In a controversial move, the Nevada State Liquor Control Board voted unanimously in April of this year to revoke the liquor licenses of the four stores of Whiteclay, Nebraska. This marks the first time in nearly a century and a half that the town will be unable to sell alcohol, its sole industry since its founding in the early 1880s.

 

The town is located just a few miles from the border of the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux reservation, in Southern South Dakota. The reservation was established with laws that strictly prohibited the sale of any alcohol to its residents. This was due to a perceived tendency of Native Americans to excessively imbibe, eventually leading to higher rates of alcoholism among their population.

 

But this good-hearted effort was quickly circumvented by entrepreneurs in the neighboring state of Nebraska. The town of Whiteclay was formed, and for the next 135 years, it would serve the thirsty residents of the Pine Ridge reservation, even if they couldn’t legally buy alcohol at home.

 

But now they can no longer purchase beer or wine in Whiteclay either. Staring on May 1, the four stores that operated in the town will no longer be able to legally sell alcohol. This has led to a dramatic spike in business in Rushville, Nebraska, a town located 21 miles to the south of Whiteclay. While many observers cheered the move by the Liquor Board to finally shut down the sales to the Sioux, many others are worried that the increase in traffic to Rushville, located many miles further down the road, will lead to a spike in drunk driving.

Categories: Native American, The Lakota Sioux Travel

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