The town of Whiteclay, Nebraska has long been famous as the only town in America whose sole reason for existence was the provision of beer. Located just 5 miles from the Oglala Sioux Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Whiteclay had been selling beer and liquor to the reservation’s residents since the late 1800s.
But now, the Nevada Liquor Control Board has revoked the licenses of the four stores in the town, leaving them unable to continue their sole line of trade. The owners of the stores held out hope, taking their case all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court. But in a recent decision, the court rejected their petition, leaving the stores with no further options for appealing the decision of the Liquor Board. It appears that after more than 125 years of alcohol sales to the local Native Americans, the liquor stores of White Clay, Nebraska will finally be shuttered for good.
The news has been lauded by many, including anti-alcoholism activists as well as some Native American groups, who view the shutting of the stores as a major victory in the long fight to rid the Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux reservation of alcoholism. But not everyone is pleased.
Chris Heiser, the mayor of nearby Rushville, Nebraska, has stated that his town has witnessed a notable uptick in both drunk driving arrests and alcohol-related accidents. Heiser believes that the majority of these cases are due to Pine Ridge residents driving the 25 miles to his town to buy the beer they used to get in Whiteclay.