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History of United Tribes And Fort Lincoln

Tribal History

United Tribes is governed by the five federally recognized tribes in the state: Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation; Spirit Lake Tribe; Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate; Standing Rock Tribe; and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold

Three Affiliated Tribes Logo

The Fort Berthold Reservation was established by Executive Order in 1870. The Three Affiliated Tribes is made up of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (Sahnish). Each has different origins and histories. Historically, the Mandan lived in large fortified earth-lodge villages along the Missouri River and its tributaries, practiced agriculture, and were famous for their trading skills. Explorers Lewis and Clark over-wintered with the tribe in 1804-05. Small pox epidemics ravaged the populations of all three tribes, causing them to unite. There was hostility between the three tribes and the Sioux. Arikara scouts served the Seventh Cavalry and were with the military at the infamous Greasy Grass fight (Battle of the Little Big Horn) in Montana Territory in 1876. Construction of the Garrison Dam in the late 1940s and early 1950s bisected the reservation with a man-made lake that inundated over one-fourth of the reservation’s land base. The reservation is located in parts of four North Dakota counties and the tribe’s headquarters is four miles west of New Town, North Dakota.

For a description about Three Affiliated Tribes history, culture, laws and treaties, along with reservation life past and present, read: The History and Culture of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Sahnish (Arikara), 2002, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. Visit the tribe’s website: www.mhanation.com.

Spirit Lake Tribe

Spirit Lake Tribe Logo

The land now occupied by the Spirit Lake Tribe was established as a reservation by treaty between the U.S. government and the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Bands in 1867. It is located in east-central North Dakota bordering on Devils Lake. This tribe of Dakotah people originated in Minnesota, where they were farmers and also hunted buffalo. Their movement onto the Plains was precipitated by the 1862 Dakota Conflict. Dakotah people at Spirit Lake are known as the Mni Wakan Oyate, or people of the Spirit Water. The seat of tribal government is located at the community of Fort Totten, North Dakota.

For more about the Spirit Lake Tribe read these books: The History and Culture of the Mni Wakan Oyate, 1997, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, and Mni Wakan Oyate (Spirit Lake Nation) A History of the Sisituwan, Wahpeton, Pabaksa, and other Dakota that Settled at Spirit Lake, North Dakota, 2008, Mark Diedrich, Cankdeska Cikana Community College Publishing, Fort Totten, ND. Visit the tribe’s website: www.spiritlakenation.com.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Logo

The Standing Rock Agency, formed in 1874, was one confinement area formed from the break-up of the Great Sioux Reservation, a 25 million acre tract encompassing land in South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana. In present form, Standing Rock covers two counties in North Dakota and South Dakota along the west side of the Missouri River/Lake Oahe. The tribes assigned there were originally Dakota and Lakota. The people of Standing Rock figure prominently in conflicts during the latter part of the 19th Century in defense of their land and people against the unlawful encroachment of settlers and the military. Nonetheless, a diminished land base resulted. More recently the tribe lost over 160,000 acres of prime agricultural land in the 1960s when lake-waters rose from a dam on the Missouri at Pierre, South Dakota. The tribe’s headquarters building overlooks Lake Oahe at Fort Yates, North Dakota.

For more information about Standing Rock, read: The History and Culture of the Standing Rock Oyate, 1995, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. Visit the tribe’s website: www.standingrock.org.

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe Logo

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate is located on the Lake Traverse Reservation, established by treaty in 1867. It is located in the northeastern part of South Dakota and a small portion of the southeastern corner of North Dakota. The reservation boundaries extend across seven counties, two in North Dakota and five in South Dakota. Members of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate are Dakotah people who, historically and currently, speak the “D” dialect of the indigenous language. They originated in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. The tribe has seven political sub-divisions. The seat of tribal government is located at Agency Village, South Dakota.

More information about the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation is available at the tribe’s website: www.swo-nsn.gov.

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Logo

The Turtle Mountain Reservation occupies a small part of the tribe’s aboriginal territory that once extended across what is now Minnesota and North Dakota and into Canada. It is now a 24 by 32-mile tract in one North Dakota county near the Canadian border. Members of the tribe are descended from the Ojibway (Anishinabe). Marriages with French explorers and fur trappers and traders produced the tribe’s Métis heritage. The tribe’s history is connected with Canadian history of the 19th Century, including the unsuccessful effort of Louis Riel to resist Canadian rule in the 1870s and 1880s.

Members of the Turtle Mountain Band inherited the tradition of hunting, trapping and trading. Even today, the reservation’s numerous lakes and forested hills afford excellent fishing and hunting. The tribe has over 30,000 enrolled members, with a resident population over 8,000. Tribal government is located at Belcourt, named for an early missionary.

For more information about Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, read: The History and Culture of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, 1997, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. Visit the tribe’s website: www.tmbci.net.

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