Robert Gryder

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


The purpose of this study is to describe and explain the social disorganization and community upheaval of Native Americans in Elbowoods created by the construction of the Garrison Dam. The construction of the Garrison Dam in 1954, by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, was devastating not only for Fort Berthold Indian Reservation but also for Elbowoods. Flooding of the thousands of acres caused the residences of Elbowoods to give up farmland, natural shelter for human and cattle, family structure, community gardens, and a way of life that existed for thousands of years.

The data was collected by interviews, emphasizing qualitative analysis. Ten individuals who previously lived in the community of Elbowoods were the subjects for the interview. The questions consisted of personal experiences explaining how the dam changed the community and what affect the relocation had on individuals. Additional information came from newspapers, published reports, pictures, a video, and Congressional reports and hearings.

The theories guiding the research were social disorganization and a concept known as community theory. Community theory has been used to explain the function and importance of the conceptualization that community life provides to its residence. The theory of social disorganization provides the perspective of the drastic change in lifestyle that the community of Elbowoods experienced. The data collected provides evidence to enhance that history and also serves as a voice to those who were not heard. It reveals the attempts to cope and adapt to a “loss of community” that others have experienced.