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Letter to the Editor: Petition opposing crew camps coming for Mandaree

In June 2012 and April 2013, the Three Affiliated Tribes and Tribal Business Council agreed to three phases of man camps (crew camps) for Four Bears, Mandaree and New Town communities with the Enspirion man camp company.

Mandaree has the largest land base on Fort Berthold. There are already 11 man camps or squatters around the Mandaree community, with most of them on individual allotted lands. There still could be many more out in the rural and remote areas of West Segment.

The tribal voter needs to be better informed on the issue. There were no community public hearings nor approval of man camps before Tribal Business Council went ahead with a resolution to place three man camps in New Town, Four Bears and Mandaree communities.

How can any council member claim they are responsible, accountable and claim their actions transparent when tribal citizens find out the council places communities' safety at risk in its decision making. Citizens still cannot view the Tribal Business Council minutes and resolutions of 2012 and 2013 online.

Tribal council may attempt to keep citizens in the dark. However, tribal citizens have the tribal constitutional protected right of bringing a resolution to a reservation-wide referendum election for a vote of the people.

Our council must align its decision making to the constitutional requirements of Article IV Powers, Sec. 5, (j) "To protect and preserve the property, wildlife, and natural resources of the Tribes; to regulate hunting and fishing on all lands within the jurisdiction of the Tribes; and to cultivate and preserve native arts, crafts, culture, ceremonies, and traditions."

The council's decision authorizing oil and gas development man camps on Fort Berthold causes harm to members of all communities on Fort Berthold.

Can any council member claim they are responsible, accountable or say their actions are transparent when citizens only belatedly find out its decision making has placed communities at risk?

I will be taking a petition to the Mandaree people that will read: "We the Mandaree Residents oppose any current or future known 'crew camps,' 'man camps,' lodge, living facilities and RV Parks within the Mandaree and West Segment. We must protect our heritage, our culture, our way of life, our environment, safety and health of young children, and Mandaree families for generations to come that must be the priority with the oil and gas development in the Mandaree area."

Lisa Finley - DeVille,