July 30, 2014

A great day for White Shield

By CHERYL ODDEN

 

A field north of White Shield is much more than a plot of land with a crop of maturing grain. It’s been chosen as the site where three new facilities will soon be built.

This past Wednesday, a groundbreaking ceremony officially marked the beginning of a project that will give the city a new school, a new Head Start building and a community center.

Prior to ceremoniously turning the first shovels full of soil, Alfred (Junior) Morsette provided a traditional ground blessing ceremony by circling the area with a fragrant smudge pot.

Self-financed project

The three buildings that will be built in White Shield are part of an effort by the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation to "give back" to its members. The White Shield project, estimated at $25 million, will be financed with tribal funds.

The investment in infrastructure is made possible by revenue from oil and gas production on land owned by the Three Affiliated Tribes in the Bakken field.

Austin Gillette, one of several speakers during the groundbreaking ceremony, is the Tribe’s chief fiducial officer. Referring to a time when tribal funds were lean, Gillette said, "Today is a great day for our community … today, the TAT does not have an empty hand."


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