Kevin Abourezk: The search for solutions at Whiteclay

"Bruce BonFleur sees more than desperation, more than sadness in the eyes of the men and women he meets every day on the dusty streets of Whiteclay.

He sees hope, and he sees a desire to improve their lives.

"The street people of Whiteclay and Pine Ridge matter," he said. "They are entitled to our help, and they are able to help themselves."

That's just what BonFleur wants to do: give those who spend their days and nights drinking beer in Whiteclay a chance to work and feed themselves.

But BonFleur, director of the ABOUT group, a Christian outreach ministry in Whiteclay, knows he can't create jobs and hope alone.

"We're looking for positive solutions," he said, "but to get to those positive solutions, some things need to happen."

Some things are happening, as evidenced Friday when Gov. Dave Heineman and other state officials flew to Gordon to meet with Oglala Sioux tribal leaders to explore solutions to massive alcohol sales at Whiteclay.

The meeting was part of a coordinated effort to improve conditions in the border town, an effort that has resulted in two bills introduced this session aimed at alleviating health and social ills among Native people.

Recent efforts to improve conditions for Native people have extended beyond the halls of the State Capitol, however."

Get the Story:
A search for solutions at Whiteclay (The Lincoln Journal Star 1/31)

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