Law | National

Nebraska county backs liquor licenses in reservation border town






A 2013 protest against liquor sales in Whiteclay, Nebraska. Photo: Unedited Media

Native activists and their supporters continue efforts to shut down the sale of liquor in a reservation border town in Nebraska.

The village of Whiteclay is home to fewer than 20 people. But four liquor stores there sell the equivalent of 3.5 million cans of beer a year, mostly to residents of the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation, exacerbating high rates of alcoholism, crime and other problems.

Despite the issues, the board of commissioners in Sheridan County voted 3-0 on Tuesday to support liquor licenses for D & S Pioneer Service, State Line Liquor, Jumping Eagle Inn and Arrowhead Inn, according to the minutes from the meeting.

“For them to renew the licenses in the face of all the evidence we heard is unconscionable but not unexpected,” activist Frank LaMere, a member of the Winnebago Tribe, told the Associated Press. “That is how the ‘good old boys’ work, I guess.”

The final decision will be made by the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, which typically accepts the recommendations of local governments. The Whiteclay licenses are expected to be considered at a public meeting in March, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

Liquor sales are banned at Pine Ridge, home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, whose leaders also have pressed Nebraska to address the situation in Whiteclay.

Read More on the Story:
Sheridan commissioners recommend approval of Whiteclay beer store licenses (The Lincoln Journal Star 1/10)
Sheridan County Board recommends renewal of Whiteclay beer outlets' liquor licenses (The Omaha World-Herald 1/10)
Nebraska town’s massive beer sales likely not in danger (AP 1/10)
Public speaks up about Whiteclay problems at liquor license hearings (The Sheridan County Journal Star 1/6)

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