Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country

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Random House Publishing Group, 2020 - Social Science - 400 pages
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The gripping true story of a murder on an Indian reservation, and the unforgettable Arikara woman who becomes obsessed with solving it--an urgent work of literary journalism.

"I don't know a more complicated, original protagonist in literature than Lissa Yellow Bird, or a more dogged reporter in American journalism than Sierra Crane Murdoch."--William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Barbarian Days

When Lissa Yellow Bird was released from prison in 2009, she found her home, the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, transformed by the Bakken oil boom. In her absence, the landscape had been altered beyond recognition, her tribal government swayed by corporate interests, and her community burdened by a surge in violence and addiction. Three years later, when Lissa learned that a young white oil worker, Kristopher "KC" Clarke, had disappeared from his reservation worksite, she became particularly concerned. No one knew where Clarke had gone, and few people were actively looking for him.

Yellow Bird traces Lissa's steps as she obsessively hunts for clues to Clarke's disappearance. She navigates two worlds--that of her own tribe, changed by its newfound wealth, and that of the non-Native oilmen, down on their luck, who have come to find work on the heels of the economic recession. Her pursuit of Clarke is also a pursuit of redemption, as Lissa atones for her own crimes and reckons with generations of trauma. Yellow Bird is an exquisitely written, masterfully reported story about a search for justice and a remarkable portrait of a complex woman who is smart, funny, eloquent, compassionate, and--when it serves her cause--manipulative. Drawing on eight years of immersive investigation, Sierra Crane Murdoch has produced a profound examination of the legacy of systematic violence inflicted on a tribal nation and a tale of extraordinary healing.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - muddyboy - LibraryThing

This is an exhaustively researched study centering on a missing man is a North Dakota fracking boom area and a Native American woman's attempt to solve the mystery of what happened to him. We learn a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - msf59 - LibraryThing

Lissa Yellow Bird was released from prison in 2009. When she arrived back on her reservation in North Dakota, she found it changed by the Bakken oil boom. When a white oil worker turns up missing, she ... Read full review

Contents

Map of North Dakota and Fort Berthold Indian Reservation
5
The Brightest Yellow Bird
9
Missing
39
Oil Kings
61
The Great Mystery
79
What Good Is Money iſ You End Up in Hell
109
The Flyer
131
The Church
148
Confessions
224
Bust
249
Us Against the World
251
The Badlands
283
Trial
304
The Body
325
Shauna
332
What They Say We Loved
346

What She Broke
160
Sarah
176
The Search
188
The Gunman
209
Authors Note
363
Works Consulted
373
Acknowledgments
377
Copyright

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About the author (2020)

Sierra Crane Murdoch, a journalist based in the American West, has written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker online, Virginia Quarterly Review, Orion, and High Country News. She has held fellowships from Middlebury College and from the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a MacDowell Fellow.

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