Creating a path to self-sufficiency

Despite our land losses, through a diversified economy and natural resource revenues, we have made great strides. The MHA Nation provides essential services for tribal members and the surrounding community, working every day to revitalize our self-sufficiency. Over the past decade, oil and gas revenue have helped us provide:

Public Infrastructure:  

  • Full-time employment for more than 1,100 tribal members.

  • A Public Safety and Judicial Center, housing 35 law enforcement officers.

  • A 911-dispatch center and MHA Nation tribal court.

  • $120 million toward road repair and improvements.



  • $35 million in annual health insurance for all 16,165 tribal members.

  • Full-service primary care at the Elbowoods Memorial Health Center.

  • $25 million to build the Good Road Recovery Center for treating substance abuse.

  • Dental and kidney dialysis centers in New Town.


Education and Culture

  • More than $16 million in early childhood and secondary education.

  • Higher education funding for over 2,000 tribal members.

  • Food sovereignty and expanding agriculture.

  • Language revitalization for three ancestral languages.


 We are creating future leaders and community contributors. Education and culture are integral to our identity and our journey to self-reliance. By having access to our rightful resources, we can support our people and return to a self-sufficient way of life, like our ancestors.

Our ancestors created a thriving river economy, traveling up and down the river to trade with neighboring tribes. They lived independently and freely; they relied only on themselves and the lands and waters to provide what they needed. Since our ancestral homelands were flooded, we have been working to recover our way of life. It hasn’t been an easy road but the recognition of our mineral rights, which are ours by law, would help set us on a path to greater self-sufficiency so we can live as our ancestors did.
— Mark Fox, Tribal Chairman, MHA Nation

The Bakken Oil development and subsequent disparities

  • Asthma and respiratory complications are highly common for those living in the Fort Berthold Reservation.

  • Substance abuse and addiction rates have increased throughout the reservation, including deadly opioid use.

  • Crime rates are up throughout the Fort Berthold Reservation, specifically in drug and sex trafficking, domestic violence, and homicide.

  • Murder and instances of violent crime have increased dramatically contributing to the 5,712 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls reported in the U.S. in 2016.

  • Truck traffic and road destruction is rampant, causing tribal member deaths on reservation roads to jump by nearly 500 percent.

But as North Dakota prospers from oil and gas development, government agencies are attempting to take away MHA Nation’s mineral rights below the Missouri on our treaty protected land.

Since 2008, the oil industry has brought millions of dollars and thousands of new jobs. But on our reservation, we’ve also seen a huge increase in oil rig traffic that takes a toll on our roads and infrastructure. One estimate shows an increase in truck traffic of 600%.
— Mervin Packineau, Treasurer, MHA Nation

We are survivors still at risk

As our lands were taken, our communities uprooted, and our culture and way of life degraded, our people have faced daunting obstacles to recovering our health and prosperity on Fort Berthold.

  • Youth Poverty: 34% of young people live with less than $2 a day.

  • Poverty: 87% higher than the national average.

  • Income: 12.6% lower than the national average.

  • Health care: $100 million annual cost to the tribe.

  • Type 2 diabetes: 200 percent higher than the national average.

  • Education: 89% less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree than the national average.

  • Housing: 900+ families forced to relocate after Garrison Dam flood

  • Life Expectancy: 60.64 years tribal member average vs. 78.7 years national average.