For more than 125 years, the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska has served just one purpose. It has existed for the sole purpose of circumventing the ban on alcohol sales throughout the neighboring Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux Reservation.

For more than 125 years, the town has been a major lightening rod for activists wishing to stop the sale of alcohol to the Native American residents of the reservation, who have suffered from disproportionately high rates of alcoholism and fetal alcohol syndrome for nearly the entirety of the reservation’s existence.

But despite ongoing efforts over the decades, the movement to shutter the beer stores of Whiteclay never really picked up momentum until 2016, when it was first acknowledged by the Nebraska Liquor Control Board that they would consider arguments to deny the renewal of the town’s liquor licenses, which they need in order to legally sell beer to the Pine Ridge Natives. The stores are located just a couple thousands yards over the state line, adjacent to the reservation.

But now, it appears that the stores have played their final hand. After appealing the denial of their liquor license renewals to the Nevada State Supreme Court, the liquor stores have lost their bid to have the decisions of the Liquor Board overturned. Betting on a technicality, the lawyer for the stores reported that the court had found against his clients, stating that the original court did not have standing to even rule on the point in contention.

It now appears that the stores will stay closed for good.

Categories: Native American, Native American Culture, Nebraska, Whiteclay

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