Small Town Guide Parshall North Dakota

Parshall, North Dakota is a small town in western North Dakota situated on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.  Parshall is located in Mountrail County and is southwest of the larger city of Minot and just east of the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea.  Its population was 903 according to the 2010 census, however with the recent discovery that the town sits on the Bakken Formation, a hotbed for crude oil, it has been growing rather quickly.  There are now over a thousand residents in this community,  The town’s Native American population is 55% of its population while whites make up 42%.  There are few people of other races.  Parshall has both an elementary school and high school. 

Parshall was a normal small town for many, many years.  Generation after generation of the same families grew up here and enjoyed the town’s quiet, sleepy nature.  However, when big oil companies invaded after the discovery of oil in 2006, the climate changed.  Oil workers came from all over the United States and from other countries, many not accustomed to the small town life and wealth became more of a focus than ever before.  Family life and morals began to be less and less important, something that has really been difficult for many longtime Parshall residents to accept.  On one hand, prosperity for the community is great, but on the other hand, small town values seem to be beginning to disappear. 

Planet Green featured a television series called Boomtown which premiered in 2011 and explored life in Parshall, the way it is now and the way it was in the past.  While many residents are quickly becoming wealthier than they eve have been with the discovery of oil on their land, others are not as not everyone’s land contains the highly coveted oil.  People who have gotten along and who have been a community for generations start having difficulties as they learn to deal with wealth.  Before the oil, the people in Parshall and its surrounding area on average made well-below what is considered average income in the United States.  Many have no idea of what to do with all of their new found money and resources.  Some spend their money too fast or buy many things they don’t need while others sit and watch and wish it was them.