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The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 turned federal Indian policies away from the paternalistic objectives of de-culturalization and assimilation. Tribal self-government was facilitated, and the people of Fort Berthold Reservation became a new political entity—the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation. The revival of traditional cultural values was encouraged. The federal Civilian Conservation Corps improved roads and schools. A bridge was built from Elbowoods to the south side of the Missouri River, and named in honor of two leaders, one Mandan, the other a Hidatsa, both called Four Bears.
The 1940's brought severe floods on the Missouri, followed by taxpayer demands that the government do something about the problem. The solution was to build a series of dams for flood control, irrigation and power generation. Over the objections of the Three Affiliated Tribes, the Corps of Engineers took 152,300 acres of their land for the reservoir to be impounded by Garrison Dam, thirty miles downstream from the southeast boundary of the Reservation.