The press reports that decades after the federal
government’s dammed the Missouri River and
flooded prime land on several Native American
reservations and forced thousands of families to
relocate, a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to
The group, including all three members of South
Dakota’s congressional delegation, has introduced
legislation that would establish a commission to
review outstanding claims and recommend a
comprehensive resolution to an issue that’s festered since 1944 – when the government decided to erect the dams to protect down river communities from annual flooding.
But the dams, such as Big Bend and Oahe that were built under the “Pick-Sloan” program, inundated other communities.
In fact, I have read that 92% of the lands taken for these dam and reservoir projects were taken for Indians and tribal governments even though 100% of the benefits were designed for non-Indian farmers and towns.
Much of the flooded land included hunting
grounds, agriculturally fertile areas and wooded
tracts where timber was harvested, according to the office of Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat and lead sponsor of the measure. Flooding forced thousands of Native Americans to move to the highlands where land was less productive.