The stories Jason Morsette tells aren’t found on websites, social media or television stations. The stories told by the descendent of Dakota Sioux, Arikara and Hidatsa ancestors are passed down through generations, many of them orally.

Jason, who shares his stories with visitors to the Fort Berthold Reservation, does so to keep the history of his ancestors and his culture alive. He loves answering questions and telling stories.

“The dumbest question is one that is not asked,” Jason said. “If you really want to know something, and it’s important, you’ll find a way to obtain the knowledge. It’s a passed-down tradition. I have this knowledge from what my father passed on, and from family members.”

Visitors can arrange to meet Jason at the Earthlodge Village in New Town, where he explains the lodges, the gardens and the importance of the lake to the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara).

He does so with an understanding not only of his own culture, but of others as well.

“Being able to understand all cultures is important,” Jason said. “It’s breaking a barrier of cultural acceptance. The non-Native world has traditions and culture, too, and we have to be open to what they have to offer.”

Jason Morsette, left, keeps the history of his culture alive by telling its stories to visitors at the Fort Berthold Reservation. Courtesy Ben Gumeringer

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