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In WATERBUSTER, filmmaker J. Carlos Peinado revisits his ancestral homeland in North Dakota to investigate the impact of the massive Garrison Dam project. Constructed in the 1950s by the Army Corps of Engineers, the dam destroyed a self-sufficient American Indian community, submerging 156,000 acres of fertile farmland and ranchland, and ultimately displaced Peinado's family and others at the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Peinado traces the footsteps of his maternal grandmother back to the reservation, where he learns more about the building of the Garrison Dam and the effects of the federal government's relocation policies upon sovereign Indian nations. Through interviews with elders, he begins to understand the proud and resilient nature of the Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation, their contributions to American culture and history, and their deep attachment to the harsh and storied landscape of the Northwestern prairie an attachment for which they paid a heavy price.

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