By Karla Ramaekers
Published: March 23, 2010, 10:05 PM
WHITECLAY, NE – A town so small it’s unincorporated and claims less than 15 full-time residents is a source of turmoil for an entire tribe of people. Whiteclay, Nebraska, sits just 400 yards off of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and has no schools, no churches and no public bathrooms. But four establishments sell 4.1 million cans of beer each year to the men and women who live on the nearby ‘dry’ reservation.
“It is a third-world country. We don’t have to go to Haiti, we don’t have to go to Africa, it’s right there, in Nebraska,” substance abuse expert Terryl Blue-White Eyes said.
Just two miles south of Pine Ridge, the tiny village of Whiteclay, Nebraska, is a dumping ground for empty bottles and a meeting place for people who spend their days under the influence.
“It has no other purpose. Except to sell alcohol,” Blue-White Eyes said.
Blue-White Eyes says four establishments along Whiteclay’s street sell more than 4,100,000 cans of beer every year, most to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
“We talk about a dry reservation, and we’re not a dry reservation. You know, economically, we’re affected physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,” Blue-White Eyes said.
Though the problems stem from another state, the impact is felt in the town of Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Eight out of every 10 families deals with alcoholism, and children are four-times more likely to be born with fetal-alcohol syndrome. [more]