Indian Reservation Wants Job Training Dollars From The State, But Not Oil Industry Jobs


Via Million Dollar Way, the leadership of the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation addressed the North Dakota legislature last week and asked for more funding from state tax revenues for job training and development on their reservation:

The chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa asked lawmakers from oil-rich North Dakota on Thursday to support job training to help lower the high rate of unemployment on the state’s reservations.

Not mentioned in the Bismarck Tribune article is the fact that the Turtle Mountain Tribe last year also passed a resolution banning fracking on their land.

The irony, of course, is that the tribe wants money from “oil rich” North Dakota which is only “oil rich” because fracking sparked a resurgence in the state’s oil production.

The further irony is that the tribe wants money to subsidize job creation and training, but they don’t seem to want the actual jobs that would come along with oil development and all the commerce it creates. Which isn’t to say that the tribe has a lot of oil resources to develop. I’ve heard rumors of explorations up in that part of the state, and perhaps they are sitting on significant reserves. Or maybe they’re not. Either way, it’s sort of the principle of the thing.

Meanwhile, according to the tribe’s own numbers, unemployment is at 67% on the reservation, the poverty rate is at 38% and the annual per-capita income is around $9,000/year (that’s excluding, I’m assuming, government income streams).

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Kevin Flanagan

    Isn’t that what public schools already do?

    • two_amber_lamps

      No… you refer to the entitlement that provides parents with 13 years of day care as provided by the taxpayer.

  • The Whistler

    It seems that all too often job training is a make work program providing BS jobs to a lucky few while training people for jobs that don’t exist.

    However oil jobs are real.

  • Tim Heise

    Three Affiliated Tribes is a great example of what to do with the Oil in Indian Country.

  • HideFromObama

    I’d bet the oil companies in and around the reservation would be fine hiring Native Americans… and on the reservation they are required to do so by the local tribe (typically) However, working on a rig, while the pay is good, isn’t exactly glamourous or easy so many don’t really want it. I shouldn’t label in a broad stroke, but having contacts in the oilfield that note that the turnover rate among the Native American hires on each rig is very high.

    • The Whistler

      I would imagine that an oil job is a pretty tough on to transition to if you don’t have a lot of similar (construction say) job experience. I don’t think the training matters as much.

  • Thresherman

    I’m curious why they cannot use the revenues from their casino to fund job training?

    • Guest

      Because those are to line the pockets of a privileged few in tribal government plus “investors” in who are generous “family men”. You didn’t think those profits were meant to benefit the people did you?

      • two_amber_lamps

        Wow 7-11-san…. even a broken watch is right twice daily, eh?

  • awfulorv

    I’ve seen the work ethic of Native American on the Navajo Rez. in New Mew. and, I’m sorry to say, it’s not good. Perhaps things have changed in the twenty years since but, Couple the lassitude, the inattentiveness, the irresponsibility, and, yes, the drinking, I’ve personally witnessed, with the danger, inherent, around an oil rig, and it adds up to more trouble than it’s worth. Unless the workers are put through some sort of a workers, basic training camp, beforehand, and eased into the more dangerous jobs on the site, that is.

    • Guest

      Leave a message…

  • camsaure

    The Turtle Mountain Tribe defacated in their bed, let them lay in it then.

    • two_amber_lamps

      For ellinasty, laying in a bed full of fecal matter would be a fantasy come true…

  • Randy G

    The Democrat party has done to them the same as every other minority, taught them to hold their hand out an do nothing for it.

  • Yogibare

    So let me be a bit more cynical than some posters already are; The Republican dominated legislature is asked to allocate more money to the reservation for “training” for jobs that do not exist and will not exist—-for what? So the reservation residents can vote 90 plus percent Democrat and elect Democrats?
    My suggestion: write a sob-story to Heidi—you helped elect her—maybe she can arrange a few million dollars in “economic development”.
    There are other Counties in ND that have few jobs and could use the free money from the State of ND, too. The State is not the Rich Uncle like we have in Washington DC.

  • VocalYokel

    I thought the reservations were sovereign entities with their own government, license plates, etc.
    If they are unwilling to pay the same taxes citizens of ND and the US do, they should also be exempt from the largesse of government, (read Taxpayers) and spend the money generated by the casino(s) they operate to improve the economic and social standing of the tribal members.

    • Tim Heise

      Quisi-sovereign and they do pay Federal Tax’s and some state.

      • tomorrowclear

        Don’t confuse him with facts.

  • tomorrowclear

    What?!?! A group of people not willing to sell out their values and heritage for temporary bucks?!?!?!? What kind of socialist pinko commies would do something like that???

    Why can’t they be more like us sophisticated honkies?

    • jl

      How’s that “values and heritage” thing been working out for them, considering the un-heard of unemployment rate of 67%?

      • tomorrowclear

        Preciely! Monetary concerns shall trump all others, most especially the spiritual! Just like Jesus commanded you!!!

        You liberals amuse from time to time.

        • jl

          So in other words, it’s not working out at all. Thanks

  • Lynn Bergman

    Individual responsibility must be encouraged. The “throw money at the problems” method hasn’t worked with federal money.. why would it work with state money?

  • JW-American

    The trouble with training for oil field jobs, is, once trained, they don’t have the excuse that there are no openings Which defeats the purpose of an ever expanding dependency class, which seems to be prevalent though tout all cultures lately

    Before I would grant a dime for any additional funding on the reservation, I would require ND issued ID’s for any vote involving any ND state wide election. Or Off Reservation County elections.

  • Opinionated

    It is hard to get a job when you do not have an education and when you do not attend school daily you get no education. Native Americans do not pay North Dakota taxes if they live on reservations or iif they make their money on reservation. Native Americans get food stamps, pell grants, HUD, food baskets, tanf, hiring preference, have their own pageants, make their own rules, have their own license plates, free healthcare, there are only about two million of them left in the us and if they do get themselves together as a people there will not be enough of them left to effectively change their own fate. It is not the white man forcing them to alcohol and drugs it is because they have too much free time on their hands and most would be a disgrace to the Native Americans that were the first Americans.

  • Rezkid

    Here’s a part of the speech (from the local newsrag) that isn’t getting much attention:

    “Keep imagining, if you will, funds to buy back land… yes I said buy back land that
    was given away so we can expand our reservation and provide more opportunity
    for our people to become land owners, to increase farming and agriculture, and
    funds to restore, beautify and develop our natural resources to attract tourism.”

    So let me get this straight…the TMBCI wants ND to give them money so they can buy ND land (subject to ND taxes) and turn it into reservation land that ND will no longer be able to tax?

    That’s just dumb. (Even dumber if ND falls for it.)

  • Guest

    hey amber what did you say about the turtle mountain band of chippewa indians????