MARIA HINOJOSA: Up next: North Dakota.
An oil boom on Native land has brought unintended consequences.
TEX HALL: The creators give us a blessing.
NICK NELSON: What's going on up here is an example
of what's right in this country.
GRACE HER MANY HORSES: Fort Berthold was never
on the map until the oil moved in.
JUDGE JOHNSON: Gangs have relocated here,
organized drug cartels.
FAHTIMA FINNLEY: Everything that you could
possibly think of negative, it's here because of the oil.
This is the make-or-break moment in the history of our tribe.
You learn as you go, and if you don't, it'll run right over you.
This is the new America--
black, brown, Asian, LGBT, immigrants.
The country is going through a major demographic shift,
and the numbers show it.
The face of the U.S. has changed.
CHRISTINA IBANEZ: We're American.
We care about the same things.
But yet we also want to preserve our culture.
I just see it destroying
what we had planned to happen here.
HINOJOSA: By 2043, we will be a majority non-white nation.
NORM GISSEL: We are making, as we speak,
a new America.
And it's a marvelous moment in American history.
Everybody's voice is important to this debate.
HINOJOSA: America by the Numbers.
I'm Maria Hinojosa.
This program was made possible in part by:
And today's numbers tell a dramatic one.
Up to 25% of the country's onshore oil and gas reserves
are located on Native American land.
Fossil fuel royalties brought in by these reserves
more than doubled over the past four years,
totaling nearly a billion dollars last year,
over half of which went to just one reservation.
Tex, can you tell me where we are?
We're in the northwest of Mandaree, North Dakota,
on the Fort Berthold reservation.
We are on the western part of it,
where probably two thirds of the oil is.
HINOJOSA: This is all your land?
Well, this piece right here is.
There's about 400 acres,
but I own about 2,000 put together, you know.
So that means that you can look out that way and say,
"That's my land, that's my land, that's my land, that my land
Yes, you sure can.
That's North Dakota for you.
HINOJOSA: Tex Hall has been the tribal chairman of the Mandan,
Hidatsa and Arikara nation of Fort Berthold for 12 years.
Below the reservation lies the Bakken shale formation--
subterranean layers of rock holding large deposits
of oil and gas.
In 2008 energy companies began extracting the minerals
through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
We were very poor back then, you know, just self-sufficient,
We're fourth-generation cattle and horse people.
HINOJOSA: Tex capitalized early on the boom,
forming a company in 2007 called Maheshu Energy,
which sells drilling supplies
and provides oil and gas leasing services.
Wells on Fort Berthold will flow for 45 years,
according to a study commissioned
by the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.
Over that lifespan, landowners here will receive an average
of over $7 million in royalties for each well.
So, what are we looking at?
What's inside of those?
Oil's inside there.
That's about 400 barrels in one of those.
So one, two, three... that's ten of these.
That's $400,000 every week.
And I've never seen $400,000 like that before.
What does that do to suddenly...
you know, you're on this land,
you never had that kind of money,
and all of a sudden, it's like boom.
Money-- big money.
You learn as you go, and if you don't, it'll run right over you.
HINOJOSA: North Dakota now has the lowest unemployment rate
in the nation.
It's generating jobs faster than any other state
and leading the country in economic growth.
People are flocking here.
Over the last three years,
the population has grown three times faster
than the U.S. population.
What's going on up here
is an example of what's right in this country.
You can find an entry-level job up here with no training,
no schooling, no nothing, and you can move up.
This is the kind of work ethic that built this country.
HINOJOSA: It's like nothing I've ever seen before.
Tell me what, like from your eyes, what do you see?
This area wasn't really built up for this kind of work force
to be in this area.
As far as what we do out here,
this is the busiest area in the country.
KELLY HOSEY: Get a 10A up at the top.
Have a nice day, I'm sure you're busy.
HINOJOSA: About 3,500 companies are operating
on the reservation.
They have to hire qualified tribal members
for half of the skilled positions
and all the labor jobs before hiring non-Native applicants.
According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs,
71% of tribal members were unemployed
prior to the oil rush.
The tribal employmt office says now only two percent
are without jobs.
TEX HALL: Our land has been stole, treaties broken.
We had alcoholism, unemployment, poverty.
We've had some bad things in our past.
Now we got another chance.
The creators give us a blessing.
HINOJOSA: More than 1,200 wells are pumping
over 295,000 barrels of oil per day,
almost a third of North Dakota's total production.
Four years ago the tribe was $125 million in debt.
Today, with the money received from its wells,
the tribe is debt free.
In just six short years, the oil boom here has brought in
about a billion dollars in royalties.
But that oil, and the money,
have also brought on some unintended consequences.
Tribal statistics e hard to come by in Fort Berthold.
Few agencies are tracking the data on things like housing,
income and population.
But the numbers we did find and the people we met
show the complex challenges that now face this reservation.
JODI LEE SPOTTED BEAR: The spirit of my ancestors
does live in this land yet.
And so I've always wanted to come home.
HINOJOSA: In 2013, journalist and Harvard fellow
Jodi Lee Spotted Bear returned to the reservation
after a 22-year absence
to teach at the Fort Berthold Community College.
Some people would say, "Well, this is idyllic."
I mean, look at this.
You're looking out onto, you know, this gorgeous lake
and the sun, the sky is massi.
If I had a permanent home, this really would be ideal.
The view is spectacular.
HINOJOSA: But Jodi was camping out
with her husband and daughter here
because there were no apartments or homes available.
She's one of many who end up living in trailers
because of the housing shortage.
Jodi is upset that the tribal government
hasn't used the tribe's new wealth to build housing,
and yet has purchased a $1.3 million yacht.
The tribal government says the yacht is an investment
to expand its casino operations.
But for Jodi, the yacht is a symbol
of the tribe's imprudent spending.
I'd open up the door
and the tribal yacht would be right there.
The tribe hadn't invested any money in infrastructure--
no water, no sewer.
But we had a million-dollar yacht.
So every day, stepping out of my camper,
where I had to walk over to that outhouse,
you know, I had to look at a million-dollar yacht every day.
And I thought, as a tribal member,
it would have been nice to come back and actually have a home
to live in.
All right, kiddo, let me help you with the comb.
HINOJOSA: When the North Dakota winter made it too cold
for camping, she and her family were forced to move
into her office at the Fort Berthold Community College.
There's all our blankets.
So every day it's a daily process of folding up
our blankets, putting them away so we can actually
walk into the office.
We have a shower downstairs.
In fact, she needs to go downstairs and brush her teeth.
Show them how you open it up.
HINOJOSA: Jodi is hopeful that conditions could improve
if the tribal government changes its priorities.
JODI: The oil boom actually could save our culture.
But are we going to use that money to create a better life
GRACE HER MANY HORSES: When I used to come to Fort Berthold,
it was real quiet.
Nothing ever really happened.
But I could actually put my shoes on
and go run down the road and not think twice of it.
The police department just wasn't ready for what hit.
HINOJOSA: Thousands of 18-wheeler trucks
speed through the roads of Fort Berthold each day.
The quiet and desolate byways
that Native people grew up driving on are gone.
GRACE HER MANY HORSES: More truck traffic,
more motor vehicle accidents, more fatalities on the road.
Within the last three weeks, we've had two already.
HINOJOSA: Two fatalities?
In the last three weeks?
How common is that, that you'll get a couple of deaths in,
you know, weeks?
Given the amount of traffic, hate to say that,
but that's kinda common.
Before the oil boom,
you'd maybe hear about one
maybe every seven or eight months.
HINOJOSA: North Dakota had the highest traffic fatality rate
in the nation in 2012.
51% percent of the fatalities were alcohol-related.
FAHTIMA FINNLEY: It's not the same as when we drove
even five years ago, ten years ago.
People could drive drunk.
I mean, you could speed and you just you can't do that anymore.
HINOJOSA: Fahtima Finnley's sister died
on September 11, 2011, when her car hit an oil truck.
Sarah Johnson's blood alcohol level was two-and-a-half times
the legal limit.
This is your sister's grave?
This is Sarah's.
She was the fourth oldest.
I'm the oldest out of seven.
And then that was her daughter.
She was five.
And then that one over there is Layla.
And she was two.
My sister had just turned 21.
She was my closest sibling.
We did everything together every day.
And it's... it gets hard coming out here every day.
In all reality, this is not gonna go away.
And it's something as people, a community,
we have to adapt to it.
Cops will tell you, and I'll tell you,
and other people will tell you,
you just don't drink and drive, period-- you just don't.
This one right here is a .06.
So this is for somebody that has probably had a couple beers
and they say, "Oh, no, I'm fine."
Oh, my gosh!
FAHTIMA: These show you the different levels of intoxication
as if somebody were drunk.
It was just like a job before I had lost my sister.
But when this happened, I kind of took it personally then.
If you know what it... what it feels like to have lost somebody
so close to you, you know what that feeling is,
that sadness, that emptiness, and I still cope with it.
If you tell them real stories,
they'll hear you and they're gonna believe you.
They want to hear the hard truth,
and that's what you have to give them
in order for them to know,
"Gee, that can happen to me, so I better not drink and drive."
HINOJOSA: Grace Her Many Horses is one of only 23
law enforcement officers patrolling the reservations,
nearly one million acres, an area larger than Rhode Island.
The percentage of drug-related crimes has doubled
in the last three years
according to tribal court records.
GRACE HER MANY HORSES: Right now we're just kind of
rolling through the streets.
And even though it kind of looks suburbanish,
kinda looks quiet,
we do have some known drug dealers.
Fort Berthold was never one of the places that was on the map
until the oil moved in and the drug cartels came.
And now it's everywhere.
HINOJOSA: Tie those two things together, though.
So there's an oil boom.
How does that equate to meth?
Well, because now people have money to buy it.
We're gonna go do a welfare check on three little girls
and their mother who has openly admitted to me
that she gets $4,000 a month and most of that
goes towards her drugs.
Hi, I'm gonna come do a check on the girls this weekend.
Okay, all right.
So, um, you don't got much in the fridge-- what's up?
Can I go ahead and check up here?
We're doing a story about what the oil boom
has done to the reservation.
What has the oil boom done to the reservation?
What's made it worse?
Have you actually ended up getting some benefits
from the oil, you yourself personally?
Do you get a check from...
How did you end up getting a check from the oil?
Your grandma died?
And your grandma had land where there's oil?
So you're not using drugs now?
So when this detective says she might suspect
that maybe there is some drug use going on in your life,
and maybe that's exposing the kids, what do you think,
what do you say to that?
GRACE HER MANY HORSES: All right, thanks, Patricia.
I'll come see you tomorrow.
I'll tell you the game plan here, okay?
Good night, you girls, you guys get to bed
pretty soon, all right?
We'll see you guys.
I just think the kids are in trouble.
For any Indian country, anybody in Indian country,
our greatest resource is our children.
And it just makes me work harder
to make sure those kids are safe.
JUDGE DIANE JOHNSON: We are back on the record
this fifth day of May 2014.
We are continuing with the arraignment proceedings
in the Fort Berthold district court.
HINOJOSA: Diane Johnson is the chief judge
of the Fort Berthold district court.
She grew up on the reservation.
Have you ever been in court before?
In adult court?
JOHNSON: You've been charged with possession
of drug paraphernalia,
and with respect to that charge, how do you plead?
Without fail, every single court session I'm in
I see evidence of the drug problem.
You see the track marks on their arms,
you see the swelling and the infection from the needle usage.
Even though we're in an oil-rich economy,
the people I see here are poor.
Every community in the United States has drugs.
But ours went from just a mediocre drug problem
to exponentially out of this world.
It's a tidal wave.
It has overtaken our nation.
We're not equipped to handle this problem.
We need approximately 75 police officers
to patrol this reservation.
This is an extremely large reservation.
It takes hours and hours to get from one location
on the reservation to the next location.
We have one prosecutor.
At a minimum we need three.
HINOJOSA: With over 4,500 cases coming into court each year,
Fort Berthold's only prosecutor just can't keep up,
and backlogged cases go unprosecuted.
I dismissed 5,000 criminal cases for failure to prosecute.
That sends a terrible message
because then it makes it appear
that you can get away with anything.
HINOJOSA: And the reservation is powerless against crimes
committed by outsiders.
Those cases must be referred
to local and federal law enforcement.
The tribe cannot arrest or prosecute non-Natives.
There have been times that you've actually had
to let a non-Native go
even though this person may have committed a crime?
Yeah, we've had to do that.
But you know you're releasing a criminal?
But if we have no jurisdiction then we can't do anything.
Because they're not a Native person?
They'll tell you right to your face,
"You don't have jurisdiction over me."
Any drug use tonight, boys?
JOHNSON: We are dealing with organized drug cartels,
gangs that have relocated here, human trafficking.
Our law enforcement officers cannot arrest these individuals.
It's not safe here anymore.
TIM PURDON: A reservation as a sovereign nation within a state
within the United States creates jurisdictional hurdles.
They add a layer of complexity that doesn't exist everywhere.
And if you wanna get involved in the drug business,
you wanna take advantage of those weak spots in the system.
HINOJOSA: Tim Purdon is the U.S. attorney for North Dakota.
In 2009, his office, which covers western North Dakota
and the reservation, indicted 126 defendants.
Last year, they indicted over twice that number.
But why is it that so many of the Native American people
told us, "We don't feel safe and protected from these non-Natives
who are now our land and who are committing crimes"?
Well, the answer is that there are more of them, right?
The increase in population on the reservation
has primarily been non-American Indians.
Seeing the number of crimes increase with that,
in the summer of 2012, on Fort Berthold,
all of a sudden there was heroin freely available
on the streets.
And that's a very alarming and important development for us
to recognize and gear up to combat.
This is ground zero for the largest oil play
in the lower 48 states right now.
It's not the beautiful, peaceful, isolated,
sparsely populated western North Dakota anymore.
This is the new normal.
GRACE HER MANY HORSES: I've always said, you know,
as long as you know your culture, you know your ancestry,
that's what's gonna keep you rooted in what you're doing.
(tribal drumming, singing)
JODI LEE SPOTTED BEAR: The war bonnet dance is a reflection
of who we are as a people.
It's a reflection of our cultural values
and sharing the wisdom of the people that came before us.
HINOJOSA: Elders are passing along the traditions
to the next generation.
But oil money, traffic, drugs
and crime coexist with the culture here.
And people will be living with this new reality
for decades to come.
At the war bonnet dance
I meet cousins Tracy Walking Hawk and Shy Lee Paul.
They tell me their family now gets $15,000 a month
So the oil has meant what for your family life?
He has an Xbox, a lot of new games, controllers,
four wheelers, dune buggies...
And so people would say, well, now that you have money,
everything's gonna be great.
Our family used to be really close.
Like every Sunday,
we would all go to my Grandma and Grandpa's house
and like play Bingo and stuff like that,
but now we're like split up.
Our family's like...
TRACY WALKING HAWK: Goes to the casino constantly.
SHY LEE PAUL: We don't really do anything together anymore.
JODI LEE SPOTTED BEAR: Okay, so let's go back
to the "who" of the story.
You can tell it from your perspective.
HINOJOSA: Fort Berthold has changed, maybe forever.
But Jodi is now training the next generation of journalists
to impact its future.
Jodi was recently hired to be the executive director
of the tribal radio station and newspaper.
JODI: I'm bringing in young people to teach them
about the importance of being true to your community.
HINOJOSA: The tribal government is building
a new $1.1 million media center.
And th say they've allocated over $57 million
for infrastructure, including a new school and senior center.
But Jodi is still concerned about how all this new money
will be spent.
You know, money does not make a government successful.
We have the money to make a big difference in our life
but unless we have a functional governmental structure
that can apply that properly,
we've got two roads that we can go here.
We're at a really critical point in the history of the tribes.
HINOJOSA: Is everyone on the rez gonna make money?
TEX HALL: We at the tribal council put together
a trust fund.
And we call it the nauetba hidatsa.
It means "the people's fund."
And so out of that fund, it'll be a dividend for every member.
HINOJOSA: Nearly 2,200 new wells are awaiting approval,
and even more money will be coming to Fort Berthold.
Tex believes this is his tribe's chance
for real self-determination.
TEX: It's hard to be sovereign on an empty stomach.
You know many tribes are devastated in South Dakota,
because they're depending on those federal dollars.
Your dream is that this reservation gets nothing
from the federal government at some point,
depends on nothing from the federal government?
It's changed the landscape.
There's no question about it.
Every now and then, it's quiet and you can just hear
your horse breathing or a calf bellowing,
looking for its mama somewhere.
When the sun goes down, you can hear the coyote howl, you know.
And then there'll be a chain reaction of coyotes.
And then all of a sudden, when that stops,
then you can hear the...
(imitates oil well clanking)
the oil well.
HINOJOSA: The first annual distribution
from the people's fund accrued on August 1, 2014.
Each of the tribe's nearly 14,000 members
was eligible to receive $500.
Since my visit to North Dakota,
70 people have died from car crashes.
22 of the deaths were alcohol-related.
Over a million gallons of fracking water spilled
near a tributary of Lake Sakakawea,
threatening tribal drinking water.
The tribal council says the water is safe
and that clean-up efforts are underway.
And, the tribal council commissioned an investigation
into Tex Hall's business practices.
Tex subsequently lost his 2014 bid for reelection.
Next time, Clarkston, Georgia, revisited.
Three former refugees are running for office.
HELEN KO KIM: We have to do everything we can to make sure
minority citizens are out and voting.
GRAHAM THOMAS: They'll be controlling what's happening
here instead of the people that have lived here a long time.
HINOJOSA: To learn more about this and other episodes
is available on DVD.
To order, visit shopPBS.org, or call 1-800-PLAY-PBS.
This program was made possible in part by: