Yellow Bird ~ by Sierra Crane Murdoch

This is an important book and it’s very well written,  but the author should not have read it in her whispery, breathy soft voice.  This is true crime!  It’s not “no matter how bad they were, remember when your kids were young.”   Mama/author loves her characters.   (Keep reading below)


Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and aa Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country
by Sierra Crane Murdoch
2020 / 381 pages
read by author – 14h 56m
rating – Kindle 8.5 Audible – 3 (due to narrator) /True Crime 
(both read and listened) 

The book is important because what is happening on some Indian Reservations is abominable and the US government is either in collusion or ignoring it.  In some ways history is happening all over again – but instead of gold being found on Indian land,  this time it’s oil – again.  And as usual when there’s a lot of money around there’s corruption to the point of murder.  This time the place is western North Dakota on the Fort Berthold Reservation where fracking is legal.

How do dirt poor people who have been victimized for generations divide up millions of dollars when it suddenly crosses their paths?   Not very well in this case..


Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, North Dakota

A MAN ONCE TOLD ME a story of how he dug up the bones of his relatives and held them in his hands. He is an old man now; then, he was young. He said he took the job because there were no others on the reservation and because the work was easier if a man did not think too hard about whose bones he was handling.

It’s the story of a crime (many crimes really) at or near or involving the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in western North Dakota near the Bakken Oil fields.  As the state acquired the rights to drill and frack outsiders moved in and brought crime in various forms from white collar theft to drugs and violence.

Yellow Bird is the name of one family in the community and the author’s connection is revealed in the book – it’s not family, Murdoch is white..  She meets Lissa Yellow Bird and investigates the story mostly from Lissaa’s point of view but on her own a fair bit, too.

I kept listening because the story itself is compelling but at about 1/2 way I finally caved and bought the Kindle version and was quite happy with it.

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