Tribes Invited to Lewis & Clark Event

Aug 15th, 2001 | By | Category: 13-1: Honoring Our Students & Alumni, Tribal College News

When the United States celebrates the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation will host one of the 10 signature events. Thanks in part to the efforts of an alumna from Fort Berthold Community College, the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial selected Fort Berthold in May 2001. Amy Mossett, now tourism director for the Three Affiliated Tribes, often portrays Sakakawea, the Shoshone woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition (see TCJ, Vol. 12, N. 4, p. 43).

Many American Indian people won’t participate in the celebration since the arrival of Europeans led to disease, destruction, and loss of their resources and way of life. Mossett and other Indian people involved in the celebration planning see it, however, as an opportunity for tourism, employment, product development, and educating people about American Indians. One of the Three Affiliated Tribes, the Mandan, kept Lewis and Clark alive one winter (1804-1805) at the beginning of their expedition.

Mossett has been researching the oral and written histories of Sakakawea for 12 years. After being actively involved with the Fort Berthold Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Committee since 1996, she was named chair of the Circle of Tribal Advisors for the National Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Planning Council.

The event in the New Town, ND, area in August 2006 will honor Sakakawea and tribal leadership, bringing together members of tribes along the Lewis and Clark Trail, according to Mossett. She hopes the Corps of Discovery II (a traveling exhibit of the National Park Service) will be in the area at that time. Gerard Baker, also a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes, is the superintendent of the Corps of Discovery II project.

“I welcome all those tribal nations who encountered Lewis and Clark and invite them to express what the Corps of Discovery meant to their people,” said Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall. “I see this as a healing event and the beginning of reconciliation for the indigenous people of this country and the U.S. government,” he said.

The Bismarck Civic Center (near United Tribes Technical College-UTTC) was also selected at the May meeting as a signature event site for the fall of 2004. UTTC plans to provide artwork and performing arts at its cultural center during the four-year bicentennial celebrations, 2003-2006. They expect three to five million visitors in the state, according to John Beheler at UTTC.

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