Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Oil bust puts tribes, towns over a barrel


Three years ago, as Forrest Smith walked around an old oilfield on the Fort Peck Reservation, in the remote northeastern corner of Montana, he spoke optimistically about the potential for the Bakken oil boom to reach the reservation and pull the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes out of poverty. Smith, the tribes’ minerals director, called the Bakken — a geologic, economic, and cultural phenomenon exploding on the Northern Plains — “a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Since then, oil prices have nosedived from around $100 per barrel to, for a time, less than $30.

I phoned Smith last week. “There was no light at the end of the tunnel.”


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