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

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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 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.


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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 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.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    I’m torn on how I feel about this book. For what I was expecting, it’s kind of a let down, but for what it ended up being, it’s pretty well-done. Based off of the title, I knew at least part of the story would be framed around “one woman’s search for justice in Indian country”, but for some reason I assumed that woman was the author. It’s not; the author, Sierra Crane Murdoch, is a reporter who frequently followed stories on a reservation in North Dakota. The actual subject is a woman named Liss I’m torn on how I feel about this book. For what I was expecting, it’s kind of a let down, but for what it ended up being, it’s pretty well-done. Based off of the title, I knew at least part of the story would be framed around “one woman’s search for justice in Indian country”, but for some reason I assumed that woman was the author. It’s not; the author, Sierra Crane Murdoch, is a reporter who frequently followed stories on a reservation in North Dakota. The actual subject is a woman named Lissa Yellow Bird, who ends up entrenching herself in an amateur investigation into the disappearance of a man working on the local oil fields. While Lissa is investigating an actual crime, I think fans of the True Crime genre will be disappointed with this work. You can tell Murdoch is endlessly interested in this woman and her life and heritage, but the book wasn’t packaged as a biography. I’d say about half of the content is the Yellow Bird family’s genealogy and history, in conjunction with backstory about the many, many injustices put upon the tribal members over several centuries. I’m interested in those topics, but I don’t think they relate to the narrative being relayed here. If there’s a relevant story or facts, then sure I’ll take it, but an information dump ends up being a disservice to each respective account. If Lissa Yellow Bird had written this book, I think a lot more time would have been spent focused on the crime. She was obsessed with the disappearance of Kristopher ‘KC’ Clarke and he becomes the sole focus of her life. Murdoch is more interested in Yellow Bird, who admittedly is has had a fascinating and difficult journey, but draws too much of the author’s attention away from the man who was killed. It could border on reductive the way Lissa and tribal politics become the focus of another person’s death. But Murdoch is an excellent writer and reporter, so I do feel like I’m not being fair by grading her based on my expectations not being met in the way I anticipated. I guess I still would give this book three stars as a True Crime book, but as a ‘True Life’ story probably more like four. It could have been edited down some, and I think a lot of people reading this will end up skimming portions. *Thanks to Random House & Netgalley for an advance copy!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    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 sub 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jen Juenke

    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 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 more 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Creager

    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. Yello 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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    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 pre 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Bendtsen

    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 r 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 more 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 more, than stories about crime. 3.5 stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    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 moreso. 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 Nativ 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 moreso. 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ellen Anaka

    I have to be honest. I had a very hard time getting into this book. I felt that it was too bogged down with repetative information. This book was slow and tedious. I found myself skipping some of the book, just to get on with it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy Ingalls

    I won this book in a giveaway. This is a hard book to rate. I was going to give it 2 stars, because I found it really slow at times, but I can appreciate the amount of research that went into it and bumped it up to 3. I expected a true crime book and at times found myself getting frustrated. I felt like the victim, KC, was often put on the backburner. Although the search for his body and his killer was the lens through which this book was written, it often felt more like Lissa's story. The long-te I won this book in a giveaway. This is a hard book to rate. I was going to give it 2 stars, because I found it really slow at times, but I can appreciate the amount of research that went into it and bumped it up to 3. I expected a true crime book and at times found myself getting frustrated. I felt like the victim, KC, was often put on the backburner. Although the search for his body and his killer was the lens through which this book was written, it often felt more like Lissa's story. The long-term effects of the social and cultural injustices done to the Native Americans in this country is a terrible legacy and there are plenty of books worth reading on this subject. The same goes for the effects of poverty and drug-use on families. I understand the need for background on Lissa and life on the reservation, but I don't feel it was balanced and the was not enough background on the actual victim. The book is well-written but I think Sierra Crane Murdoch got caught up in her fascination with Lissa and so we never learn about KC Clarke. (Elle Rudy has written a review that says exactly what I felt reading this book and I am trying not to repeat her thoughts. I had to mention her review, though, because it is so spot-on with my feelings.)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenny GB

    I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you! Yellow Bird tells the story of Lissa Yellow Bird's search for a missing young man on the reservation. It also intimately tells Lissa's own history and why she's drawn now to search for missing people. Finally, the book explains the bigger story of the reservation's oil boom and bust and the effect it has on the community as a whole. The author weaves all these stories together to illuminate one remarkable woman and her pa I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you! Yellow Bird tells the story of Lissa Yellow Bird's search for a missing young man on the reservation. It also intimately tells Lissa's own history and why she's drawn now to search for missing people. Finally, the book explains the bigger story of the reservation's oil boom and bust and the effect it has on the community as a whole. The author weaves all these stories together to illuminate one remarkable woman and her passionate pursuit of justice for people that would otherwise be forgotten. This book in incredibly intimate about the highs and lows of Lissa's life and it makes for some very compelling reading. Her involvement in the case of the young man's disappearance is both entertaining and unsettling as she manipulates and befriends her way to information. Ultimately, the case comes to trial and some sort of justice is served, but the man is missing forever and there's a lot of unanswered questions. I found the shifts in perspective and time disorienting in the book. I lost track of past and present frequently throughout the book when the timeline of events wasn't clear. I wasn't really interested in the true crime aspects of the book, but I did enjoy reading about Lissa's search and her history.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    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 more. The narrative follows the life and investigative pursuits of one Arikra Native American woman, 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 more. 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.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Darian Hailes

    Yellow Bird does a fantastic job of setting the scene of the indigenous experience that the MHA Nation has lived with for many years in North Dakota. The author helps those of us that are not from areas where tribal strife is prevalent understand the disconnect between a person going missing on a reservation and someone going missing off reservation. The process is not easy and because of historical dealings, many Indigenous people do not have the means or time to set up a search party. Some fee Yellow Bird does a fantastic job of setting the scene of the indigenous experience that the MHA Nation has lived with for many years in North Dakota. The author helps those of us that are not from areas where tribal strife is prevalent understand the disconnect between a person going missing on a reservation and someone going missing off reservation. The process is not easy and because of historical dealings, many Indigenous people do not have the means or time to set up a search party. Some feel that off reservation issues are not their problem as many people are barely making ends meet. When the intricacies of tribal law enforcement’s reach as well as the politicking that comes with oil money and business are added, the story makes perfect sense. I would have liked for the Author’s Note to be at the beginning of the book as some of the things I was concerned about are thoroughly addressed here. This would have allowed me to appreciate the book more fully rather than waiting until the end to realize that the author had already taken my concerns into account. I appreciate that the book has a thorough Reference section, which I will be reading from in the future. I think this book would be fantastic for a Native American studies class, a general history class and a law enforcement class. Depending on the scope taken, readers could get a lot of content out of this book. I enjoyed reading it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Keeley

    While ostensibly a true crime story about the murder of an oil worker, Yellow Bird is much broader than that. The story centers on Lissa Yellow Bird, who has lived about 50 lives during her time on earth, and is someone that doesn't give up once she's focused on something. I love her. She starts her own investigation into a local missing oil worker, to the chagrin of pretty much everyone, including her own family who hasn't totally forgiven her for her rough past. A lot of the book focuses on Li While ostensibly a true crime story about the murder of an oil worker, Yellow Bird is much broader than that. The story centers on Lissa Yellow Bird, who has lived about 50 lives during her time on earth, and is someone that doesn't give up once she's focused on something. I love her. She starts her own investigation into a local missing oil worker, to the chagrin of pretty much everyone, including her own family who hasn't totally forgiven her for her rough past. A lot of the book focuses on Lissa's family and the generational trauma they have endured as tribal members. Some readers might be disappointed that this is really not a fast-paced murder mystery, but I welcomed the chance to learn about the often horrifying history of Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota and the effect that government policies and shady oil deals have had on American Indians. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Yellow Bird, written by a white, investigative journalist, tells the true story of one native woman’s obsessive search for a white oil worker who went missing on the Fort Berthold Indian reservation in North Dakota. It is packed full of Lissa Yellow Bird’s life, the struggles she’s faced, and her hunt to find Kristopher “KC” Clarke. It showcases a multitude of times that the US government valued wealth over indigenous lives, portraying the hardships tribal members were forced to face throughout Yellow Bird, written by a white, investigative journalist, tells the true story of one native woman’s obsessive search for a white oil worker who went missing on the Fort Berthold Indian reservation in North Dakota. It is packed full of Lissa Yellow Bird’s life, the struggles she’s faced, and her hunt to find Kristopher “KC” Clarke. It showcases a multitude of times that the US government valued wealth over indigenous lives, portraying the hardships tribal members were forced to face throughout history. How greed and corporate swaying transformed the tribe. It is a book about finding justice, surviving addiction, and healing. The book can be slow at times, but I was pulled into her life on the reservation and off of it. How she coped with her life choices as an addict and turned around to find others and give hope to those that lost it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bimal Patel

    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 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.

  16. 4 out of 5

    SS

    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 o 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Angela Williamson

    Lissa Yellow Bird had a hard life and trouble past. After being released from prison she return to find her reservation taaken over by oil companies during the Bakken Oil boom. When a young oil worker disappears, Lissa works to find out where he was and if he was dead or alive. Lissa is an interesting woman who was unhappy with what the oil companies turned her reservation into. I found the book to be a little slow with too much background about some of the minor characters in the story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Mckinney

    Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to read this ARC! In "Yellow Bird" Sierra Crane Murdoch follows in the footsteps of books like "Highway of Tears" (McDiarmid) and "Red River Girl" (Jolly) in looking at the intersection of tribal life and crime. Her book is partly a history of U.S. relations with Native Americans, partly a look at the discovery and boom-bust cycle of oil on tribal lands, partly an investigation of how poverty and crime have had a disproportionate impact on Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to read this ARC! In "Yellow Bird" Sierra Crane Murdoch follows in the footsteps of books like "Highway of Tears" (McDiarmid) and "Red River Girl" (Jolly) in looking at the intersection of tribal life and crime. Her book is partly a history of U.S. relations with Native Americans, partly a look at the discovery and boom-bust cycle of oil on tribal lands, partly an investigation of how poverty and crime have had a disproportionate impact on indigenous peoples, and partly a look at the disappearance of an oil worker, Kristopher Clarke. Depending on your interests as a reader, not every part will hold equal fascination for you, but I can predict that you will be cheering for Lissa Yellow Bird as she tries to overcome her past, navigate her tribe's present and its relation to newfound, oil-based wealth, and solve Clarke's disappearance. Works like this one remind us of historical problems still affecting the U.S. (our treatment of Native Americans) and present struggles we need to overcome (poverty, addiction). A necessary work of journalism!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Cobb Sabatini

    I won an Advance Uncorrected Proof of Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch from Goodreads. Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch is many books in one. It is the story of one woman's life and also the story of her family and of her people. It is a book about greed and justice, transgression and redemption, loss and purpose. Through her reporting on the investigation of the I won an Advance Uncorrected Proof of Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch from Goodreads. Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch is many books in one. It is the story of one woman's life and also the story of her family and of her people. It is a book about greed and justice, transgression and redemption, loss and purpose. Through her reporting on the investigation of the crime of murder and her telling of Lissa Yellow Bird's reformation and dedication to finding a missing young man, Murdoch reveals the great divide between poverty and wealth, and the effects of both in individuals and communities. The book also explores the tolls taken on the land and communities by the oil industry as well as the U.S. government's history with and treatment of Native Americans. Part murder mystery, part history lesson, and part redemption story, Yellow Bird by Sierra Crane Murdoch is a compelling read and an unforgettable story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Coffey

    I got this book as a Goodreads giveaway, so thank you to Goodreads and to the publisher for allowing me the chance to review it ahead of the release. The book wasn't necessarily "bad," but I'm giving it two stars because it could have been way shorter and it didn't keep my interest after the first 100 pages (although I stuck it out and finished it). This book is not for the faint of heart: lots of names, dates, and events that kind of jump around. Interwoven into the true crime aspect is the stor I got this book as a Goodreads giveaway, so thank you to Goodreads and to the publisher for allowing me the chance to review it ahead of the release. The book wasn't necessarily "bad," but I'm giving it two stars because it could have been way shorter and it didn't keep my interest after the first 100 pages (although I stuck it out and finished it). This book is not for the faint of heart: lots of names, dates, and events that kind of jump around. Interwoven into the true crime aspect is the story of Lissa Yellow Bird and her interest in searching for missing persons (specifically KC Clarke) on the Fort Bethold reservation in North Dakota. It also contains information about social problems among Native Americans and the oil boom in the Dakotas. All of these subjects are interesting to me, but I feel the execution could have been done in a way that may have kept me more engaged.

  21. 5 out of 5

    MaryKaye

    I can see why it took the author seven years to write this book. It is a lot of information to absorb and to keep the timeline in order. It is a slow read. The book is about a Native American woman named Lissa. She has a checkered past with drugs, prison, etc. But she alone, remains defiant that she is going to find out who murdered KC in the oil fields of North Dakota. If you can keep up with all the relatives and Lissa moving around to different states and cities you will find this book interes I can see why it took the author seven years to write this book. It is a lot of information to absorb and to keep the timeline in order. It is a slow read. The book is about a Native American woman named Lissa. She has a checkered past with drugs, prison, etc. But she alone, remains defiant that she is going to find out who murdered KC in the oil fields of North Dakota. If you can keep up with all the relatives and Lissa moving around to different states and cities you will find this book interesting. Especially the effects of the oil boom on the reservation and it's culture. I lived in Fargo, North Dakota and knew of all the towns and places in this book, so I found the book both sad and informative. I received this book free from Goodreads for a honest opinion.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kim Rivera

    (e-Arc courtesy of Netgalley) Going into this book, it’s important to realize that it’s much less about oil, murder and justice than it is about Lissa Yellowbird. Her family, her life, her children, her addiction, her crimes, her redemption. Along the way, oil, murder, justice come into the story. The actual true crime aspect of this book is probably five (of total 18) chapters total. I think it’s a shame because there are multiple compelling stories in this book, but the way it’s written dilutes (e-Arc courtesy of Netgalley) Going into this book, it’s important to realize that it’s much less about oil, murder and justice than it is about Lissa Yellowbird. Her family, her life, her children, her addiction, her crimes, her redemption. Along the way, oil, murder, justice come into the story. The actual true crime aspect of this book is probably five (of total 18) chapters total. I think it’s a shame because there are multiple compelling stories in this book, but the way it’s written dilutes each to the point that it drags on.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Diogenes

    Crane-Murdoch’s investigative journalism on behalf of Native Americans/First Nations peoples is outstanding in its thoroughness, humanism, and critical research. She has written many articles for High Country News (https://www.hcn.org/), and in which Sophie Haigney repaid with a nice review of this book (https://www.hcn.org/issues/52.5/ideas...). Crane-Murdoch was already casting light on the lawlessness of this area of North Dakota with this article for The Atlantic back in 2013 (https://www.th Crane-Murdoch’s investigative journalism on behalf of Native Americans/First Nations peoples is outstanding in its thoroughness, humanism, and critical research. She has written many articles for High Country News (https://www.hcn.org/), and in which Sophie Haigney repaid with a nice review of this book (https://www.hcn.org/issues/52.5/ideas...). Crane-Murdoch was already casting light on the lawlessness of this area of North Dakota with this article for The Atlantic back in 2013 (https://www.theatlantic.com/national/...). “For all the ways the reservation was unique, I also saw it as a microcosm of America—a place to which people starved of opportunity would flock, and a place where I could observe the machinations of industry: how it secured access to land; how it sought and fostered insiders; and how it widened divisions within the community between those who had and those who had not” (p. 461). It should be no surprise to anyone that the indigenous peoples of the Americas are some of the poorest in the Americas. Nor should the legacy of paternalism, the hypocrisy of “granted sovereignty”, or the plight of epigenetics/intergenerational trauma be unknowns. Even when extreme wealth—such as oil rights—is injected into a microcosm such as a reservation, the social-psychological dynamics of greed and power and—in remote places with lax or corrupt policing—violence all play out. “Finding a body in the badlands is harder than finding a needle in a haystack” (p. 254). Crane-Murdoch gives us the story of one woman’s search for truth in a community plagued by greed. It seems as though no group of people are immune from these toxic forces. From war profiteers to Wall-Street hustlers to Senators & Presidents to posh prep schools that the story the HBO film “Bad Education” is based upon (https://nymag.com/nymetro/urban/featu...), greed and sociopathy and corruption are so deeply intertwined around the world, but most especially, most obviously, here in the United States of Hypocrisy. Capitalism feeds off greed. “The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones” (Marx). Again and again and again we have facts thrown in our faces; do you remember the “Panama Papers” (https://www.icij.org/investigations/p...)? Have you read the “Afghanistan Papers” (https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-...). Can you see who is profiting off the COVID-19 pandemic (https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/03/co...)? There are probably a hundred thousand lesser examples just in the past 20 years alone. Can the lower classes ever topple this global system of wanton greed, or is it a crucial component of our inherited DNA, a fact of existence we all must swallow as we struggle through each day? Some, like Lissa Yellow Bird, still fight to bring the corrupt to court, and ultimately prison (or an electric chair). We need more people like her, and more journalists like Sierra Crane-Murdoch to sound the sirens for all those shrouded in ignorance, so they can support the underdogs in this colossal fight for morality and equality.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Schmeidel

    I was fortunate to spend a week in North Dakota in 2015, when the fracking boom in the western part of the state was at its peak. I was there to hike in Teddy Roosevelt National Park. But the impact of the oil boom was impossible to avoid. I was, I think, the only woman at the hotel where I stayed; the other guests were workers associated with the oil companies. RVs and trailers filled the parking lots of the local WalMart; it seemed that all public spaces had been converted to impromptu "man camp I was fortunate to spend a week in North Dakota in 2015, when the fracking boom in the western part of the state was at its peak. I was there to hike in Teddy Roosevelt National Park. But the impact of the oil boom was impossible to avoid. I was, I think, the only woman at the hotel where I stayed; the other guests were workers associated with the oil companies. RVs and trailers filled the parking lots of the local WalMart; it seemed that all public spaces had been converted to impromptu "man camps" to accommodate the overflow of workers in the area to make the most of the boom. Sierra Crane Murdoch's "Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country" nicely captures that place at that incredible time: the culture clash between locals and new residents, the Wild West nature of the rapid boom (and inevitable bust), the tension between incredible natural resources and the desire to exploit them. And I appreciated the author's focus on Lissa Yellow Bird, whose personal story conveys so much about life on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation before, during and after the Bakken oil boom. For me, the story of Kristopher Clarke -- an oil worker who went missing during the boom, and whose disappearance became the focus of an intense social media outreach campaign, led by Lissa -- gets lost a bit in the telling. This book attempts to tell at least three stories -- the story of Kristopher, the story of Lissa, and the story of North Dakota during the boom -- and it's perhaps inevitable that one of them had to take a back seat to the others. But I'm grateful to the author for focusing on Lissa -- a complex, real protagonist whose story might otherwise have not been conveyed. And Murdoch vividly captures, too, the complexities of life in a part of the world that most people benefit greatly from but never think about.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mahoghani 23

    Im not sure exactly how I should rate this book. Its a true story & justice was finally served but at the same time it's one of the most boring books I've endured. The story commenced on an Indian reservation. The Indiana's land was rich with oil & soon this reservation in North Dakota was seeing more money than they've ever had. With this influx of money conflict began along with deception, crime, drugs, medical issues, and murder. Corruption from the outside of your race, you kind of expect bu Im not sure exactly how I should rate this book. Its a true story & justice was finally served but at the same time it's one of the most boring books I've endured. The story commenced on an Indian reservation. The Indiana's land was rich with oil & soon this reservation in North Dakota was seeing more money than they've ever had. With this influx of money conflict began along with deception, crime, drugs, medical issues, and murder. Corruption from the outside of your race, you kind of expect but from people of your own race and related to you is a bitter pill to swallow. When one of the truckers, Casey Clark, is missing, one Indian woman makes it her mission to find the truth. The story focused on the murder, reservation issues, deception towards Indians, the tribal council, laws & criminal repercussions, & how the lives of Indians changed drastically. I believe that if the author had focused on the murder, providing some background information, the outcome of the book would be more interesting. I struggled to keep reading this book & I don't know why when I've put so many others down due to lack of interest. I guess because it was a true story. My rating is actually 2.5

  26. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Macke

    Too many names, too many places, too many pages, far too slow to get to wherever we were supposed to be going ... If this subject interests you the book to read is "Killers of the Flower Moon" by David Grann

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Griffin

    The title is a little bit misleading. I found this book to be more about people NOT involved with the murder investigation than those that were. I kept thinking, “When are we going to get to the missing person?”

  28. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Fascinating and unforgettable. Also it’s interesting how many reviews of this book are complaints that the story is more about Lissa Yellow Bird than the murder victim... but the book is called Yellow Bird, so I think the author pretty much put us all on notice.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Janie Prim

    This was exceptional reporting. Ms Murdoch delved deeply into a fascinating subject: but because of the detail and the number of people involved, I had to re-read parts of it to keep everything straight. However, I found myself wanting to pick the book up and keep reading all the time.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Fascinating, layered look at a complicated, tenacious protagonist, her family, and a reservation facing rapid change due to an oil boom and the influx of opportunists who pursued it. Murdoch offers empathetic insight into the people, politics, and inherited trauma of this community. I couldn’t put it down.

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