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Leaders - Three Affiliated Tribes - Contemporary Tribal Leaders, 1968 - Present

Traditional | Contemporary

Intro | 1936 - 1960 | 1960 - 1986 | 1968 - Present

Contemporary Tribal Leaders, 1968 - Present

EDWARD LONE FIGHT (Sakaka Sake) Good Bird

Hidatsa/Mandan/Arikara, 1986–1990

Edward Lone Fight, chairman

Edward Lone Fight was born on May 28, 1939 to Maybelle Good Bird and Theodore Lone Fight. Theodore Lone Fight is a descendant of the Four Bear (Mandan). His paternal grandmother is Mary Young Bird Lone Fight. He is the grandson of Edward Good Bird and is a great grandson of Buffalo Bird Woman.

Edward graduated from Mandaree High School as salutatorian in 1959. He attended Dickinson State University and graduated with a Bachelors of Science with a double major in science and physical education. He was admitted to the Dickinson State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. He received a Masters Degrees in Education from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona and a Masters in Public Administration from Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.

His career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs extends over twenty years. During his years with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, he served in various capacities in Fort Yates, North Dakota; Phoenix, Arizona; Salem, Oregon; Anadarko, Oklahoma; and Washington, D.C. He was appointed by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior to serve on a national Indian School Equalization Fund Task Force, the purpose of which was to devise an equitable funding formula for all BIA funded schools nationwide.

In 1986, he was elected chairperson of the Three Affiliated Tribes. Accomplishments of his administration include repatriation, establishment of tribal services including the funding of a dialysis center, diabetes program, solid waste disposal system for the reservation, funding for the creation of Mandaree Electronics, and LCM (Lumber, Construction, and Manufacturing) Co. It was under his administration that final negotiations were concluded and the Just Compensation Bill was introduced based on the findings of the Joint Tribal Advisory Committee (JTAC) for lands taken under the Garrison Diversion Project. From 1994–1998 he served as tribal program’s manager for the Three Affiliated Tribes. He retired as Superintendent at Mandaree School, Mandaree, North Dakota in the spring of 2000. He is currently living in Billings, Montana.


Sahnish/Hidatsa, 1990–1994

Wilbur Wilkinson, chairman

Wilbur Wilkinson was born on October 12, 1948 to Ernest and Molly Wolf Wilkinson. He is a descendant of Spotted Tail and Wolf Lies Down. His fraternal grandfather was Mahlon Wilkinson, the first permanent Indian agent at Fort Berthold. He is a member of the Flint Knife Clan, three Clans, and four Clans.

He attended Haskell Junior College (now Haskell Indian Nations University); Northeastern University at Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and the University of Oklahoma, Norman. He was employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs at New Town, North Dakota as credit officer, contract specialist at Sisseton, and administrative officer and superintendent at the Crow Creek Reservation, South Dakota. He was also administrative manager of the Tohono Oo’dham Nation at Sells, and superintendent at Tuba City and assistant area director of Window Rock Agency, Window Rock, all in Arizona.

He was elected to the Tribal Business Council in 1990 and served as chairman of the tribe through 1994.


Hidatsa/Mandan/Sahnish, 1994–1998

Russell Mason, chairman

Russell “Buddy” Mason was born in Elbowoods in 1936, the son of Cecelia Mason Brown and Victor Mason. He was given the name of “Buffalo Boy” by his grandfather, William Deane. He attended Elbowoods elementary and high school and graduated from New Town High School, New Town, North Dakota.

Russell Mason joined the Armed Services in 1955, and was honorably discharged in 1959. He became involved in alcoholism treatment and prevention initiatives with Native Americans while attending the University of Iowa and Black Hills State College. He became the first Native American formally trained and certified in the field of alcohol and drug abuse.

In the 1970, under the aegis of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, he developed a national alcoholism awareness initiative, the intent of which was the development of drug and alcohol abuse and prevention programs for tribes and tribal entities. He served as the interagency liaison for the Commissioner of Indian Affairs on alcohol and drug abuse issues.

In 1978, he was appointed by the Director of Indian Health Services to develop and direct the Indian Health Services National Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Programs. During his tenure, he worked with Congress on the development of major legislation relating to national and state Indian alcohol abuse initiatives. He received several awards from the Department of Health and Human Services for exceptional performance for his contributions to the alcohol and drug abuse prevention field.

He returned to the Fort Berthold Reservation in 1992. Encouraged to seek office, he was elected to the Tribal Business Council in 1994 representing the New Town District. He served as tribal chairman on a platform to reestablish credibility in tribal government and to recreate a government that was more effective, accountable, and acceptable by the enrolled members of the Three Affiliated Tribes, a philosophy, he believed, could be translated into improved services for the tribe. During his administration, he returned financial stability to tribal government and instituted fiscally sound accountability measures within tribal government.

His extra leadership activities included serving as vice-president of the National Congress of American Indians, chairman of the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairman’s Health Board, and chairman of the United Tribes Board of Directors. (Russell Mason. Personal communication, September 1995 and November 1998) Russell “Buddy” Mason died at Parshall, North Dakota on January 14, 2009.

TEX G. HALL “Red Tipped Arrow (Ihbudah Hishi)

Hidatsa, 1998–2006

Tex G. Hall, chairman

Tex G. Hall, was born on September 18, 1956 to Leland Hall Sr. and the late Audrey Rabbithead Hall. His higher education includes a B.A. from the University of Mary, Bismarck, North Dakota, a M.A. from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota, and 80 hours toward a Doctorate from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota.

Before entering politics, he was a cattle and buffalo rancher. He was also superintendent and principal of Mandaree School from1985 to 1996. In 1995, he was awarded North Dakota Indian Educator of the Year, by the North Dakota Indian Education Association.

He was elected to the Tribal Business Council, West Segment Representative—1996 to 1998. In 1998, he was elected as Chairman for Three Affiliated Tribes in a 1998 precedent-setting election. This was the first time in the history of the tribe a sitting council representative was elected to the Chairmanship.

He has served on numerous boards including being unanimously re-elected for a second term of the Great Plains Regional Tribal Chairman’s Association (a 16 member tribal organization composed of the elected chairs and presidents of the tribes in the Great Plains Region)—1998–2000; Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Directors, United Tribes Technical College; member Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairman’s Health Board; delegate—National Indian Health Care Steering Committee assisting in the development of the budget for the Indian Health Care Improvement Act—1999; co-chair of National Tribal leaders Land into Trust, Tribal Task Force; and co-chair of National Tribal BIA Budget Task Force creating a Special Funding initiative for Indian Tribes of $7.4 Billion for 2001 Budget.

More recently, he chaired a May 12, 1999 meeting with President Clinton and Great Plains Tribes at the White House on Indian Treaty Issues, and co-chaired the Indigenous Summit of the Americas, March 2001 in Ottawa, Canada. In January of 2000, he was elected Chairman of Twin Buttes Custom Homes, Board of Directors and elected Chairman of Native American Bancorporation, April 26, 2000.

He was inducted into the North Dakota Sports College Hall of Fame in April of 1999. He has created Lifeways Village, a non-profit company for advancing economic development in Mandaree community. On November 30, 2001, he was elected to serve as president of the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest Indian Organization in the country.

MARCUS LEVINGS Ee-Ba-Da-Gish or Bald Eagle

Hidatsa, November 2006–present

Marcus Levings is from the Knife Clan which is a part of the Three-Clan people of the Hidatsa. He is a blood descendant of all Three Tribes: the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara. He is the son of Marcus Wells, Sr. and Rezilda (Brady) Wells. His maternal grandparents are the late Carrie Driver-Brady and the late Glen Fox. His paternal grandparents are the late Adele (Levings) Wells and the late William Wells, Sr. Wells also carries the traditional Hidatsa name of “Mo-zah,” which translates in the English language to “Coyote.”

Wells successfully campaigned for the position of Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman during the Tribal General Elections held November 7, 2006, defeating his opponent by 233 votes. Wells said he believed it was time for a change that major changes in a positive direction needed to happen to insure the survival of the tribal people as a sovereign (self-governing) Three Affiliated Tribes.

Wells is a proud husband to Alvina (Crows Heart) Wells and is also the proud father of Dominick, Shawna, Alyssa, Mariah, and Marc William. Wells is a 1984 graduate from New Town High School, in New Town, North Dakota, and also graduated from Bismarck State College in 1986 with an associate’s degree in Business Administration. In 1988, he completed his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance from Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota, and in May 2002 obtained his master’s degree from the University of Mary, Master’s in Management program.

Chairman Wells in coordination with the Tribal Business Council has outlined five major priorities for the Three Tribes and include: (1) a proposed health care facility project, (2) a return of the lakeshore (24,000 acres) from the U.S. Corps of Engineers, (3) a federal trust responsibility—To date the federal government’s responsibility since 1998 to the Three Tribes totals $26.3 million, (4) Fort Berthold rural water, and (5) a proposed Fort Berthold oil refinery. (www.mhanation.com, 2009)

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