North Dakota’s tribal communities have shaped our state’s history. Though individual tribes have distinct and different origins, histories and languages, Plains Indians are united by core beliefs and values including respect for the earth and humankind’s relationship with nature. Today, there are over 31,000 American Indians living in North Dakota, making up about 5% of the current North Dakota population. Almost 60% live on reservations and over 40% of these American Indians are under the age of 20.
Five federally recognized tribes and one Indian community are located (at least partially) within our state. These include the Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara Nation (Three Affiliated Tribes), the Spirit Lake Nation, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation. By engaging, listening and learning, and working together all citizens of North Dakota and the Five Tribal nations will help our state reach its full potential.
Tribal governments interact closely with the federal government through the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but they are separate from state governments. Although tribal constitutions are based on the same form of democracy that the United States has incorporated into the U.S. Constitution, differences exist that reflect the history and circumstances of each tribe.