September 9, 2019  (Web Review)

Predator on the Reservation

(2019) 60 min. DVD: $24.99 ($54.99 w/PPR). PBS Video (www.teacher.shop.pbs.org). SDH captioned. ISBN: 978-1-5317-0970-9.

Reviewer rating: 3.5/4

Made in collaboration with the Wall Street Journal, this PBS-aired Frontline documentary focuses on Dr. Stanley Weber, a pediatrician employed by the federal government’s Indian Health Service (IHS). WSJ initially uncovered the story of Weber’s horrendous track record as a medical professional serving children living on the nation’s Native American tribal reservations. Complaints that Weber was abusing his young patients circulated for decades and IHS officials failed to act on reports from hospital staff on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana and Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota regarding Weber’s behavior. While Weber’s criminal actions eventually caught up to him—in early 2019 he was sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for sexually abusing boys in his care at the Blackfeet reservation—the film warns that other IHS doctors evaded arrest for similar behavior. Predator on the Reservation features interviews with hospital administrators and staff, tribal police officers who investigated complaints against Weber, and the victims of Weber’s crimes and their families. Detailing both the unspeakable behavior by a medical professional against a disenfranchised population and the utter failure to respond to subsequent concerns, this tragic and disturbing documentary is highly recommended. Aud: C, P. (P. Hall)