The Nebraska Liquor Control Board has recently voted unanimously to end the 130 year reign of Whiteclay, Nebraska as the go-to watering hole for the residents of the dry Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux reservation. The town has long served as a means by which the reservation’s residents, many of whom have historically struggled with alcoholism, could bypass the blanket ban on alcohol sales in their hometown. The recent vote is the first step towards permanently removing the relatively easy access to alcohol for the area’s Natives.
However, the owners of the four stores that make up the town have vowed not to go down without a fight. Their lawyer, Andrew Snyder, has stated that there are serious procedural issues with how the vote was carried out. He also feels there are substantive issues of law that may prevent the vote from ultimately being accepted as binding. But legal issues aren’t the only ones being faced by those who wish to see Whiteclay consigned to the history books.
Sheriff Terry Robbins, Sheridan County, Nebraska’s, top cop, says that Whiteclay, within his jurisdiction, actually served as a sort of release valve for the worst drunks of the Pine Ridge reservation. Robbins, with decades of law enforcement experience, says that these types of alcoholics will get their fix one way or another. He fears that the removal of the easy booze available in Whiteclay will only lead to a dramatic increase in drunk driving within his county, as liquor-seekers take to the roads, driving hundreds of miles to score beer.
Categories: Native American, Native American Culture, Nebraska