“My name is Lisa DeVille, and I am an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. I’ve lived my whole life in Mandaree, which is on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Over the past ten years, I’ve watched oil and gas turn our reservation into an industrial zone…it’s totally changed our way of life.”



“Right now, there’s about 1,500 oil and gas wells on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Many of those are flaring 24-7, which means that you can see gas flares in every direction you look. They sound like the roaring of a jet engine, and they can light up the night sky as bright as day. And this is gas that could be used to heat thousands of homes. It’s so strange. They just treat it like a byproduct.”




Infrared video footage of air pollution from an oil and gas well site in Mandaree, right near Lisa’s house. Here’s what Lisa has to say about the air emissions in her area.

“My husband and I conducted a survey here in Mandaree. We went door to door, and surveyed 149 people…we just decided to do it on our own, since no one else was doing it. Mandaree’s population is around 1000, so we surveyed about 15% of the town. And what we found is that most people here are very concer<span class=”text_exposed_show”>ned about air quality. 79.1% of Mandaree residents consider air quality extremely important. And 72.5% think that the flaring in our area is a problem.”



“As Native Americans, this is the only land we have left. Our creation stories come from the earth — and we’re not supposed to be doing what we’re doing to the earth. Everything has a spirit, and everything is life. I’m not saying I’m an expert. I’m just someone who knows we have a human right to clean air, clean land and clean water. People who don’t live here and aren’t from here are making decisions for us. The white people who live in Bismarck don’t have gas flares a few yards from their homes. But they get to make the decisions, and we don’t even know the impacts will be. So I want stricter laws and I want stricter enforcement from the Bureau of Land Management. I want stronger inspections, rules and regulations. The industry needs to take care of what’s happened.”



Lisa: “A lot of people are very hesitant to speak out about the oil and gas industry. Many of them feel that if they say something, they’re going to face some kind of retaliation. Or they don’t want to expose their family to any risks. That’s why everyone just kind of keeps quiet, or turns away. No one wants their name out there. ‘Don’t say my name,’ they say. So that’s one thing I make sure of–not to say people’s names, even if I know how they feel in private. And their fear is justified. If you work for the tribe, and you don’t agree with whatever the tribal chairman or the tribal council say, you can get fired.”

Walter: “There’s only 50 or so people in the area that are actually trying to say or do something about the oil and gas development. But there’s probably another 100 or 200 more that want to say something but can’t. Because they’re, like my wife said, they’re going to be retaliated against.”



“I’m worried about what’s happening here, but that doesn’t mean I’m resigned to it. We need to get organized. We need to create laws, and enforce those laws with policy and procedure, because, right now, we’re facing a lot of impacts. And we’re not holding the industry accountable in the way that we should be. That should be the role of the government, but instead, it’s fallen to Dakota Resource Council, and Fort Berthold POWER, and all the people brave enough to stand up for themselves. For our state, and our people.”

Lisa and Walter DeVille
Mandaree, ND