A Different American Dream
Co-presented with the Margaret Mead Film Festival.
On the edge of the Badlands in western North Dakota lies the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, home to 6,500 members of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. When the largest shale oil field in North America was discovered on the reservation, the explosion of industry brought sweeping changes to daily life. The landscape is now littered with oil wells, fracking towers, and toxic waste dumps and the average life expectancy on the reservation has dropped to an alarming 57, compared to 79 in the rest of the state. Some members of the tribe have profited from mineral rights, but this fleeting bubble of wealth, alongside widespread poverty, threatens to destroy the social fabric of the community. Follow the story of this upheaval and the remarkable attempts of some tribal leaders to save their land and the future of their society.