Students watch two video clips about the benefits and consequences North Dakota’s American Indian tribes face as a result of the oil boom. Students discuss the pros and cons of the oil boom to the American Indian population.
This lesson is part of "Great States | North Dakota | Unit 8: Modern North Dakota" where students will learn about the concerns and challenges that the people of North Dakota face today.
4.3.2: Identify ways that natural resources (e.g., soil, minerals, trees, fish, people) contribute to the economy of the local community and North Dakota
8.3.3: Evaluate how economic opportunities (e.g., manufacturing, agricultural, business) impact North Dakota and other regions (e.g., Midwest, Northeast)
8.4.1: Explain the connections between the rights and responsibilities of citizenship (e.g., voting and staying informed on issues; being tried by a jury and serving on juries; having rights and respecting the rights of others).
An interactive whiteboard, projector, or other type of screen to project videos to the class
- Explain to students that the western part of North Dakota sits on the Bakken Formation, a vast rock formation that contains large amounts of crude oil, which can be refined into gasoline and fuel. Crude oil is now one of North Dakota’s main exports, and North Dakota has become the second largest crude oil producer in the United States. This oil boom has affected American Indians both positively and negatively. Tell students they will be watching two videos describing the benefits and consequences the oil boom brings to American Indians.
- Distribute the Pros and Cons of the Oil Boom on North Dakota American Indian Tribes handout
- Have students review the handout to ascertain the information they need from the video.
- Tell students that first they will be watching a video about American Indians at the Fort Berthold Reservation. Then play the following video until 10:13: Native American Boomtown | America by the Numbers: Episode 4. (Note: the rest of the video contains mature content related to drunk driving that may not be appropriate for all students.)
- After giving students a couple of minutes to add thoughts to their handout, tell students they will watch a video about American Indians at the Standing Rock Reservation. Then play the second video, Native American Tribes Band Together to Block Oil Pipeline | PBS NewsHour [4:51].
- After giving students another couple of minutes to complete their handout, discuss as a class the pros and cons of the oil boom to American Indians.
- Ask students if they believe the oil boom is good for American Indians and to back up their answer with evidence from the handout/discussion.
- Discuss why American Indians have had to continue their fight for social justice in the United States.
Economic boom, employment, livelihood for many families including American Indians, increased energy production for the United States, reduced tribal debt
Potential water contamination, destruction of historical and cultural sites, violation of Sioux lands, lack of consent from American Indians, gangs, drug cartels, lack of housing for population boom, possible misuse of incoming wealth, increased traffic and traffic related deaths.
- Answers will vary.
Sample answer: No, I don’t believe the oil boom has positively affect American Indians because despite the jobs and money it was brought them, it could have disastrous environmental effects and has brought more issues such as a lack of housing and increased traffic incidents.
- Answers will vary.
Sample answer: American Indians have been marginalized almost since the very beginning of settlers’ interactions with them. Their land and livelihood was taken from them when Europeans/Americans arrived, and they essentially have had to fight for their rights ever since.