Whether it’s a few days old or centuries-old, preserving history at any cost is important as it tells the story of the past, present and future.
The MHA Nation is doing just that with a new state of the art facility.
Just west of Lake Sakakawea stands a new multimillion-dollar piece of infrastructure: the MHA Interpretive Center.
“This has been a dream for our tribe for many years and just to be sitting in this facility today, it just brings tears to my eyes,” Delphine Baker said.
Baker, the appointed director of the facility, was joined by dozens of people from in and around the community as they celebrated the grand opening to history.
“We want to get different artifacts back. Like they have our Chief Four Bears robe that he gave to Prince Maximilian and that robe is in Germany and now we finally have a facility that can house something like that,” she said.
The MHA Interpretive Center is the first of its kind on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.
It will help preserve, showcase and collect artifacts, relics and sacred items.
“We have our exhibit space and it tells our story from the beginning until today and when you first walk in we have a video in there of three young tribal members men in there walking up and they’re greeting you in the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara language,” Baker explained.
The place is filled with interactive things like a gift shop, coffee shop, amphitheater and a recording studio.
“If a tribal member comes through and they remember a story their grandma or grandpa told them and we don’t want to lose that, they don’t want to lose that story and they want to try to keep it, then they can go in there and record that story,” Baker said.
Newly hired staff, like Mykal Drosdal and Michael Barthelemy, are both pleased with the new home for MHA history.
“As somebody who’s working within the archives, this is an opportunity for us to really create a knowledge hub, and to really create an archive from the ground up is an incredible honor for our people,” Barthelemy said.
“There’s so many things around the world that’s ours, but it’s not home. So, my thing is I can’t wait to bring our artifacts and everything and make them feel at home because they now have a place here,” Drosdal said.
Baker says although it’s taken 18 years to bring the center to fruition, it was well worth the wait.
“I want our tribal members to come. I want all our school kids to come. I want them to be able to come here, go through the exhibit, and learn about who they are, where they come from, and this is who they need to be proud of,” she said.
The new MHA Interpretive Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can also check it out on Facebook as well, click here.