Finding a way to prosperity
By Jerry W. Kram
From two miles below the surface, a river of black gold climbs to the surface of the Fort Berthold Reservation. Cracks blasted in the rock release a torrent of oil, and those valuable hydrocarbons have brought a torrent of revenue to mineral owners and the tribal government on the reservation. How to turn that rising tide of money into a long lasting and sustainable future for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people was the subject of a two day summit meeting in New Town last week.
The Economic Sovereignty Summit was held at the Northern Lights Community Center and hosted by the tribally owned Missouri River Resources oil company on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 20 and 21. Among the speakers were representatives from several successful tribal business development agencies and tribally owned companies including Ho Chunk Inc, owned by the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund.
This is the fifth annual summit hosted by the North Segment and Missouri River Resources, said North Segment Representative Ken Hall. The summits have evolved through the years, starting with background for allottees and landowners. The following summits examined impacts and opportunities arising from the oil boom. This year’s summit
“In the beginning there was just a lot of education from the state, federal and tribal governments as well as the allottees themselves,” Hall said. “We had to get educated on what was going on and what we had here. We shifted gears this year and this summit looks at things from the corporate side of the Bakken play.”