Sept 11, 2013 By KERRI REMPP
Protestors continue to rally against alcohol sales in Whiteclay, with the situation escalating last week.
Incidents began on Labor Day when protestors marched into the small town just south of the South Dakota state line.
“That day, basically, they were pretty calm, except they went to some of the beer stores and squirted some substance in to the locks. It appeared to be some kind of glue,” said Sheridan County Sheriff Terry Robbins. Store owners had to replace the locks.
The next day, authorities and protestors confronted each other again during weekly beer deliveries by Budweiser.
The protestors hid behind a building on the South Dakota side of the border until the trucks arrived and then attempted to gain access to the beer stores, engaging in confrontations with authorities, Robbins said. A female individual also allegedly spray painted a Whiteclay building. As authorities tried to arrest her, other protestors began shoving, hitting and spitting on the officers, which included Robbins, one of his deputies and two Nebraska State Patrol troopers. Robbins and the NSP troopers each requested additional help from their respective agencies.
The protestors eventually moved back in to South Dakota. An NSP report indicated that there they set up four cars across the road and refused to allow traffic entry to South Dakota.
The Budweiser delivery was halted Sept. 3, and the trucks told to “back out of town” until the matter was under control, Robbins said. Delivery was never completed that day, but all three distributors that serve the town were able to make deliveries without issue on Thursday. Budweiser also visited Whiteclay again this week without problems.
“The sad part about this is that very few of these people (the protestors) actually live in Shannon County, and very few are tribal members,” Robbins said. Many of the protestors are from other areas of the country, and many do not appear to be Native American, he added.
The Pine Ridge Reservation recently voted to allow alcohol sales on what has traditionally been a dry reservation. The tribal council must still formulate the regulations and policies that will guide alcohol sales and consumption on the reservation. Robbins said he’s visited with tribal members who are for and against allowing alcohol on the reservation.