The Fort Berthold Reservation, located in north central North Dakota near the Canadian border, consists of nearly a million acres of land and water. It is home to the Three Afiliated Tribes (TAT): the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara.
North Dakota State University Extension has been working with the Tribes at Fort Berthold for more than 30 years. Extension serves all segments of the reservation encompassing six counties. The program’s major focus is on working with tribal youth to improve agricultural and environmental literacy, as well as providing opportunities for positive youth development, including archery and traditional arts and crafts. 4-H youth development education creates supportive learning environments to help youth and adults reach their full potential.
4-H youth development
4-H provides hands-on, real-life experiences for youth who learn through projects, activities, and events. Through these programs youth are acquiring skills such as critical thinking, decision making, goal setting, problem solving, communication, teamwork, self esteem, taking responsibility, character and many others.
Youth programming at Fort Berthold offers experiential learning for youth. Kids learn a skill, do a project and apply what they have learned to a real-life situation. 4-H programs provide an outlet for youth to experience many diverse opportunities. Fort Berthold Extension has also done in-school enrichment programming at schools across the reservation, including Twin Buttes, Mandaree, New Town and White Shield. After-school and summer programming has been offered in Parshall and New Town.
Nutrition education is another major priority for Extension. Educators work with youth and families to offer fun, hands-on educational programming on making healthy choices, staying active and increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks. There is programming for youth and elders on diet, food preparation, food safety and physical activity.
Community gardening projects are located at New Town Head Start, Arikara Cultural Center and Twin Buttes Boys and Girls Clubs, and they foster horticultural, agricultural and nutrition knowledge across the reservation for youth and elders. It is a priority to maintain and enhance existing community gardening programs to improve nutrition, foster healthy choices, and support local sustainable agricultural initiatives.
Natural resources and agriculture
Fort Berthold Extension provides assistance and technical support to the ranching and agricultural communities, from cow-calf operations, horse programs, forage and cattle nutrition, to crops and horticulture. This includes providing information, tools and training regarding farm business management, livestock and rangeland health, natural resources and invasive species. Programs have included low stress livestock handling, carbon credits, livestock rotation systems, rangeland health, forage harvest and storage, and tree and garden consultation.
Rebecca Hager – Extension Agent