Integrating Research and Education > Impacts on Native Lands > Fort Belknap

The Fort Belknap Reservation and Gold Mining

This page was written by Erin Klauk as part of the DLESE Community Services Project: Integrating Research in Education.

Seal of the Fort Belknap Nation. Details

The Zortman Landusky gold and silver mine is located just south of the Fort Belknap Reservation in the Little Rocky Mountains of north central Montana, home of the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes. This mine has released over a dozen cyanide spills causing extensive surface and groundwater contamination, including one spill that released 50,000 gallons of cyanide solution that contaminated a community drinking water supply. In 1998, the company filed for bankruptcy, leaving the state of Montana with $33 million in water treatment and reclamation costs (Westerners for Responsible Mining).

To get started, view pages, or follow the links below to pages that have been developed to illustrate the events that occurred on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation due to gold mining:

  • Geology and Physiography - Explore the geology and physiography of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation including geologic maps, the tectonic setting, bedrock, major structures and landforms.
  • Hydrology - Explore the surface water and groundwater quality and quantity on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
  • Climate and Biota - Explore the climate, flora and fauna of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
  • Cultural Heritage - Explore the culture of the Gros Ventre and the Assiniboine tribes including the traditional land and lifestyle, history and mode of living.
  • Gold Deposits - Explore resources about gold and gold deposits specific to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
  • Exploration and Development History - Explore the discovery history, extraction methods, and development and production history of gold mining on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
  • Environmental Impacts - Explore the impacts to air, land and water due to gold mining on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
  • Human Health Impacts - Explore the impacts on human health due to gold mining on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
  • Policy - Explore political issues related to gold mining on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

For ideas on how to use these webpages in a classroom, a Study Guide is provided.




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