July 11, 2013

Sakakawea Yacht makes first voyage

Sakakawea Yacht makes first voyage
By Jerry W. Kram

Interesting things are afloat at the Four Bears Marina west of New Town.
July 3 saw the christening and maiden voyage of the tribal yacht Sakakawea, the 98 foot long vessel that will be operated by the Four Bears Lodge and Casino. The yacht will offer dining and entertainment on its cruises but not gaming, said Casino manager Pat Packineau. The tribe will purchase a larger boat with gaming machines and tables in 2014.
The Sakakawea dedication was delayed because it was brought to the area in two pieces by truck. The upper level arrived several weeks ago, but the hull was delayed by road restrictions caused by the late spring. Still, the two pieces were brought together and the boat launched before the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Tribal Chairman Tex Hall christened the boat with a bottle of champagne. Delvin Driver, Sr., prayed and did a blessing ceremony at the lake’s edge for the vessel and those who will ride in it. Jackie Bird provided entertainment and Calvin Grinnell spoke about the historic and cultural importance of areas visible from the deck.
Packineau said the Sakakawea will be available both for individuals to book a cruise and for group events. It will cruise the waters of Lake twice a day at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Reservation for the cruises can be made at the Players Club desk at the casino or by calling 800-294-5454.
Darian Morsette, director of the MHA Tourism Department, said the Sakakawea will be an important piece in the marketing of Fort Berthold as a destination for visitors.
“This is a great attraction,” Morsette said. “It has the potential to bring in more tourism to the area. The Sakakawea is going to be a tremendous opportunity to provide our own tours with our own cultural interpretation and our own music.”

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