North Dakota tribe gains title to mineral rights under river

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota tribal nation has officially assumed ownership of mineral rights under the Missouri River, snatching the title back from the state in a dispute that has gone on for more than two centuries.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs filed notice in federal court on Monday that it recorded title to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation for 123 tracts of land.

That follows a February opinion by the interior solicitor in the Biden administration that said the mineral rights under the original Missouri River riverbed belong to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

That reversed a May 2020 Trump administration opinion concluding that the state is legal owner of submerged lands beneath the river where it flows through the Fort Berthold Reservation.