and helping us better serve all tribal members.We must work to protect our property rights and related royalties from any attempted interference.
It’s important that our rights are recognized so that we are empowered to provide for our people again.
Since the arrival of oil industry in 2008, our economy has grown and so have our needs. With increased truck traffic on our roads, we need more infrastructure funding. The increase in workers on our reservation means we need greater law enforcement investment to keep our people and our roads safe. Our investments in education, healthcare and housing continue to be a priority for our return to self-sufficiency. The revenue associated with the reinforcement of MHA Nation’s riverbed rights will help fund the needs of our children, our elders, our veterans and our most vulnerable.
In the coming months, you’ll learn and hear more about this project on Facebook, Twitter, in the news and through a new website that will be a resource for tribal members, reporters, elected officials and supporters.
I look forward to sharing more with you throughout this important endeavor. I hope that you’ll share your thoughts with me and join us in this fight. Please contact me with questions and feedback.