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Native Sun News Today: Whiteclay liquor sales up for review again

Filed Under: Business | National
More on: border towns, liquor, native sun news, oglala sioux, south dakota, whiteclay

A 2013 protest at a liquor store in Whiteclay, Nebraska. Photo: Unedited Media

Whiteclay, the ‘Skid Row of the Plains’
By Cecily Hilleary
Voice of America
Special to Native Sun News Today

Next month, Nebraska’s state liquor commission will decide the fate of the tiny but notorious town of Whiteclay, population 12, whose livelihood depends on selling beer—more than 12,000 cans a day, mostly to vulnerable Lakota natives from the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which sits only about 60 meters away, over the border in South Dakota.

Marsha and Bruce Bonfleur have operated Lakota Hope, a Christian service ministry in both Whiteclay and Pine Ridge for more than a dozen years.

“During that period we witnessed a lot in the way of human suffering,” said Bruce Bonfluer in an email. “On any given day in good weather, there probably averaged 25 to 30 Lakota men and women struggling with alcohol and life on the street.” On some days, he said, the numbers would double.

“Every day in Whiteclay, there are dozens and dozens of alcohol-consumption violations; people passed out, fighting, etc.,” he continued. And because there are no public restrooms in the town, people urinate, or worse, in the open street or behind trees.

“Public health is a huge concern, always,” he said, “and law enforcement is woefully inadequate.”

For at least two decades, activists have been asking for the state of Nebraska to shut the stores down, resorting to blockades, marches and lawsuits. They blame Whiteclay, which has been dubbed the “skid row of the Plains,” for fueling rampant alcoholism on the reservation.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Whiteclay, the ‘Skid Row of the Plains’

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