HUGE VICTORY FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES!!!
After a long fight, on April 19, 2017, the Nebraska Liquor Control Commissions decided to not allow the renewal of liquor licenses to anyone in Whiteclay, NE. This is an immense victory for all indigenous people, but especially those who have been fighting to see the liquid genocide of Native Americans end in Whiteclay.
Frank LaMere, one of my all-time heroes and favorite people, has been working on this cause for decades. On the right is a picture of his reaction when the decision was announced to the public. Even though you can’t see his face, it is clear that he is overwhelmed with emotions and most likely relief.
Native Americans haven’t seen too many major victories so this day was extremely exciting for a lot of people, myself included. I probably won’t ever forget the moment when I heard the news. I refreshed my social media more than a dozen times, praying for that little miracle to happen.
Thankfully, it did and everyone could celebrate a day that would most definitely go down in history.
Unfortunately, just a few days later, a judge overturned the ruling allowing for the liquor stores to remain open and selling alcohol until yesterday, April 30.
“That denial, based on a finding of inadequate law enforcement in the unincorporated Sheridan County hamlet, was thrown out Thursday by Lancaster County District Court Judge Andrew Jacobsen, who cited a previous Nebraska Supreme Court ruling in stating that the commission overstepped its authority and should automatically renew the licenses.”
“The Attorney General’s office immediately appealed that ruling, triggering a law that puts lower court decisions on hold for up to six months any time a state agency appeals to the state Supreme Court or Court of Appeals.” -Lincoln Journal Star
Even though the fight is not over, at least there will be a pause in the distribution of alcohol in Whiteclay. Yesterday was also a day to be celebrated and remembered, especially as the stores closed early on Sunday. LaMere and his fellow activists did just that. LaMere traveled to Whiteclay and did a short interview with the local news channel, but a majority of it was not heavily covered in the media. It’s a little frustrating that it wasn’t exactly breaking news across the country, but baby steps!
As the rest of the article states, it is important that activists and members of the Pine Ridge Reservation community come together to create a place that is helpful for those who were regulars at Whiteclay and are suffering from addictions. They don’t want people coming in and suffering because of this change. The goal is to turn Whiteclay into a town that could be beneficial to those people.
Activists, like Frank LaMere, are looking towards what can be done now that will keep Whiteclay from reverting back into its old ways. Some of their ideas include public restrooms, fixing up some of the buildings to be used for small business or a gathering place for people. I have even heard a few interviews in which people hope to see a rehabilitation center come into effect.
All of these would be a huge improvement over liquor stores. Right now, all I can do is hope and pray that this streak of miracles continues on!