Whiteclay, NE – Activists from across the country participated in an act of civil disobedience in the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska. Members of Deep Green Resistance, Unoccupy Albuquerque, Occupy Lincoln, and Lakota organizers attached U-Locks to their necks and strung a chain between pairs of activists, blockading the road running through the town to bring attention to the town’s infamous liquor industry. After blocking the main road running through the town for 3 and a half hours, police agreed to work with Lakota women to investigate the plethora of crimes and abuses committed by the owners of the four alcohol peddlers in Whiteclay.
In addition to the blockade, the Lakota women posted eviction notices, which gave the alcohol stores 30 days to change their business and stop selling alcohol. The organizers are also determined to take on the brewers who supply the stores.
“The action in Whiteclay is the first in a series of assaults that will ensure that the poisons of Anheiser-Busch and Coors do not infect another Generation of Our Lakota here within Our homelands,” said Olowan Martinez, one of the Lakota organizers of the action.
Speaking on the strong stand taken by herself and other Lakota women, Martinez said “We the life-givers of this Nation are expecting in 30 days of June 9,2012 that these businesses are to agree to change their type of Business. If they refuse to do so, We, the Women will consider it a breach of peace against Our future generations. It is our responsibility as Life Givers of the Lakota Nation to protect Our Future by any means necessary, not only in Whiteclay Nebraska, but also the border towns of Interior, Gordon, Martin, Boondocks, Rushville, and Olreichs.”
The four liquor stores in Whiteclay (a town with a population of 14) act with chronic illegality and a total lack of ethical concern. The stores repeatedly violate the terms of their liquor licenses on the daily bases by allowing on premise consumption of alcohol as well as selling to those who are intoxicated. The liquor stores of White Clay are notorious for selling to minors, and it is common knowledge that the dealers sell alcohol for sexual favors and sexually assault women.
The act of civil disobedience took place after the 2012 March for Justice, an annual march from Pine Ridge to Whiteclay in memory of the victims of Whiteclay, including Loren & Wally Black Elk and Ron Hard Heart. Several hundred participated in the march, demanding justice for the countless victim’s of Whiteclay’s alcohol. As the march came to a close, seven activists locked themselves together and blocked the single road running through the town of Whiteclay. The action cost the liquor businesses an estimated $1000 in liquor sales in the ongoing struggle against alcohol-fueled genocide of the Oglala Lakota.
“Deep Green Resistance is here today to stand with the Oglala Lakota people against Whiteclay, which is an instrumental piece of the ongoing genocide of the Lakota people and their culture. As allies, we are here to put our bodies on the line in solidarity with their struggle,” said T.R. McKenzie, a participant in the lockdown and coordinator of Deep Green Resistance Great Plains.
The blockade ended after the police signed a written agreement, promising to meet and work with the Lakota women on a joint-investigation into the rampant illegal activity and abuse of the Whiteclay alcohol stores. Provided with the opportunity to have a direct impact on the alcohol infrastructure of Whiteclay the blockade was concluded.
Justice is far from complete, and Whiteclay continues to enable and enact the destruction of the Oglala Lakota and the people of Pine Ridge. The continued subjugation of the Oglala Lakota of the Pine Ridge Reservation will not end as long as the liquor stores in Whiteclay continue to operate. If the concessions granted do not bring about the change demanded by the Lakota women, or if those in power do not live up to their end of the bargain within 30 days, escalation in this struggle will continue.