After Whiteclay: Activists seek justice for Whiteclay victimsBy Kimberly Greager
Native Sun News Today Correspondent
nativesunnews.today WHITECLAY, NE. - Exactly one year after the Nebraska Supreme Court made their historic ruling that closed four beer stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska, a group of activists and citizens gathered to talk to the Nebraska State Patrol about the unsolved deaths in the tiny border town. For decades, the four beer stores located in a town with less than a dozen residents sold nearly four million cans of beer each year. With the closest law enforcement located 22 miles away, crime became commonplace in Whiteclay. Over the years, there have been several deaths in and around Whiteclay that remain unsolved. In April of 1997, Little John Means was found by his brother, Frank, frozen with a scraped fist thrust upward. Means was a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient. The Sheridan County Sheriff stated there was nothing suspicious about Means death and that he likely died of exposure. Means family disagrees, believing there was foul play. On a sunny June day in 1999, the beaten bodies of Wilson Black Elk, Jr. and Ronald Hard Heart were found near the road between Whiteclay and Pine Ridge. They had last been seen in Whiteclay. Authorities ruled the deaths homicides and the FBI is still searching for new information in the investigation. The FBI website states there is a “$50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible” for the murders of Hard Heart and Black Elk. In December of 2012, Sanford Wounded Foot was found dead in the streets of Whiteclay. His family believes he was beaten to death but the Sheridan County Sheriff did not believe foul play was involved. Just four years later, Sherry Wounded Foot, Sanford’s sister, was found beaten and unresponsive in Whiteclay. She died twelve days later from her injuries. Her death has been ruled a homicide and is currently being investigated by Sheridan County. These were the deaths that were brought up and discussed at the meeting with the Nebraska State patrol during the third annual Whiteclay Leadership Summit. Frank LaMere, Winnebago, a Native American activist and civil rights leader, started the talks by saying it is time to move on and heal from Whiteclay, but first we need to square up the past, stating, “We have got to find out what happened to Ronald Hard Heart, we’ve got to find out what happened to Wilson Black Elk, to Little John Means, to Sherry Wounded Foot, and others. We have no place to turn but here.” Both LaMere and John Maisch, a Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma, former prosecutor for the Oklahoma Assistant Attorney General and General Counsel for the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, and creator of the documentary film ‘Sober Indian, Dangerous Indian’, voiced their concerns with the Sheridan County Sheriff holding primary jurisdiction over Wounded Foot’s case.
Contact Kimberly Greager at firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright permission Native Sun News Today
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