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2017-04-20 / Front Page

No More Profits From Addiction: Whiteclay stores lose licenses

BY BRANDON ECOFFEY
LCT EDITOR


“Former Oglala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer (far left) sits with longtime Native American advocate and anti-Whiteclay activist Frank Lamere awaiting the decision from the Nebraska Liquor Commission.” Photo by Matt Miller- Omaha World Herald “Former Oglala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer (far left) sits with longtime Native American advocate and anti-Whiteclay activist Frank Lamere awaiting the decision from the Nebraska Liquor Commission.” Photo by Matt Miller- Omaha World Herald WHITECLAY, NE --Four Nebraska stores known for selling millions of cans of beer each year near to residents of the Oglala Lakota Nation have lost their liquor licenses.

The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission’s ruling on Wednesday could potentially force an end to beer sales in Whiteclay.

State regulators reviewed the stores’ licenses amid year’s of complaints from tribal leaders, activists and nonnative advocates that the town does not have adequate law enforcement to address the high rates of violence and crime there and that it contributes to traffic fatalities and addiction just across the border on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation..

In vote of 3-0 the commission denied the application from four beer outlets that sought their license to sell alcohol.

Whiteclay has had four liquor stores in operation for decades despite the fact that census numbers indicate that less than a dozen people actually reside there. The current holders of the licenses are Arrowhead Inn, the Jumping Eagle Inn, D&S Pioneer Service and State Line Liquor.

Despite the obvious impact that alcohol sales have had on the adjacent reservation, the Sheridan County Board of Commissioners attempted to convince the liquor commission that law enforcement is sufficient and that the licenses should have been renewed. The county is a primary benefactor of taxes collected due to the millions of cash profits that circulate through the tiny town each year.

The four stores have operated in Whiteclay for decades, and are expected to appeal the ruling.

Advocates have linked the stores to the reservation’s high rates of alcoholism and poverty as it is the closest place where residents of Pine Ridge can purchase alcohol. The Oglala Sioux Tribe bans alcohol on the reservation, but the law is hard to enforce as law enforcement is stretched thin across the sprawling reservation.

Whiteclay has been the site of several unsolved murders and thousands of unaddressed petty crimes over the last several decades.

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at editor@lakotacountrytimes.com)

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