thumbnail of Waterbuster
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
or a hanging it's b there is a river that once flowed wilden unabated through the northern plains it's b as freddie an unrestricted as the people who made their homes along its rich flood plains they were my ancestors and in iraq they revered this river this misery that provided them with shelter food and the story of creation i am the oldest grandson of elizabeth grinnell lubbock challis a snake woman she is my connection to the head outside and mandate and the missouri river my idea
of harm was shaped by my grandmother elizabeth she was the creator and keeper of a safe haven for her children and grandchildren her idea of home was among the communities of the fort berthold indian reservation she used to tell me stories about her childhood and the towns of independence and noble words she's gone now brought back and buried on the high plains of north dakota my family has come back to honor her i have come back to look for her to learn the story of why she left him to find our home it's
been it's been a week he says because the county is bleak down this
bundle is that would that that clients only matriarchal sensible everyone that because of water it's like a kid's poem that you now are also in that plant so no nothing comes from the other side yes it's a matriarchal societies like everything these families filling huge clench all comes down through the other side for failing to fix for you with a lot of pastors and they came from and that we come from like basically the sky and in it ha
ha ha ha we'll be getting our origins is that it manages the creation stories and that is still the river is always there was kind of wire that your grandfather or your they also provided robots cells were full of big trees shelter they provide wood for for fires no place for animals or thirteen and then there are these fantastic gardens we have a field as we can at the garden center which it was all one for years all about holding really holding for potatoes are so large because my head that says it's because of her that knows the caregiving i'm the eldest of nine children my mother had my children i'm the eldest now we lived in a place called
independents my grandfather john are now lived on a ranch in that community called independence so was a small child my recollections are by and large i know having grown up in a ranch kind of environment there were a lot of horses cattle and it was an agrarian type of lifestyle in the high plains gary and not having lived in any other location there's something very mysterious and very beautiful about growing up in the high plains and the prairie kind of environment i think it was really an extraordinary kind of way because you became a part of nature and he really understood that you were a part of because it's a part of the world and that all living things you were an integral part of it to the south and i would see the missouri
river and i would see the missouri river because there was no conception of a river made at all estimate maybe return willows and cottonwoods and a lot of the government barry to use the shrubs and so we're seeing that it was a ballet my earliest recollections are the family pass of people where you knew certain people and everyone agrees that there was a small closely knit community i guess the best way that i can describe it is somewhat being in a mexico where you felt a sense of safety to the sense of security and a sense of belonging and also a very strong code for identification to and to the community because you heard that language spoken that's the language spoken so the semi earlier
and then it remembers the story i'm it how much that matters told taught me and my dad when locals and let's cross the river right here at springtime but forty miles away get a member of the bubble is this is so i'm across the river movers ice chunks are flooding everything will probably make it and being young guys has come back from a world war are invincible yet to jump the horses in the river and the river does flowing in they end up on this violent and one of course is this way jones and somebody finds a horse down river sleuthing your buddy john and people are other remakes looking for the new lines
and they say on this island for about three or four days and then the nervous about this time get back across no they jump on horses they have into the river and they make a cross everybody's happy to see them remember he's hollering at them for being so stupid to try and customer i think that that's how people like that were they weren't afraid to cross the missouri river a full flood in april or may not rather than go forty miles around they were willing to try these things because they believe they could do things you know i think most people who are in my i'm i'm on stage my mom's day you know have that spirit that they could do anything they want because they could that's how confident they were in themselves human beings in this children of god and mainly just being pronounced i have grown up in the shadow of the mystery
the people and places of my grandmother's generation slip into different fort berthold than the one i know although the landscape has changed their memories and stories have not those only about a fifth of the moon warrior heroes going to go that opening know hopefully you'll forget you i think the only ones that i know that the middle of what was i think i think i must say no no no i know i know it's important than the teams you can't
easily won that war on what makes everything go you know we do need to not he's won or no well we are kind of the whereabouts the new yorker for more than in a show you a who are you our neighborhood one of them you're right they were there with us he's been the pipe i think the thing that you know that i that i that i
remember as we were pretty much like mainstream america a lot of people that didn't think he was as indian prime an innovative game live differently from the rest of the united states but we know pretty much like any small town rural community would have them la that we're suddenly murdered frightened and that's into this all swing and there was bill haley comments the money in the world or pop country
speaking korean while anna wintour we're the ice rink and we are part of a family that said the wealth hand scanlon and so the whistle stop rivalry are fees thank you what we call it even
here a year that lives on it was just breaking apart and different class we just get up and leave and we'd really i mean it was directly from the first grade i stood as leaders who only ground teaches at yale i had asked to come back come back in it was a holiday and we graduate stand on the bridge and we watched those ice trucks come down and some of the big ones in that state courts could get the beer in the end the rigid shape but it would be at that appearance on was the feelings had to climb down here sell a layover in march in his village to me that was a very important part of that well at the plate i think it was
you know we were so significant is we are that's what deleted down their hang on far my family my grandparents' clinton that a horse they had prayed that where spectators had to get a pardon or a family have tricked her a place which we don't see things differently and what it was that thinking that was really when there is a beautiful place and all the sudden so that's all that and so i think a lot of us saw a
hunger and fear it was voting for the first time and i think you're a hunger for that there's a lot of fear of hunger and of your ground realize that you know self beer was i remember hearing conversations about just you know amongst your peers whether children are questions and comments did you know that we're going to be flooded did you know that we're going to have to leave everything behind and we're going to be flooded i first heard about it well the record there's any democrat donna by gershwin about no idea if they were a writer northward the gear shooting data image baby <unk> bill noted them without regard it's gonna be a
hopeless case of worthless one why do with but is that what they were guys dressed like a uniformed army in the front part of that you might say about ten coolest up walk around in his heels way out there and be in a place where no mobile really walk around and you own them walking cool yeah and a few of the war and they go to a bigger them an all out congress over the rim no rational been a record over the corn crop that's ok we do fitness wind right in there sorcery white flags nailed to the ground with the hype peaked in something your clients and red flags with the bottom of a quick along the bottom are not going to forget
where you are someone will wither mr noah we open a fridge and a scholar we we've we've seen him and our what swelled the water washed committee and i realize we're going to not approve all on this seth seth seth was a great system of conservation he projects in a basin wide river control program authorized by congress the main purpose of the program is to store water for irrigation produced by groupon develop navigation who put water to many useful purposes for the people
as a result of some floods in the late nineteen thirties congress asked the bureau of reclamation to go back and take another look at the missouri river if missouri river in combat was the solutions on what to do about this mad off into rivers they called it so tiny at once loan over in the billings office for the deal and started working on a basin wide plan that covered almost a million square miles three zero there were three successive catastrophic floods congress sent out the word we're done with this that all the army corps of engineers do something about this river we won a plan immediately within sixty days cloak kept who's in the omaha office came up with for the match which will pit master plan in that master plan turned on one building
five key flood control the apps on so you have this long plan that was advanced when the parliament you're a new hat but that plan which called for building a hundred and tendons all talk and the first one would be terrorists congress approved it in in the formal passage of the flood control act of nineteen forty four and the process was not very fair the corps of engineers and the bureau of reclamation and the federal government i would say in essence conspired to take this letter through the path of least resistance and it's
well known that only or nearly all these huge bands that were built during that period of time were on or near indian reservations they had this big meeting down at the school one summer when when the corps of engineer people came when the when the generals came at all the people all over the nation they call them together and the cook the corps brought their people and they had some of the bureau people and they were telling me in and this is the first time publicly they told in and people that then was coming and they were going to go there where they got into trouble was that some of the land was held on private but privately by the indians themselves and some of that was held in trust and felix going the solicitor for the former interior the time explained to suddenly the big problem you can take you can take
privately held land by eminent domain and compensate people for you given just compensation but nobody's ever taken trust and it can take something that you have a fiduciary responsibility to protect begin to alter the way congress had to ignore this responsibility completely in order to build a dam and justify this location location speed and break its on war it was difficult because the council also that was still very new cults were young council and we didn't have any contacts like we needed in washington and places to make disaffected make make a stand effect the other thing that was really difficult was because indians in the last days you know in terms of the political climate and social climate and aunts were
didn't have a lot of clout in oklahoma was are almost sold here were world war two veterans serving in the united states army and then they come back in on country that they've made up or is systematically relocating their families taking them away from their homelands or scarce and rows of war so if we have a long history of our service to this country than in return for oil there were no wars or worship in nineteen forty four forty five all quite ago or so boys come and then write a short story and it did kind of
work through that uses in this convent it's been christians being is under
construction destroying the path is buying it others
those asset on a bright summer day i stand on a bluff with marilyn and her brother martin krause digging for prairie turnips from here on this high hill i begin to understand the magnitude of the garrison reservoir ironically named lakes a couple we after the young indian woman who led lewis and clark through the west i see if only my imagination the town's claim to the lives that were displaced it was a scar on the land reminding us of what we've lost i will never know the towns of
independence oral words except in story my grandmother rarely spoke of the days of the garrison dam and the flooding of our ancestral lands but when she did she always spoke of what lay below as her true home i've come back here to reclaim that and what was tonight my generation and all the generations that will follow her so when the damn did come when it finally started to concede and then you could see tangible things happen you know they were starting to work around doing and relocating people out of the alley and they were building sites up on top they were moving things they were shutting down the government started seeing the shutting down the school was closed was closing are all the same to happen and they did not have a very good system of trying to get to that nobody nobody really ended the end in themselves weren't were totally uncontrollable and mostly
psychologically that are trying to get cover set up and figure out the news common problem even knew was coming but it was still on the resistance of the denial in the fifties of israel and why that on an indian reservation a forty hour week labor day and of course at the years and then changing in a cultural economy afloat river reservation and that the jobs and cities jobs anywhere where were you know something that people considered some real occasion was a movement of an indian from a former education in the united states to an urban center in a huge expos this with that with a tom governmental practices their policies if you will in the fifties determination period the federal government was trying to abrogate treaty
rights and with with tribes and andrea great timeline tribes know became feared they'd lost their federal recognition and calm and there was then at that point in time along with figures are reserve are being built and they're a policy the exodus of a lot of our people to major cities in the united states end our family experience that our mother decided to go to participate in the relocation program and they relocated to the los angeles area we toughed it out to have a winner for we better go so she finally agrees your career moves to relocation not original drove around us what those dams to the
displaced people some people had good bottoms of farmland in and grazing ahead metro's number of war coverage think people had cattle at jammu up on top and they were displaced and they built a move to bear in all more players they get money for their land without their quarterback and output top one or timeless hard storm in blazers up on top you control it malone people in new york to do now to draw commodities and so from human toll was ruthless commander who resort commodities and some solutions or i assume that the shadow of color for a selection shouldn't care
of mosul relocation and i remember before that going in and and i'm i'm interviewing me we have to go is a family an interview with these that the iaea because it was government relocation act and we have to qualify or whatever whatever the corridors were at this relocation ackman i guess back then there were they implemented this program to to integrate on reservation families into regular anglo society my younger siblings were born an off reservation in and different cities at all different locations and i feel very sad that they will never ever experience what it was like to grow up in a community that was relatively intact where they had a
place where they belong and where they had a plate of departure and when they really had at the opportunity to really know what it meant to be a hidatsa it's a different animal for the for the indian who is his ancestral homeland ancestral homeland it and it and again our own religion find expression of that in terms of and for fueling emotions tai chi that is going to be disruptive and broken and lost you after be removed or have to be relocated to be displaced cleaned up before you can get an idea what that means you know to it's not john one from san jose and moving to chicago with ibm and getting a getting a raise to pay totally different experience you on the map you've said you're at the heartbroken power isn't an anger
oh boy i don't know how to say just exactly our field or am i met him i don't know how the board cuts were met with polish mic the feelings and no not robot and uruguay go black or a bottle it brings what followed that history hall of memories and even more so honestly one of them or even drawing in another site and that water will obama has preferred cries stilled us will have to happen sure that it didn't have to happen the way it did no
no comparison been could have been built an alternate site north of the reservation but wasn't unless the hundred and fifty six thousand acres of fertile bottom land rich with our own history and traditions and culture told on end i i can't imagine not feeling that sense of loss and anger over that even though i wasn't alive at the time that all happened it was handed down to me it's a generational anger and i think it's right up there with work hard do your chores be angry about your city it's something that gets passed on and it's something i've passed on to my own kids in my way i've tried not to i recognize that this is not something that we should be carrying around but if you feel strongly about something if you feel like an injustice has been done
oh we talked as american people to want to do something about injustice in the world is now why we do most of what we do as a country are we ought to get rid of injustice throughout the world why can't we do this and well we say is that there is a stereotypical image of indian people as being conquerors as being toothless or being always on the public dole or something like that that's what's always come under some of this this whole process but i would challenge any from where we want to go through and through
they were tweeting when my grandmother elizabeth left north dakota nineteen fifty eight she relocated her growing family to los angeles before moving to phoenix arizona settling down has not come easily for many of my relatives and i think that sometimes worse on the run for years and i'm still looking for a place to call home i arrived in nineteen sixty six born in seven sisko to young single mother who experience the reality of displacement i never knew my real father another mystery in my life and to this day i carry the name of my first stepfather in nineteen sixty nine we left him and california and moving into the home of my
grandmother in there i found my aunts and uncles darrell clint an event fielder not much older than i there was also my uncle text when it faced while back in north dakota or with their father or his sister's billie joe and k then of course there was my mother reba and her younger brother john white shirt what i never knew until now was that there was another child lost in the turmoil of the period turned over for adoption in nineteen fifty six just as the last bit of elbow woods slipped below the waves of likes a couple we are my grandmothers are i sometimes feel lost but so my trip back to fort berthold can be measured in miles of voyage to understand my ancestral legacy is long and far more difficult to make of actually the demo good out
of it what they found root causes that are soaking up on this you know but we'll let history be strong enough for most people to figure out how to reclaim that make it worked in and really get any help too you never know you never know how that we were on the land officially belongs to go matt via the cornell down there he will a block away just like a bad mortgage or what would really do not only do with it we don't know when they put that deal together when they put that song together the first rendering of that plan they guaranteed farmers on the upper missouri four million acres the area's main so the farmers fact the primaries that water flows and that missouri will be irrigation for the purpose of irrigation hydroelectric would be secondary
downstream barge traffic would be tertiary recreationally for would be the last assumes post dispatch called it the largest boondoggle american history and farmers on the upper missouri were still with us and all that water was being drained off downstream by politicians who control the committees in congress that made sure that barge traffic from st charles missouri to sicily i will continue to flow even though there are rail routes they can do the same job for enterprise the war never stopped flowing those barges been going for fifty years and yet the farmers on the upper missouri never got dropped one but the water that was promised or fifty years of their
tribes against it while it has been devastated and instead of having a three hundred year life spam the lake behind the dam now may well be so good and into a big mako within fifty year i think the indian tribes were sold a bill of goods but i think the state of north dakota was to the problem with the state of north dakota is there just now coming to realize this the tribe's name and when it happened the state north dakota's is now discovering that the army corps of engineers doesn't have their interests at heart there's a lot of angry people understandably so i guess several chinese cities listen below and we see a lot
more non resident gas that in a state where a destination in minneapolis chicago or how or who is right at work the other day someone was discussing that the corps of engineers who is behaving as if it didn't have the best interests of the state of north dakota in mind and i and i left i thought was delirious and in it was good it was a bitter last and i told this person that she was just starting to discover what the tribes had understood for over fifty years the government doesn't love you you're liars
nice the government doesn't care what you think the government doesn't want to know what you think are your own best interests the government is going to do what is necessary to protect all those downstream registered voters they get six hundred thousand of us here when we matter the house are loyal house remains know and for a lot of people i think this is just coming to light headed there are still there's still a sense of like a bee they talked about all this irrigation it was going to happen they talked about pipelines for water
freshwater throughout the region there's not much to realizing the way it was supposed to well those are broken promises and well acquainted with those it comes down with me i'll tell you what it means we no we understand the reason that the reason anyone should care any american should care about what happened here is because the only way we survive as a society we deal with our laws we uphold our lives whether we live by our charter with live by the last week the agreements we make and if we can break agreements if we can break our own laws at will eventually the whole system collapses and what we see around us that the gifts we see around us the communities here is
and then leverage on the back of someone someone has paid a price and on the upper missouri river that was twenty three tribes people at parts they gave up everything they're everything they owned communities families their land and livelihood their identities or shatter it's not just about moving your own they were given a choice to move thousands of them last effort and fifty years later and we see the effects of that mall intergenerational trauma that are being played out of generations that have no memory of the original intent of the effects of that trauma to get passed on from generation to generation because something comes along the bridges well
i think it was very important for my mom mom grandma to arm to keep us in touch with our indigenous roots i mean she was very adamant about letting us know and i mean in educating us on on the traditions of the stories and so for me that has had a memory like that like you know and i just remember her telling me that you know your children need to know where they are who they are so they can be a whole person centered and that you need to bring him back here and even though it's gone and it's down below you need to let him know it there was a way a life before all of this and that you know and that will make them complete as a person and that's what happens is your spirit wonder sometimes and that's because you need to go back to cairo rejuvenate yourself and be there among everyone we are more americans there's no question about that what i'm saying is that how do
we do that without losing sight of who we are and i think worth of vocals pulls together it would go back in and we've asked lee baca porto sometimes weekly reject who we are so would probably reject who we are as in his low income white people who would become americans and we also know want to use that indian ness as a scapegoat to be totally irresponsible to do all kinds of when everyone what do and not have to worry about it because we're addicted to grow and the way they did this we did that over the years things that we believe that we need to be able to be comparable we need to be able to show our children a good rule that they are to fall so that they will have no the fight or things of this country has to offer we need to look at the world as our as an artist the bodies as reservation we'd go out
there and to be able to produce a baby and what's good about this country concert and still feel that you know we're that that's out that's our that the revenge is a challenge it's our responsibility now that we can no longer blame things we can no longer blame the boogeyman the way to where we can no longer buoyant of years and down we got it all my future and my past are linked by my need to return to this place called fort berthold by placing a headstone on my grandmother's grave i feel as though we are nearing the end of a collective struggle to reconnect as a family and heal ourselves from the pain of the past
proposals curious into for a long time i felt it just it felt like and everything else like i felt inadequate know where they belong to learn and i just felt lost fb i was so i was so different production and i didn't really find that out until as start asking questions have blue whales a body the years old summer in there and that's when i realized that i was different i was about thirteen and i found out that my last name was was grinnell and that's the only only thing that i had to go on for years i
think there still is it's been to pittsburgh and we brought her home and your brothers
sisters to throttle and so in that way there is also brought right to because you look good she came home and in doing so it brought our family even close to the other family members that are brought here to the same place but it's also the same place of going away and so you know there's also a lot about go is also the landscape from that we give off when that we are here is family no matter what happens in our life we still stand together as a family and that even buying this even stronger and that's what makes his family and we're still here and we're still standing will he say don't be afraid of thunder when there's lightning thunder those are
our ancestors those are people those are that's them talking to us and letting us know that we're still we're still hear them this
week to order a copy of his program please call it seven seven
a six eight two to five zero or visit their website doesn't make your diet or easy fb it fb
Producing Organization
Brave Boat Productions, Inc.
Native American Public Telecommunications
Contributing Organization
Vision Maker Media (Lincoln, Nebraska)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/508-8k74t6fs54).
Program Description
A personal story of how a multimillion dollar project displaced the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation in North Dakota. Producer J. Carlos Peinado returns to the Fort Berthold Reservation and discovers stories of the past as he assesses tribal identity. Through interviews and archival footage, a uniquely Native American perspective emerges, giving light to a portrait of resilience and survival in the face of catastrophic change.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Social Issues
Local Communities
Race and Ethnicity
Copyright 2006 Brave Boat Productions, Inc.
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Director: Peinado, J. Carlos
Producer: Peinado, J. Carlos
Producer: Ross, Daphne D.
Producing Organization: Brave Boat Productions, Inc.
Producing Organization: Native American Public Telecommunications
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Vision Maker Media
Identifier: 2013-00736 (VMM Inventory #)
Format: Digital Betacam
Duration: 0:56:46
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Waterbuster,” 2006-00-00, Vision Maker Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “Waterbuster.” 2006-00-00. Vision Maker Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Waterbuster. Boston, MA: Vision Maker Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from