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Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country
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Random House Publishing Group 2020
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Description
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 DaysNOMINATED FOR THE EDGAR® AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • NPR • Publishers Weekly 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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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/25/2020
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780399589164
ASIN:
B07S7M6X56
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Sierra Crane Murdoch. (2020). Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Sierra Crane Murdoch. 2020. Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Sierra Crane Murdoch, Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country. Random House Publishing Group, 2020.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Sierra Crane Murdoch. Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country. Random House Publishing Group, 2020. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: 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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title
Yellow Bird
fullDescription
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
NOMINATED FOR THE EDGAR® AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • NPR • Publishers Weekly 
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.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from December 1, 2019

        With this debut, essayist Murdoch (The Atlantic, VICE) has written a story that expertly blends true crime, environmental drama, and family saga. For a first nonfiction work, Murdoch has outdone herself by telling the story in a beautifully narrative way, allowing readers to watch the scene unfold as Lissa Yellow Bird investigates the disappearance of Kristopher "KC" Clarke from his work site on Lissa's tribal reservation. Murdoch's own experiences lends perspective; her account offers no easy answers and causes readers to face the moral questions involved: resource mining on Native land, hardships caused by the signing and breaking of treaties, and the difficulties faced by everyone during an economic recession. Fans of Michelle McNamara's I'll Be Gone in the Dark will appreciate the accessible style, precise details, fast pace, and lyrical prose. VERDICT Required reading for all fans of true crime, particularly those interested in the intersections of poverty and environmental justice, along with Native studies.--Ahliah Bratzler, Indianapolis P.L.

        Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 15, 2019
        A murder on an Indian reservation changes lives--at least one for the better but most for the worse. "For what? For a little bit of money?" Thus Marge Gunderson, the sheriff in the film Fargo, asking an unrepentant killer why so many people are dead at his hands. That might well serve as a refrain for this thoughtful work of true crime, its setting the badlands of North Dakota. There, writes journalist Murdoch, a man went missing in the newly opened oilfields of the Bakken boom. Few people gave Kristopher Clarke's disappearance much thought until Lissa Yellow Bird, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation based on the Fort Berthold Reservation, made it her cause. When the author asked why she took an interest in the matter, Yellow Bird answered, "I guess I never really thought about it before." The road to becoming a freelance investigator was long and circuitous: Yellow Bird had worked as a prison guard, stripper, and bartender before doing time for possessing narcotics "with intent to deliver." On the tangled trail of the missing Clarke, a truck driver who, like everyone else, had come to the Bakken for a quick buck, Yellow Bird found something like redemption. "It seemed to Lissa," writes Murdoch, "that the oil fields contained endless ways for a person to disappear." Her narrative makes that much clear, as she chronicles Yellow Bird's search across a vast, desolate landscape. What she discovered as she moved across that landscape was a microcosm of inept and principled cops, political divisions among tribes and clans, the ruinous effects of drugs and alcohol, and the always-appealing allure of fast money. "North Dakota is the only place in the country where somebody like me can go and make big money," says one suspect. Thanks to Yellow Bird's tireless search, the truth eventually emerged--with poor Clarke considered a "truly innocent victim" in an endlessly elaborate con game. An impressive debut that serves as an eye-opening view of both the oil economy and Native American affairs.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from December 23, 2019
        Investigative reporter Murdoch debuts with a powerful portrayal of an unusual sleuth whose dogged pursuit of a missing person inquiry led to justice. Lissa Yellow Bird received a degree in criminal justice from the University of North Dakota, “though rather than working for the police, she spent much of her adult life evading them.” Despite that checkered background and a history of substance abuse, Lissa became an advocate in tribal court and a go-to resource when people went missing on Native American lands. After Kristopher Clarke, who worked for a trucking company based on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, vanished in 2012, Lissa became interested in the mystery. Her investigations contributed to the arrest and conviction, in 2016, of James Henrikson, who had feared that Clarke was going to start his own trucking firm and steal Henrikson’s employees. Murdoch deepens her narrative with a searing look at the deficiencies of law and order on Native American land, corruption, and the abrogation of responsibility by the federal government. Admirers of David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon will be drawn to this complex crime story with similar themes and settings. Agent: Kent Wolf, Neon Literary.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        December 1, 2019
        Journalist Murdoch, whose work has appeared in the Atlantic and the New Yorker, spent eight years digging deep into the history of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation in North Dakota, exploring how the ongoing North Dakota oil boom brought with it a slew of non-Native oil-riggers and a related influx of drugs, crime, and social upheaval. One crime victim was a 29-year-old white man, Kristopher KC Clarke, who worked for a trucking company on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. After Clarke went missing in 2012, Murdoch started investigating and soon met the detective heroine of this story, Lissa Yellow Bird, a member of the MHA Nation, just released from prison for drug dealing. One of the mysteries Murdoch probes over years of interviewing Yellow Bird is why she became obsessed with Clarke's disappearance (her detective work ultimately paid off). In addition, Murdoch examines Yellow Bird's own hardscrabble life and the continual struggles on her reservation. Murdoch's reporting is so exhaustive that it is sometimes slow going, but it's well worth following for Murdoch's, and Yellow Bird's, insights into historical and contemporary Native American life.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
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
NOMINATED FOR THE EDGAR® AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • NPR • Publishers Weekly 
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...
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