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Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (Fort Berthold)

220 8th Ave. N.
P.O. Box 490
New Town , ND 58763


Mission, Vision, Educational Philosophy
Located in New Town, North Dakota,

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (NHSC) provides quality cultural, academic, and vocational education and services for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. Using this mission to guide its activities, the college works to enhance the quality of life, positive identities, and leadership of its students. NHSC further endeavors to develop its own financial strength and diversity as an institution, and become a leader among the tribal college movement.


The tribes founded NHSC on May 2, 1973, acting upon tribal concerns that the Three Affiliated Tribes needed a locally based college to train tribal members and to act as a positive influence in retaining the tribal culture. The first classes operated from one small, leaky trailer through articulation agreements with the University of Mary, Minot State College, and the University of North Dakota.

NHSC developed long-term strategic, sustainability and education plans that allowed it to expand its academic programs and services. The college received accreditation as a two-year institution in February 1988 from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2011, NHSC reached a significant milestone when the HLC awarded accreditation at the baccalaureate degree level for its four-year degree programs in Education, Environmental Science, and Native American Studies.

The college is also one of twenty-nine tribal colleges granted 1994 Land Grant Institution status.

Geographic Features and Challenges
Home to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation lies along the Missouri River in central North Dakota. The manmade reservoir, Lake Sakakawea, created when construction of the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River ended in 1953, roughly bisects the 1,300 square mile reservation.

New Town, the largest town on the reservation, serves as home to the college’s main campus. The college also supports two mentor sites, Mandaree to the southwest and White Shield to the southeast. From these mentor sites, students may take classes via distance learning.

Academics and Students
 NHSC offers seven Associate of Arts degree programs, six Associate of Science degree programs, seven Associate of Applied Science degree programs and fourteen vocational certificates programs to the nearly 250 students that enroll at the college each year.

NHSC students, 78 percent of whom pursue their studies full-time, come from the local community. In Fall 2009, Native American students made up 81 percent of total enrolled student body, mostly tribal members. While the student population reflects the tribal community it serves, it is non-traditional according to mainstream educational norms. For example, the average age of a NHSC student is 32 years and over half of all students matriculate to NHSC with a G.E.D.

NHSC, therefore, makes a concerted effort to employ Native faculty members to teach intensive college preparatory coursework in math, reading, and writing in addition to more academically rigorous classes. The college employs 25 full- and part-time faculty members, offering an average faculty-student ratio of 14:1.

Improved outcomes in recent years attest to the college’s success at reaching its students. From 2006 to 2010, the number of associate degrees awarded by NHSC increased from 14 to 23 respectively. In 2010, the college also awarded seven certificates to graduating students.

Other Outstanding Accomplishments
In 2006, 80 percent of respondents in a reservation-wide poll indicated they would be interested in pursuing a four-year degree at NHSC if the college offered such programs. The college responded by working steadfastly over the next five years to create three new bachelor’s degree programs in its initial transition from two-year community college to four-year institution.

These efforts came to fruition in 2011 with the accreditation of its Education, Environmental Science and Native American Studies bachelor’s degree programs.