the fort berthold plan


The Fort Berthold Comprehensive Regional Transportation Plan is the Three Affiliated Tribes’ first community-based and leadership driven effort to think and act strategically about the environmental, climate, social, and cultural impacts that existing and new transportation infrastructure would have in their future success and quality of life. The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation is only a remnant of the14 million acres that was once agreed upon in the Treaty of Fort Laramie. Today, the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (Sahnish) Tribes are made up of 16,000 tribal members. Nearly 8,000 call Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, North Dakota home. Initiated by MHA Nation Tribal Council and facilitated by the work of project manager and tribal member Ron Hall (Bubar and Hall Consulting), the subject areas covered under the Fort Berthold Plan impact a wide range of issues including the environment, the economy, jobs, health, safety, and overall quality of life. With the construction of the Garrison Dam and Lake Sakakawea in 1956, one-sixth of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation was flooded (152,360 acres), and 70% of the road and bridge infrastructure was permanently lost. This displaced families, destroyed sacred sites, ruined the best farmland, flooded valuable natural resources, destroyed the economy, and isolated communities that had previously been connected. Planning is the first step in rewriting that future.

The Fort Berthold Plan explores the interstice between development and the impacts on social, cultural, and environmental protection through planning for MHA Nation. Much of the history of the Three Affiliated Tribes has been written for them: from colonization, to the flooding of their lands by Lake Sakakawea, and now, unexpected impacts from significant oil development. But that story is still being written. The Fort Berthold Plan is about taking back that future, about being proactive instead of reactive, and about building a bright future for the next generations.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the
world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead