White Earth Natural Resource Department


The White Earth Band of Ojibwe (Gaa-waababiganikaag), a sovereign nation, for the purpose of securing our rights and powers inherent in our Sovereign status as reinforced by the laws and the treaties with the United States is entrusted to protect the land base, the natural resources, treaty rights, and the culture and identity of our members.

It is the responsibility of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, as a sovereign nation, through reasonable regulations and management activities, to manage and protect the Reservation’s resources and environment by efficient and effective ways to insure that these resources and environment are managed and protected in a manner as to allow maximum usage while yet maintaining a population at a level capable of regeneration.

The Natural Resource Department was established to protect, manage and enhance the resources of the reservation. The department must coordinate activities and projects between state, federal and private agencies within the reservation boundaries.

The Natural Resource Department is responsible for the management and monitor of daily and yearly operations. The White Earth Reservation (located in Northwestern Minnesota) was established in 1867 by a treaty with the United States Government and the Mississippi Band of Ojibwe. Status as a Tribal Government provides the White Earth Reservation with broad powers, ensuring various immunities for the Tribe and its individual members. Powers include those of self-governance granted by the Indian Reorganization Act.  Immunities include the right to be free from State interference as well as other immunities afforded any other federal entity. All governmental powers of the White Earth Reservation are delegated through the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe’s Constitution.

The White Earth Reservation is named for the layer of white clay at White Earth Village. It was originally to be the home of all the Ojibwe in the state. The boundaries include 36 townships, or about 1,300 square miles.  Originally encompassing 1,300 square miles of white pine forests and resource-rich lands, the reservation was held in common trust among the Anishinaabe people of the Minnesota region. 

The White Earth Reservation encompasses all of Mahnomen County and portions of Becker and Clearwater Counties. The Reservation includes five incorporated cities and five major villages. The incorporated cities are the cities of Mahnomen (pop. 1,202), Waubun (pop. 403), Bejou (pop. 94), Ogema (pop. 143), and Callaway (pop. 200). The villages, which are predominately Native American, are: White Earth (pop. 424), Naytahwaush (pop. 583), Pine Point (pop. 337), Rice Lake (pop. 226) and Elbow Lake (pop. 104). According to the 2000 US Census 9,188 people live on the White Earth Reservation of which, 4,029 recognize themselves as American Indian. 

Department programs include: Conservation Officers, Wildlife, Fisheries, Wild Rice, Agriculture/Wetlands/Prairie Restorations, Land Management, Zoning, Cultural Resources/ Archives, Forestry, Pesticide Use/Emergency Management, Water Quality, and Environmental Affairs on the White Earth Indian Reservation. Others area that need to be address are tourism, trails, parks and recreation.

Coordinate activities and projects between state, federal and private agencies within the reservation boundaries.

Looks and explore off-reservation treaty rights.





Monica Hedstrom - Director of Natural Resources

P.O. Box 393, 216 North Main Street

Mahnomen, MN 56557

Phone#: 218.935.2488 Ext. 2101

Fax#: 218.935.2524

E-mail: Monica.Hedstrom@whiteearth-nsn.gov