North Dakota tribe sues over ruling giving minerals to state


BISMARCK, N.D. — Leaders of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota sued the federal government Wednesday due to a Department of Interior opinion that sides with the state over valuable mineral rights beneath a portion of a man-made lake on the Missouri River.

The Three Affiliated Tribes’ lawsuit said the Interior Department is attempting to illegally take part of the Fort Berthold Indian reservation ceded to the tribe before statehood. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

At stake is an estimated $100 million in unpaid royalties and future payments certain to come from oil drilling beneath the river, which was dammed by the federal government in the 1950s, flooding more than a tenth of the 1,500-square-mile (3,885-square-kilometer) reservation to create Lake Sakakawea.


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