An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Extension Indian Reservation Program- Extension Positions, FT Berthold Indian Reservation


Fort Berthold Indian Reservation has unique challenges and needs that are specific to the members of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes. With educational programs focusing on cultural sensitivity and addressing issues to impact and improve the social, economic, civic and environmental conditions, the quality of life will improve for the people living on Fort Berthold. Goals set forth for 4-H & Youth Development include enhancing lifestyle decisions, developing leadership and citizenship skills, and using technology to develop life skills through science. School enrichment, after school 4-H programming and 4-H activities will address the importance of eating healthy and physical activity and equip youth with the ability to make healthy physical, personal and social decisions. Financial literacy is another objective of the 4-H and youth development program. Human Science & Family Development educational programs will build strong families, enhance parenting skills and promote individual and family wellness. With many historical issues impeding strong family relations, outreach work will focus on positive measures to build family relationships. Nutrition, Food Safety & Health programming will achieve goals related to healthy people, food safety and smart food purchasing. Many clientele are faced with the decision to pay rent or buy food for their families. With programs dealing with low income families it's vital to practice thrifty food purchasing practices. Competitiveness & Profitability of Animal Systems and Natural Resources & Environmental Management include goals such as healthy rangeland, sustainability of Indian Agriculture and grazing systems and water development. Indian cattle producers are at a unique crossroads to capture a premium for natural beef. By employing good management strategies such as animal health, nutrition and genetic selection, we plan to become competitive in the market place with quality natural beef raised on Fort Berthold.

More information

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The percent of obese and at-risk youth is increasing. Youth have limited opportunities to develop citizenship and leadership skills. Youth need practical knowledge with science and technology to increase marketable job skills. Historical issues have impeded strong family development. Many families struggle with strecthing their food dollars. Many families do not practice safe food handling practices. Indian ranchers need assistance in capturing a premium for natural beef marketing. The purpose of this project is to create learning partnerships that help adults and youth of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation improve their nutrition, capture value from their natural resources and ultimately enhance their lives and communities.

APPROACH: The approach to accomplish the above objectives will utilize a variety of methods ranging from training sessions that encourage discussions and tranformational education in family & child development and agricultural & natural resources, to hands on experiential learning experiences in 4-H & Youth Development. 4-H & Youth Development will target youth through school enrichment programs and after school programming. Nutrition and Food Safety programs will initiate face to face discussions with food stamp eligible reciepients from WIC and Commodity Programs. A more formal classroom setting will be used to focus on areas of dietary quality, food purchasing and food safety. Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences will meet with ranchers and farmers individually as well as deliver educational information in groups according to communities of interest.
PROGRESS: 2006/04 TO 2007/03
The people of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation face unique challenges as socially disadvantage and under served clientele. The Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program for Ft. Berthold serves as an advocate and educator for the populace on Ft. Berthold. Extension Staff have diligently invested time and expertise in developing relevant connections, trainings and partnerships to effectively meet the needs and assist residents of Ft. Berthold. Extension has assisted ranchers with invasive weed (knapweed) identification and collaborated with North Dakota Department of Agriculture in obtaining cost share dollars from the county weed board. On behalf of one producer, extension provided a series of letters and phone calls advocating cost share dollars that saved the producer $500.00 toward pesticide spray to address the knapweed infestation. Considerable efforts and conversations have focused on range management issues specific to vegetation identification and monitoring. Permanent photo plots on dissimilar ecological sites were established for future vegetative monitoring. Additional efforts focused on specific grazing management techniques that may yield future changes for better grazing utilization. The consultations and conversations resulted in ranchers' having an increased awareness of plant identification and knowledge of actual available forage for livestock. Through an extension sponsored seminar addressing alternative feeds an area Ft. Berthold rancher employed a least cost ration containing peas, wheat midds and wheat screenings reducing his feed expenses by 12%. 75 livestock producers, educators and youth attended a one day livestock handling seminar. The seminar was a joint effort through Ft. Berthold Extension and the Ft. Berthold Community College Agricultural Department (1994 Institution). With the assistance from a SARE grant, monies were used to bring in Dr. Tom Noffsinger, a renowned livestock handler, from Nebraska. Through this one day clinic those in attendance identified the following impacts; 75% of those in attendance believed they would see improvement in their cattle performance if low stress concepts were applied. Over 90% of the participants identified low stress techniques they would actually implement to handle or manage their cattle. Ft. Berthold Extension has also played an integral role in implementing and conducting the Horizons Program, which focuses on community leadership to reduce poverty. The community of New Town has a poverty rate of 17.2% (2000 US Census Data). The Horizons Program is funded by the Northwest Area Foundation. Through the first phase of Horizons, talking circles have increased community members' knowledge and understanding of poverty, possible reasons for poverty and ways to reduce poverty. Talking circle participants experienced values, beliefs and views of poverty that were different from their own. Through these discussions not only did participants hear others views, but also gained a greater understanding of their own personal views.
IMPACT: 2006/04 TO 2007/03
In the recruiting phase of the program, New Town had 68 community members attend a free community pancake breakfast. Forty people enrolled to participate in the talking circles. Concrete ideas were developed in the talking circles to reduce poverty in our community. An action plan meeting resulted in 33% of attendees signing up for community volunteer projects and 55% enrolled in the next phase, a leadership training program. Efforts have also focused on positive youth development that creates an opportunity for youth to experience belonging, generosity, independence and mastery. Archery programming has created an opportunity for youth to gain a multitude of life skills. Over 45 youth have been involved in afterschool archery clubs and special interest events. Youth reported feeling they were involved in a safe and protected atmosphere. Archery provided positive youth-adult interaction, critical thinking skills, self esteem, and physical competence. Youth also learned safety, leadership, and sportsmanship. Archery has expanded into the physical education curricula in two schools on Ft. Berthold. Through opportunities with National Archery in the Schools (NASP), North Dakota 4-H Outdoor Skills Program and the ND Game and Fish Department, both schools received cost sharing grants to purchase archery equipment for National Archery in the Schools Program. Schools received over $2,000 to defray initial equipment purchases. A national certified training was conducted by ND State Extension Specialist staff that certified 8 archery instructors from 3 schools and 3 community volunteers. Students from the alternative school "Ma Adoo Ga Diz" participated in a four week long school enrichment archery program led by extension staff. Student attendance was improved on days archery was offered. Students reported having a positive adult - youth relationship and even helped their school instructors with helpful hints and techniques relative to archery. Extension staff provided internet safety school enrichment programs to middle school and high school students in White Shield Community Schools. Twenty-six youth participated in general internet safety that included, creating a safe username, password and screen name, protecting personal information, and appropriate user profile detail. Of the youth participating. 44% reported revealing personal information through either their screen name or username. 54% of the youth admitted their personal profile contained personal information, such as a picture, birth date, zip code or full name. 83% of the participants agreed to being empowered to make safe decisions in regards to protecting their personal information on the internet. Afterschool baking classes were also held for youth. Youth learned about food safety, healthy lifestyle choices, sharing, cooperation, communication and self-esteem. Youth utilized commodity foods to prepare and bake blueberry muffins. The baking lesson provided a hands-on activity were youth positively engaged. Over 70% reported never having experienced baking.

Fisher, Jay
North Dakota State University Extension Service
Start date
End date
Project number
Accession number