MHA Nation Election Pivotal for #FrackingTweet
Mark N. Fox
Those are the final candidates for the office of Chairman of the Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. Indian Country is watching this year’s Tribal elections because the MHA Nation sits in the middle of the Bakken formation and their leaders have adopted the slogan “Sovereignty by the Barrel” -a reference to the #Fracking of shale oil bringing record profits to a few of the Tribal Nation, buffering the coffers of the Tribal Council, Spilling poisonous #Frack fluid into the Missouri River at times and endangering the surface and ground water supply of the entire State of North Dakota, and those sister Tribes downstream including the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes.
The Tribal nation made news recently for a very significant oil spill as well as declaring several candidates ineligible for Tuesday’s primary election for various reasons including Edmund Baker, the Environmental Protection Director who was shut out of and denied access to information about the aftermath of the most recent Crestwood spill.
Last Real Indians reached out to MHA Nation Council candidate Wendi Wells, excluded from this election, for comment regarding the importance of the Sept. 15, 2014 Tribal Primary Election.
Wells, an emerging, strong, young leader, had this to say [verbatim]: The election is important not only because of the unprecedented economic boom of oil development but for Tribal members internally as well. Yes, we have to address the future of development in our homelands but there are also gaps in our Tribal constitution with not having separation of powers and checks and balances. We have a system that fails our people & prevents our Nation from progressing forward. Power is in the body of seven that makes decisions for our MHA Nation. The decisions are focused on here and now without any reflection of future generations. There are a lot issues we are dealing with that often get shoved under the rug. Well that rug is above our heads and we can see clearly we need to get back to the drawing board to create solutions that will benefit our society as a whole, including our tribal election ordinance, Constitution reform, environmental policies and procedures, health & social programs, education, investments and communication. We are at the pivotal time for transition in the MHA Nation. I think of what our ancestors fought for; who we are and where we belong. Their fight placed us among the most vital resources where we could become self-sustainable. But yet how do we honor those that fought before us?
As a young woman that carries strong blood and values. I am a firm believer that history is our backbone and education is our future. Out of 14,022 MHA Nation members , those aged 18 to 45 account for 42.5% of the voting population. This number is significant by showing that there can be a great turn in the position of future leadership in the upcoming years. It’s time to gear up and educate a younger generation who has the vision and heart for their people and homelands.
I am unable to run for the Four Bears segment this year due to temporarily residing off the reservation while pursuing my education. I see that as lack of encouragement on behalf of our Tribe. I see military service-folk and college students, temporarily residing off the reservation and keeping their dominant residence on Fort Berthold, no different than our people at home. None-the-less I am wrapping up a double major in my Bachelors of Business Management and Marketing at the University of Mary.
I always kept my dominant residency in the Four Bears segment and still receive mail there. My family members are the original allotted owners and descendants there. Who taught me to never sell or transfer your land and to hold onto what your ancestors provided you. With that I plan to work for my people and homelands in other ways.
Last Real Indians will monitor election results as they are announced; Get out and VOTE!