On June 9th, the Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation will march for justice against the genocide of opportunist alcohol dealers in the border town of Whiteclay, Nebraska. A caravan will be leaving from Wisconsin on June 7th to join them, and other members of Deep Green Resistance, in the struggle. To help make this action successful, we are calling for allies willing to come to the action in solidarity, or support the effort materially. If this speaks to you, and you want to help, please get in touch, or visit here to donate monetarily.
Brief History of Whiteclay
Whiteclay is an unincorporated village with a population of 14 people in northwest Nebraska. The town sits on the border of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota (also known as the Oglala Sioux Tribe). Whiteclay lies on disputed land, merely 200 feet from the official reservation border and less than 3 miles from the center of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the largest town on the reservation. Sale and possession of alcoholic beverages on the Pine Ridge is prohibited under tribal law. Except for a brief experiment with on-reservation liquor sales in the early 1970s, this prohibition has been in effect since the reservation lands were created. Whiteclay has four off-sale beer stores licensed by the State of Nebraska which sell the equivalent of 4.5 million 12-ounce cans of beer annually (12,500 cans per day), mostly to the Oglalas living on Pine Ridge. These retailers routinely violate Nebraska liquor law by selling beer to minors and intoxicated persons, knowingly selling to bootleggers who resell the beer on the reservation, permitting on-premise consumption of beer in violation of restrictions placed on off-sale-only licenses, and exchanging beer for sexual favors. The vast majority of those who purchase beer in Whiteclay have in fact no legal place to consume it, since possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the Pine Ridge Reservation remain illegal under tribal law. Many people have died in the streets due to exposure, as the state of Nebraska fails to uphold state law or police Whiteclay. As long as the liquor stores in Whiteclay remains in business, the genocide of the Oglala Lakota people will continue.
In 1999 two Lakota men were brutally murdered in Whiteclay. This sparked a series of marches and rallies led by various activist groups, including members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Nebraskans for Peace, demanding that Nebraska revoke the liquor licenses of Whiteclay’s stores and increase law enforcement in the area. Tribal activists of the Strong Heart Warrior Society have conducted annual blockades since 1999, trying to intercept alcohol and drugs being brought into the reservation. In June 2006 tribal activists protested beer sales by blockading the road from Pine Ridge to Whiteclay and confiscating beer bought in Whiteclay. These activists hoped to prevent bootlegging and illegal sales on the reservation. This action in June will be a continuation of these efforts, and will potentially be an attempt to block both sides of town. Help us send the message: “No more liquor in Whiteclay!”
We will leave Wisconsin on June 7th, camp out in Jefferson, SD with an organizer from DGR Great Plains. On June 8th, we will rendezvous with other allies at the Wounded Knee Museum in Pine Ridge, SD, at 3:00pm, and camp out that night. The next morning, we will gather at Billy Mills Hall in the town of Pine Ridge, SD at 11:00am and begin the march to Whiteclay, NE at 12:00pm noon.
DGR Wisconsin is inviting all allies in the state, and beyond, to join us in the caravan or help us to raise funds for food and gas. Your solidarity and support are appreciated.
To learn more or ask questions, please contact Ben Cutbank by e-mail or phone: (262) 208-5347