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Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota

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The Cass County Joint Water Board has begun condemnation proceedings on tribal land needed to build Maple River Dam. The band said it will not sell or let the board's archaeologists search for artifacts. The board will offer to buy the 1.4-acre parcel from the tribe for fair market value, believed to be about $500, said board attorney Steve McCullough. The price would include compensation for Enderlin farmer Roger Shea, who retains grazing rights. "If we don't hear back from them, or they say no, then we go to court,'' McCullough said. The dam, first discussed nearly two decades ago, would ease flooding for hundreds of people who live near Durbin, Mapleton and Harwood. Shea gave a piece of his family's land to the tribe in August in hopes of stopping the dam project. He received blankets and beads valued at $500 in return. Shea said the parcel is home to an Indian burial site, and would be flooded. After the exchange, the water board asked Shea and the tribe to let archaeologists on the land but were refused. The water board cannot get an Army Corps of Engineers permit to build the dam until archaeologists survey the site.

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