Ray Cross: North Dakota tribe can't trade away its resources

Traffic jams are common on the reservation due to an explosion of energy development. Photo from This Is Mandaree / Facebook

Ray Cross, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota, says his tribe can't become dependent on energy revenues:
It’s easy to say yes to development in Indian Country, but it’s hard to say no. The past tribal administration on Fort Berthold Indian Reservation gave its unqualified yes to the largely unregulated development of its oil and gas resources.

And why not — it’s estimated that the tribe has received more than $315 million in tribal tax revenues from this development, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars in oil royalty payments paid to allotted mineral owners and the tribe itself over the past several years.

Development has transformed the tribe into one of the nation’s wealthiest.

Tribal sovereignty arguably grew with each barrel of oil produced on the reservation.

Why then should the new tribal administration consider saying no to this development that has produced so much for the tribal people’s hopes and dreams?

Get the Story:
Ray Cross: A tribe strong enough to say no to oil (The Bismarck Tribune 11/5)

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