Published September 30, 2017
LINCOLN – The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday, September 29, gave those opposed to four beer stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska a big victory. The high court’s ruling prevents the stores from reopening.
Whiteclay, a village with less than 10 residents, sold over four million cans of beer annually. The small village is across the state line from South Dakota into Nebraska. It is located two miles from Pine Ridge Village on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which does not allow alcoholic beverage sales on its reservation.
Longest Walk 5.2 protest alcohol sales to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation residents in Whiteclay, Nebraska in early April 2017. Native News Online photo by Arthur Jacobs
Friday’s decision ranks with the 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn as one of the most significant wins ever for the Lakota people, said Frank LaMere, a Winnebago activist who had sought the end of Whiteclay beer sales for 20 years told the Lincoln Journal Star.
“Today will be a red-letter day in Oglala Lakota history,” LaMere said.
On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, the Nebraska Liquor Commission voted to deny the renewals for the four retail stores in Whiteclay. The owners appealed the commission’s decision to a district court on April 27, but the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office appealed that decision, superseding the district court’s decision.
The Supreme Court ruled Friday that the lack of notice to those opposed to the four stores was improper, which denied all concerned parties an opportunity to appear in court. So the Supreme Court vacated the district court judge’s order because he laced the jurisdiction to even hear the appeal.
“We’re very happy with their decision, and hopefully we can start the healing process for our people, especially our children,” commented former Oglala Sioux Tribe President Bryan Brewer, who has been a leader to close the four stores.