Whiteclay Background

The Alcohol Harms of Whiteclay


On the border between Whiteclay, Nebraska, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota, the members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe are fighting for their lives. They are building community resistance to the destructive influence of Big Alcohol. The reservation is dry, no alcohol is permitted. But exploitative beer sales (3.9 million cans in 2012), from the four stores just across the border in Whiteclay, are causing catastrophic alcohol-related harm. On the reservation, 2/3 of the native adult population are alcoholics, 1/4 of the children born there suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The traditional way of life has been shattered and the Oglala Sioux are organizing and taking action to turn back the tide of alcohol-fueled destruction. Between suing Big Beer for deliberately targeting tribal members to staging rallies and resistance demonstrations, the tribe is fighting an uphill battle to stop generations of illegal alcohol activity that include:

  • Retailer participation in alcohol smuggling into the Pine Ridge Reservation
  • Trade of alcohol for sex
  • Loitering at the premises of alcohol retailers with open containers
  • The inability of Nebraska Liquor Commission to stop illegal retailer activity
  • Recent homicides and physical violence
  • Alcohol sales to minors                                                                  
  • Alcohol sales to intoxicated people

Alcohol Justice stands with the members of the Pine Ridge Reservation and is actively supporting their quest for a healthier community. Read on for more details.