Encyclopedia of the Great Plains

David J. Wishart, Editor


Logo for the Mni Sose Intertribal Water Rights Coalition

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The Mni Sose Intertribal Water Rights Coalition was organized in 1993 to enable the twenty-eight American Indian Nations in the Missouri River basin to seek legal, administrative, economic, and physical control over their water resources. Since its inception, the coalition has been engaged in a constant effort to educate U.S. agencies and congressional committees about the treaty and trust responsibilities of the federal government. For example, under the Flood Control Act of 1944, which authorized the Pick-Sloan Plan, eight reservations relinquished a total of 350,000 acres, or 23 percent of the total land appropriated for the construction of the five earthen dams to control flooding along the Missouri River. Although a $1.3 billion economic benefit is derived from these projects each year, the tribes have shared in little of the revenues. However, based upon the efforts of the coalition, the tribes are now in the process of approving contracts for allocations of hydropower from the Pick-Sloan dams, which will ultimately result in lower electrical rates on the reservations.

The coalition is also working with federal and other agencies to develop partnerships with tribes to support tribal water uses, conduct research, and encourage technology transfer to improve water resource development and cultural protection of the environment. With the assistance of the Mni Sose Intertribal Water Rights Coalition, tribes are moving from a passive to an active role in protecting their tribal homelands. They are now acquiring the legislative, administrative, and operational capabilities to govern, manage, and protect their tribal water resources.

Richard Bad Moccasin Mni Sose Intertribal Water Rights Coalition

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