The Land Doctors – Episode Nine – Healing the Wounded Land

The Land Doctors – Episode Nine – Healing the Wounded Land

In this
week’s of episode,
we’ll travel to the extreme
North-Eastern corner
of Oklahoma, where we will meet
an entire tribe
of land doctors.
Here, we will meet
the Quapaw tribe,
who were working hard to
heal a century old wound
on their land.

This program is sponsored
in part
by the Oklahoma Energy
Resources Board.
The OERB is voluntarily funded
by Oklahoma’s Oil
and Natural Gas Producers
and Royalty Owners
and their funds are being used
for well site restoration
and student education
all across the state.
Since 1993, the OERB has
restored more than 13,000
orphaned and abandoned
well sites at no cost
to the landowners or taxpayers
employing Oklahoma contractors
all along the way.
The OERB is proud to serve
the state of Oklahoma.

Daddy, where did those come
Well, let me tell ya.

Great Planes Kubota, your
Oklahoma Kubota dealer
and proud sponsor of
the Land Doctors.
For Earth.
For life.
This program is sponsored
and produced
by the Land Doctors
Management Group.
We all know that Oklahomans
belong to the land
but even the best of us need a
little help from time to time.
If you’ve got a spot
of land that you love
but would like to
make it even better,
we’re here to help.
Whether its wildlife,
water management,
natural resources management,
environmental cleanup,
or even real estate development
these doctors are always
on call.
I love the smell of
fresh dirt in the morning.
Smells like victory.

♪ I need the Oklahoma wind
to run ♪
♪ open through my veins. ♪
♪ I need the Indian grass
to cut right through ♪
♪ these long and
lonesome days ♪
♪ homeward bound. ♪
♪ I’m homeward bound. ♪
♪ I hear the scissortail calling
me from the Redbud trees ♪
♪ I hear the top water roar ♪
♪ in the still of the
days, ♪
♪ as the bass enjoy
their feast ♪
♪ homeward bound. ♪
♪ I’m homeward bound. ♪
♪ Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh. ♪
♪ I recognize that
front porch light ♪
♪ from a mile away. ♪
♪ Oh-oh-oh ♪
♪ This is a place that for all
my life I have come to stay ♪
♪ where I want to stay. ♪
Hi, Welcome to this week’s
episode of land doctors.
I’m Kelly Hurt.
And I’m John Berry, Chairman
of the Business Community
for the Quapaw Tribe.
Welcome to the
Quapaw nation.
Well John, we are here
next to what looks like
a huge gravel pile.
Tell me about where we are
and what we are seeing here.
Well, we are located right in
the pretty much the epicenter
what’s called the Tar
Creek Superfund site.
It’s the residual effects
of hard rock mining
in the sub surface of
where we are standing.
For years lead and
zinc was mined here,
provided the bullets
and a lot of the products
for the First and
Second World War.
But it was pretty much
taken from Quapaw land
and when they were done they
left it like it is today.
And this is one of the
largest superfund sites
in United States.
On the national priority
list its number one.
Its number one
It’s the largest.
Yes it’s about
40 square miles.
And so, the top of effects
that you’re seeing here
even today here are
obviously are the chat piles
as they call them.
What other kinds of effects
are you still seeing?
Well, there is a lot of residual
effect from the mining.
There is not only
these chat piles,
but there are
associated mill ponds.
Where they once had water,
they used that in the
processing of the material
and as the water evaporated,
it leaves a very fine
talcum powder sort of, uh,
this stuff in a finer form
in these mill ponds
and those are pretty much
the most hazardous sites
within this
hazardous site.
And what types of contaminants
are in those mill ponds.
Well, there is cadmium,
there is lead, there is zinc
and I’m sure there’s,
you know,
there is lot of the
other trace minerals
but those are the
three bad guys.
And with those
being heavy metals,
they never go away.
They’re here until
they’re removed
and disposed of correctly.
Yes sir, and we
have plans for that.
We also looked at
a couple places,
where there is looks
like there is water
just springing up on the ground
that’s sort of this reddish
orange color.
Sure, that’s sort of interesting
because we are standing on top
of a bunch caverns that
were manmade, dug out.
It was an aquifer that
was close to surface
and it contained high
levels of lead and zinc
and it wasn’t very deep so it
made it economical to mine
and it was very
high quality.
And what they did was
they pumped the water
out of this aquifer and
went in there and dug it out.
And then
because of pricing,
environmental laws and all
kinds of others reasons
in the 70’s they turned
off the pumps and left.
And the water coming out
is what happens in the,
there were times of the year
that the water evaporates
and runs out of the
mine workings,
air infiltrates the mine.
And then it being
raining here lately,
it gets flooded
with surface water
and the hydraulic
pressure squirts out.
All of the rust and
all the nasties
that are oxidized when
the oxygen is introduced
into the mine workings.
And so what you are seeing is
water that’s coming at one end
if it rain pushing out a
bunch of nasty water,
that’s built up with this
oxidation process subsurface.
So, underneath us is just
giant mines that go from here
to Joplin, Missouri.
So, it makes a soup of
nasty that builds up
during this dry spell
and then flows out
during the wet periods.
So, we are pretty
close to Pitcher, Oklahoma.
Tell me about Pitcher.
What’s the history
of that little town?
Well, the Quapaws were, came
from Arkansas in the 1830’s;
we began our migration to what,
this is our reservation.
In the late 1800’s early
1900’s in this Joplin area,
lead was becoming
pretty heavily mined.
And it was a little
deeper than what it is here
and as the market
for lead grew
and the need for lead grew,
the mining operations
moved west on to Indian land
and Pitcher was pretty much,
just employees of the
mining industry.
They came all from over the
United States and the world,
to work in these mines and
they just set up these camps.
And Pitcher just grew into
a sort of little town,
that was basically
started as a camp.
And that’s actually on Indian
land that’s own by Indians
but the government allowed
all these people,
I think there was
fifteen thousand people.
Fifteen thousand people?
One time, just right
down the road here
and Doucet, which was
like in suburb of Pitcher.
How many people
lived in Pitcher?
Fifteen thousand
lived in the suburbs.
I think it was fifty thousand
people at one time.
It was a huge economy
based on them
just stripping the resources
from underneath the surface
and loading it up
and taking it away.
And it was a
major operation,
I mean…
Well, just the sheer
number of people
that moved to this area
that gives you an idea
how large the mining
operation was.
And it’s basically,
what do you think
the population is here now?
Well, it’s seven people actually
have postal addresses here.
The Quapaw Tribe owns the rest
and we made it clear to the EPA
and to our friend
Senator Inhofe,
that we wouldn’t allow for any
more habitation of the area.
Because our plan
is to clean it up.
You know, we’re the
only crazy people
that wanted to buy
superfund site land
and because look the Quapaw’s
are geographically bound
by certain lines,
that place
would be Quapaw’s.
Now, with taking this much
out of the sub surface,
have you had any issues
with sink holes
or anything like that?
Oh Yeah!
Hopefully, we don’t
fall into the earth
as we are standing here.
One of the reasons, or the
reason we got Pitcher,
thankfully, Senator
Inhofe helped us
and helped the people
Pitcher by providing mining
to the state, to allow people
who are in danger of subsidence
to have their homes purchased,
so that they
could be relocated.
That’s why there are only
seven people left in Pitcher;
those were people that
didn’t take advantage
of that buyout.
And our agreement with senator
Inhofe and the EPA is that,
we’ll provide those
seven people with water
because we manage
the water system
and the sewage system now.
But, we will allow any
legacy once they’re done
we will just take cut off
the taps and stop anymore.
Because, it really is
dangerous there is equipment
that goes into holes
and the topography
changes all the time.
Our ultimate goal is have
a unified ownership
of the one piece of property
and then we wanted to begin
and build a
wet land system.
That really was started
by Governor Keating,
back in his administration and
but ours is little more grand.
His was small wet lands,
ours is one large wet land.
Topography wise,
the worse part of the
superfund site thankfully,
is a few feet lower
than the rest of area.
So, we believe we could flood
at four feet on the surface
and fill the mine workings
to stop that dynamic change
of the hydraulics and then get
a hold of the water on top
using heavy metal absorbing
plant life and clean it up.
And our goal is actually to use
it as the future potable
and drinking water
and potentially put a waste
water treatment plant.
A mechanical plant to
do the final filtration,
before we probably just
put it right back
into the spring river.
And that will
help not only us;
it will help eastern
Oklahoma tremendously
because Grand
Lake is the end.
You know, recipient of
all of this bad stuff.
We are mad about it,
but it doesn’t do any good
to get mad, we wanted to fix
it and make the best of it.
But, I’ll tell you
what is doing some good.
You guys are doing some
really innovative things
with your green houses and
your casino.
And you’re entire resort,
the way you’re managing it
and the way
you’re approaching it.
And that’s what we wanted to
go and check out next is,
to see yeah the
past is not good
but to see where you are
going in the future.
The future’s
good for us.
You know, we are Indians and we
think we have responsibilities
to our children and
grand children
to leave the Earth
in a better way.
Nobody made
you to do that.
Oh no, we did it because…
You wanted to.
And no one is
making you do this.
I mean everyone thinks
we’re crazy because we do
actively purchased land
within the superfund site.
Yeah, it’s your land.
It’s our land and
it’s our crazy.
Yup, Awesome!
Well, now I’m
with Tim Kent.
He is the environmental
director for the Quapaw Tribe
and he is going show
us one of the sites
that they have cleaned up.
Tim, tell us what
we have got here.
Well, what you are
seeing is the dirt,
the exposed dirt is actually
about 2 months ago
was completely
covered with chat.
You can actually see, you
can still see some chat
in the background.
So in the 1930’s, the
mining companies came in,
mined this area.
Most of the buildings were
deteriorated or pushed over
by the mining companies.
And the foundations
were covered with chat,
and once the mining stopped
this whole site was forgotten
basically, except by the tribe.
But, now the EPA is providing
money for clean up,
the tribe insisted that
the tribe themselves
clean up this property because
of the historic significance
to the tribe.
So, this is basically
what you’re looking at
is the first tribal
led superfund cleanup
in the nation ever.
Now, one of the things I have
noticed and you just mentioned
is that whether
removal of the chat,
now I can several
other structures.
One was the well house.
Yeah, the one that’s
down here on the end,
the tallest structure,
that was the well house
the water that serviced,
probably, oh a dozen buildings
or more.
All the water came from
that from that, a well
from that house there.
So that’s about the
most intact structure.
And then the other structures
there you see there
kind of fallen in,
these are,
these are buildings that
serve either as dormitories
or for you know a
nunnery or a church
you know, there were,
like I said,
there were probably
dozen buildings
in here one time.
Are there any plans to
try to do anything with
the whole buildings to restore?
The tribe’s talking about,
maybe you know the
tribe’s pow wow grounds,
which, incidentally, that’s been
a pow wow ground
since the 1830’s.
Would be able access this area
and experience it as
a historic site.
Well, that’s
pretty amazing.
It’s to see you know just look
at the next door property
and be able to see the layer
of chat that’s still there
and you look at this where
you removed it all.
You seen the
old structures,
its obvious how much
work’s gone into this.
I mean, you had to remove an
enormous amount of chat.
Yeah, I think we
moved probably
over a 100 thousand tones.
And you know, in about 2 or 3
weeks we are going to come in
and seed all this.
Hopefully, next year this
will all be green space
and it’ll look nice.
I think we are headed
to the green house now.
Let’s go check that out.
In this segment, we will be
talking to Gilbert Johnston.
And Gilbert is the reason
that we are even up here
to begin with.
And simply stated, a few weeks
ago I was eating in a restaurant
and I had the pleasure of eating
one your heirloom tomatoes
in a salad.
And so I spoke to the
manager there, Duke
and he started to tell me about
your green house operation here
and all that you were doing.
So, tell us little bit about
what you got going here?
Well, I have twenty different
varieties of herbs.
And I normally try to
whatever the chef’s request;
I try to get that for them.
So, they’re serving
them up in the kitchens,
we want our guests have as
many naturally grown herbs
and vegetables that they
can get in the kitchens
and that’s what I
try to do for them
and we’ve, it’s been successful.
Well, the herbs that are
piling on the tomatoes
on the crazy salad are killer.
I don’t know what I was
eating but I was loving it.
I mean we were
tearing into that stuff.
They’re delicious.
They come out about once
a week and see what herbs
I have going for them and then
they just place their orders.
And the herbs
that you eat,
when you eat in the
restaurant are cut that day.
Nothing is stored
in the coolers;
it’s all fresh
herbs for the day
and for the evening meals.
Oregano, mint, I mean there
is twenty different varieties
we can when walk
in through you,
I’ll be able to
point them out.
This is in chard.
Swiss chard.
That’s a Jewel
Swiss Chard and…
Yeah, it’s beautiful.
It’s beautiful on
the dinner plates.
That looks like.
Is that over there?
That’s Swiss chard.
That’s Swiss chard also?
All of it’s Swiss chard.
While some of them has yellow
stems and some of them
Yeah, that’s the jewel like
with the jewel color,
the jewel box different
colors white,
yellows and red.
Why don’t we walk down here
and look at these tomatoes.
I like the setup
that you have got.
Well these, I have
never seen the zebra.
The red zebra and completely
different good taste
than the others.
Can I taste one?
So, you can…
The more red they are
the more ripe they are
and that’s delicious just
like that right there.
Grab that one.
It’s got that good
sharp tomato taste.
Yeah, I love that taste.
it’s perfect.
Look at these,
these are huge!
That one is the Cherokee
purple and they are I imagine
they are at-least 2 pounds.
I actually raised some at
my place last year,
but they didn’t get
nearly that big.
Well, it’s my first
time of raising them
in a green house situation.
And I just think that has to
do with the size of them,
They’ve had good amount of
time to get that large.
I love what you doing.
Thank you very much.
I really do, I admire
what you doing here
and I appreciate the time man.
Thank you very much.
Now, we are going to go to cook
some of the stuff needed.
Yeah, and I’m looking for…
Well, you are going
to have a treat.
Yeah It’s delicious.
Let’s get out of here.
Alright, Thank you.
You’re welcome.
Now, that produce has
been grown and gathered,
we turn it over to the
two best cooks I know:
My wife Kristina and Chef Saul
of the Downstream Resort.
Hi my name is Kristina Hurt
and this is Chef Saul
and we are here in the
Downstream kitchen
and he is going to
make some tomato jam.
Tomato jam, bacon
rapped meat loaf,
some herb mashed potatoes
with all wonderful produce
from our garden.
Let’s get started.
Let’s do it.
Well, we are going
to start of here
with our heirloom tomato jam.
We are going to get
our zebra tomatoes
or chip chopped tomatoes.
We are going to start
first is dicing them up.
And those came out of
your green house, right?
Yeah, fresh this morning
picked everyday fresh.
That is so good and
it smells wonderful.
So, what we are
going to do here is,
we just going to dice these up
already have some diced
stuff right here.
So, I got to start heat
pan heating up here
on a medium heat, the most
started off with some
little bit of butter, you got
to have butter in everything.
Butter is best!
Little bit of butter, we’re
going to sauté some onions.
Once sweated up little
bit add our tomatoes,
we are also going to add little
bit of rice wine vinegar,
sugar and we’ll
reduce that down
so it becomes jam consistency.
We will let that cool down we’ll
jar it up in an mason jar.
So, basically this is
like fancy kitchen.
Yes, especially yes.
Is that’s basically, we
are just going to kick up
our meatloaf a little bit.
Just a little bit.
To keep it from being
every mundane thing.
Next time we make
meatoaf and tomato jam.
There ya go!
so with that
add our tomatoes,
with those going we are
going to add little
rice wine vinegar,
little bit of sugar,
Some nice cracked pepper,
I like to see my pepper
when I’m cooking.
I do too!
Then this will
just reduce down,
it will reduce down
and it will break apart,
it will become a
jam consistency,
the sugar will
thicken it up,
become syrup with
the rice vinegar.
Then we cool the
product down.
We have our
product done here.
I have done few days ago, we
jarred it up in our mason jars
and that is our heirloom
tomato jam.
That’s going to go on top of
our bacon wrapped meatloaf.
Here we go its good stuff.
Can I try that?
Try a little bit of that?
There you go.
Oh, I love that.
It is so good, it
is really good.
This is a Wagyu, which is a
domestic style Kobe Beef
and it has a prime, uh prime
ribeye in there
We will grind it up and
will do homemade sliders
and meat balls with that.
So, we are going to do some
bacon rapped meatloaf.
We are going to this.
That’s awesome.
Kind a form it, so it
holds together.
Like this.
Fold this over.
Now, that you have the bacon
laid out on parchment paper.
Parchment paper.
Just shingle it, roll it over
Oops, it’s broke
but that’s fine.
It will be alright.
And here we go.
Look at that.
We’ve got a nice cocoon.
A prime beef in
a bacon cocoon.
Here you go.
Bacon just makes
everything better.
After this, you goanna
want to wrap it in a foil,
wrap it up in foil
to serve the ends,
put it on the sheet pan cook
it off for about 40 minutes
at 350.
Once it’s
cooked to about 120,
you pull it pull the paper off
and crisp up the
bacon in the oven
and there you go you just have
your cocoon of meat loaf.
Here we go; we got the
finished product right here.
That’s nice.
Put them to the side.
What I have made already
was a sour cream
and herb mashed potatoes with
our herbs from the garden.
We have a flat leaf Italian
parsley, some thyme,
chive, and we have a
little bit of rosemary
and with this I wanted to do
is just pull the rosemary
right of the stem..
rosemary’s a
little strong,
so you don’t want
too much rosemary.
Get your flat
leaf parsley.
So are you growing herbs
yet in the green house.
Yes, we have about fifteen
different kinds of herbs.
We have mint, basil,
different kinds of basil
thyme, two types of
parsley rosemary chives,
cilantro, tarragon,
you name it’s there.
We’ve also got some
vegetables growing,
These are Thumbelina carrots
that came out of the garden
that will be serving
with meat enough too.
That’s cool.
Cool little guys right here.
Like I said, I have some
potatoes already done.
We got to bake
this meat loaf up,
get it cut,
you guys will be eating some
bacon wrapped prime meat loaf
here in a couple of minutes.
Here we go.
Finish it off
with our tomato jam.
The more the merrier.
and walla there you go,
bacon wrapped meat loaf.
Thank you so much.
Umm…That is so good.
It’s hard for
you to imagine,
having not gone
with this morning.
The destruction we saw, I
mean just a few miles away
just absolute rape and pilage of
the earth just
You know even then
to the 1970’s,
that close to an area where
you’ve got a tribe,
specifically the
Quapaw’s that are here,
they are raising
their own food,
they are trying to
reclaim their land,
restore the land
and it’s just…
I don’t know
it’s amazing to me,
sort of the contrast between
where we were as state
years ago and what’s
going on now.
My hat’s off to him.
Yeah. It’s awesome!
They are good folks.
Good food.
Good times.
Good times.
Well, that wraps up another
episode of Land Doctors.
We hope you enjoyed today’s
For more information on this and
other episodes,
please go to
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Leroy, I thought I told you to
stay in the truck!

♪ I need the Oklahoma wind
to run ♪
♪ open through my veins. ♪
♪ I need the Indian grass
to cut right through ♪
♪ these long and
lonesome days ♪
♪ homeward bound. ♪
♪ I’m homeward bound. ♪
♪ I hear the scissortail calling
me from the Redbud trees ♪
♪ I hear the top water roar ♪
♪ in the still of the
days, ♪
♪ as the bass enjoy
their feast ♪
♪ homeward bound. ♪
♪ I’m homeward bound. ♪
♪ Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh. ♪
♪ I recognize that
front porch light ♪
♪ from a mile away. ♪
♪ Oh-oh-oh ♪
♪ This is a place that for all
my life I have come to stay ♪
♪ where I want to stay. ♪

This program is sponsored
in part
by the Oklahoma Energy
Resources Board.
The OERB is voluntarily funded
by Oklahoma’s Oil
and Natural Gas Producers
and Royalty Owners
and their funds are being used
for well site restoration
and student education
all across the state.
Since 1993, the OERB has
restored more than 13,000
orphaned and abandoned
well sites at no cost
to the landowners or taxpayers
employing Oklahoma contractors
all along the way.
The OERB is proud to serve
the state of Oklahoma.
Captioning by
Critical Mass Productions

1 thought on “The Land Doctors – Episode Nine – Healing the Wounded Land”

  1. In the future, I think that no company should be allowed to just up and leave an area without complete and effective restoration of all the land and natural resources that they have destroyed. Also, where are the Quapaw Tribe putting all the chat that they are removing? And is the land that they intend to re-seed completely decontaminated? This was a really interesting documentary!! 

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