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

Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian CountryThe 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 Complicated, Original Protagonist In Literature Than Lissa Yellow Bird, Or A Dogged Reporter In American Journalism Than Sierra Crane Murdoch William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Of Barbarian DaysWhen Lissa Yellow Bird Was Released From Prison In , 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 Indian Country and the oil fields of North Dakota are two places quality journalism has feared to tread When they are the same place, even so Yellow Bird is a look at both the historical traumas of the Fort Berthold Reservation and the current and ongoing devastation caused by the oil boom told through the life of Lissa Yellow Bird Chase Like Lissa, I m also a member of the MHA Nation at Fort Berthold and while Lissa s life is her own, the traumas are widespread and shared among the Native People of Fort Berthold we ve all lost somebody or something dear in what i consider the fifth in a string of calamitous traumas at Fort Berthold European contact, disease smallpox , reservation confinement, flooding by the Garrison dam being the first four Visitors to Fort Berthold often joke, it s not the end of the world, but you can see it from here To us locals, it s a sacred place, previously quiet high plains and badlands full of resilience and tranquility I can attest that Sierra Crane Murdoch spent many years in preparation for this story, travelling throughout the reservation, living with and speaking with tribal citizens, attending tribal council meetings, picking at, probing, shaking people out of the don t ask, don t tell code that the oil industry and local governments prefer Read this book with eyes, minds and hearts wide open. I was really looking forward to reading this book.Having grown up in Indian Country, I was eager to read about the murder, the oil, and the reservation.I got half way through this book before deciding that I could NOT keep propping my eyelids open to read this.First, Lissa is the main focus of this book.NOT the murder victim KC.Second, I am got so tired and BORED of hearing of Lissa s horrible job as a mother and as a drug addict IT dominated everything.I completely understand if this was a book about how to ruin your life and your children s life with drugs but it is NOT Third, I needed yearned to know about KC, his life before the oil fields of North Dakota Why didn t he speak to his mom for months.why did he consider his grandfather his best friend Half way through the book.we still don t know much about KC.Overall, this book is too long winded, a lot to do about Lissa, and not enough about the oil fields and the disappearance of KC. The land of the Dakotas has ever been altered by man first by immigrating settlers, followed by self serving dams and its consequent floods, lately though it is by the Bakken oil boom where once again men have arrived in the thrall of riches Lissa Yellow Bird, a member of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation as well as a mother with OCD and a rap sheet in flux with the tradition of the Sun Dance and Native culture, strives for justice in the disappearance of oil worker Kristopher Clarke Yellow Bird is deft writing and illuminating revelations melded to surpass race and the human condition.More than a true crime novel, Yellow Bird is about the growth of Lissa as an individual owning who and what she is but ultimately it is of the injustice to the Native American and how that betrayal in turn fails everyone, Kristopher Clarke included. Disclaimer I have received a copy of this book from the publisher in return of my unbiased opinion and review.Books on investigative journalism are always fun and gripping to read This book is no different The story of this book is multifaceted in that it involves one woman s relentless efforts to find out about a missing person on Indian reservation while at the same time the author takes us through the oil boom on reservations and how it impacted the lives of people living there and the way the boom brought in array of bad things such as violence, drugs, and greed influencing every aspect of lives of those living there To what extent people droop to satisfy their greed for money and power involving stealing from their own tribes to engaging in morally and ethically questionable things to murders is what this book is about It reads like a murder mystery and is a page turner Long book but certainly an eye opener. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest review of this book In Yellow Bird, Murdoch recounts the story of Lissa Yellow Bird a forty something Native woman, mother and recovering drug addict who gets pulled into the search for a white oil worker, KC, who goes missing from the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota in 2012 Lissa s drive to find KC, a man she doesn t know outpaces that of investigators, as well as KC s own friends and family Her relentlessness confounds her own family, their bond already strained by Lissa s past drug addiction and incarceration While the KC Clarke case is the glue that holds this book together, readers looking for a straight forward crime story will be surprised and perhaps disappointing by the contents of this books Rather than sensationalizing the crime, Murdoch seeks to understand the case in its broader context Because of this, the reservation KC disappears from becomes a character in its own right, as much a presence in this narrative as Lissa or KC Clarke Before 2006, most of the reservation s budget came from the federal government and its residences were plagued by poverty When oil company s come calling, it seems like a golden opportunity for the tribe to finally amass wealth and end it s dependence on the oft unreliable U.S government For a time, things are good, but almost no one foresees the wide ranging consequences that the oil boom will have a legacy of violence and addiction Before its end, the boom will challenge the very cultural foundations of the tribe In this way, KC Clarke s disappearance represents than a single crime, but a major shifting point on the reservation but the moment when the tribe s dream of a new future begins to disintegrate.Told in the first person but maintaining journalistic distance, Yellow Bird was a bold exploration of bureaucracy, greed, family, and inter generational trauma all told through the story of one woman s determination to solve a case and, in the process, right some of her own past mistakes Full disclosure, it s not a quick read, and at times, readers may find themselves frustrated with the glacial pace at which answers are revealed Despite this, however, I found myself invested because how Murdoch was able to shed light on the inner workings of Lissa s mind, her family, and the larger tribe I recommend this book for those who appreciate a story steeped with history and social commentary just as much, if not , than stories about crime 3.5 stars. This is a preliminary review, subject to future updating I m still working my way through this book It s a good and interesting book, but it s a very slow read, at least for me I think the problem is that it s filled with lots of extraneous details Over and over, I ve seen references to where this town or that town is located Where this gray building is, or that gray house Where this edge or that edge of the reservation lies How far it is from one town to another So far, at least, none of that adds anything to the book Since I m reading an ARC, there s no map, so there s no help in figuring out why any of that information might be important Don t get me wrong I m enjoying the book, but reading it is accomplished at a snail s pace I keep hoping that it will pick up, that those unnecessary details will fade into the background, but so far they haven t This would be a great textbook to teach morals to those in the petroleum industry, or for students who hope to go into that industry It s not a light read.I m not marking this DNF, I will persevere in reading this book, but I don t expect to finish it anytime soon When I do finish it, I will update this review.I received an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway I thank thank them, the publisher, and the author for their generosity in sharing this book, but it had no effect on my review All opinions in this review express my true and honest opinion of this book. The book is interesting enough but excruciatingly slow It focuses heavily on Lissa, the woman who obsessively searches for a missing person It is almost like a biography of sorts which annoyed me because I thought the book was going to be mostly about the oil boom on the reservation and the missing person Her kids, their different fathers, her mother, her grandmother, her siblings, every town she visited, on and on and on At least half of the book focuses on every detail of her past and present life The book also seemed very repetitive It wasn t going anywhere The story itself was interesting but the book just didn t convey the story in an interesting, coherent manner It was often times hard to keep track of everyone At times, it was way too detailed about people or side stories that really didn t have anything to do with the overall oil boom and or missing person Thank you goodreads and random house marketing for the advance copy through the goodreads giveaway program. In Yellow Bird, Sierra Crane Murdoch, details how Lissa Yellow Bird, an Indigenous woman with a troubled past and hard life, has become quite adept when it comes to solving missing person cases In Yellow Bird, a man employed by questionable employers exploiting natural resources on Native American property disappears and is said to have left the area voluntarily, while Lissa Yellow Bird and others believe his disappearance has not been voluntary The background of Lissa Yellow Bird involves substance addictions, time as a sex worker and periods of incarceration, but through her dogged investigation of the disappearance of the worker, Lissa Yellow Bird is able to force criminal investigators to investigate what happened to the missing man.The book explores the historical exploitation of Native peoples from the past to the present, especially during an episode of what should be an economic boom with benefits to the rightful people, instead of further exploitation that involves theft, fraud, and murder.Criticism of the book includes tighter editing and reduction of pages and redundant material may have resulted in a modern true crime classic. Note I read listened to this book in audio format, so certain parts of the review deal specifically with that.I want to start out by saying that this book is excellent While it deals with crime, it is not just a true crime story It talks about history, about the personal experiences of the main participants in the story, but it is not just a work of history or biography It is all of these and.The narrative follows the life and investigative pursuits of one Arikra Native American woman, Lissa Yellow Bird Lissa puts to use her diverse talents and background in trying to get to the bottom of a missing person case involving a young white oil worker who disappeared from the reservation in the midst of the oil boom Lissa s resourcefulness and considerable creativity aid her in looking for the truth about this man s fate, even though she has no personal stake in the case and did not know the man or his family What she uncovers is like a spiderweb underlying the inner workings of the businesses, local officials, and the individuals brought together by circumstance.Through the stories and experiences of Lissa, her family, and members of the three tribes that share the reservation, the book addresses over arching issues, including the stamp of colonization and intergenerational trauma, poverty and economic stratification, the effects of drugs and alcohol, the role of combat PTSD, suicide, and other mental health issues, and the complexities of law enforcement agencies and their jurisdiction over and relationship with different parts of a community.The author herself reads the title, which not every writer can do effectively However, I think that in this case the use of a professional voice actor would have detracted from the narration Ms Murdoch immersed herself in the community in order to listen to as many voices and absorb as much information as possible, and her earnest reading of the resulting text is quite fitting Lest anyone feel that the author has overstepped by telling a part of the story of an Indigenous woman and her community, she addresses this in the afterword and discusses her methods of research and writing, as well as the heavily collaborative process of editing and rewriting with the help of Ms Yellow Bird She acknowledges the flaws of attempting to tell a story as an outsider What she has written is well worth reading and listening to, and I would highly recommend this book.

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  • Hardcover
  • 400 pages
  • Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country
  • Sierra Crane Murdoch
  • English
  • 21 March 2018
  • 9780399589157

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