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Tribal chairman discusses land transfer with corps official 7-07

NEW TOWN, N.D. (AP) - The chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes says the transfer of land along the Missouri River to the tribes would mean spiritual healing, not just land.

Chairman Marcus Wells Jr., met with John Woodley Jr., assistant secretary of the Army's Office of Civil Works, on Wednesday to discuss the return of 24,000 acres of land no longer needed for the operation of the Garrison Dam. The tribes lost the land when the dam was built more than 50 years ago.

"It was our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who were the most impacted by the flooding of the Garrison Dam," Wells said. "The return of the lake shore lands will be a start in the healing process for the devastating loss suffered by our tribal members when their homelands were flooded."

The corps has been discussing the transfer. Woodley and others were traveling July 13, and not available for comment.

State officials said they opposed the original plan and wanted Congress to deal with such issues as land access and weed control. The U.S. Interior Department would hold the land in trust for the tribes, under the proposal.

Woodley came to the reservation as part of his visit to major sites along the Missouri River.
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