End of beer sales won't solve all Whiteclay problems, locals say – Lincoln Journal Star

WHITECLAY — The sky was a washed-out gray over this tiny community Wednesday morning as the news began to trickle in.

Regular patrons of Whiteclay’s four beer sellers drifted beneath awnings and on the rutted dirt shoulders of Nebraska 87, some with sleeping bags wrapped around their shoulders, others with chilled cans of beer concealed in the sleeves of their hoodies.

State regulators in Lincoln had voted earlier to deny licenses for the four beer stores in Whiteclay, a village located across the border from South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

“I don’t know why they want to take it away,” Alvin Hard Heart said, shaking his head. “White people are the people who introduced us to alcohol in the first place.”

Grinning, Hard Heart pointed to his cracked lip and the brown stains on his shirt. He’d had too much to drink the day before, he said, and taken a hard fall.

“I don’t think it’s going to make a difference,” he said of the Liquor Control Commission’s decision. “It’s probably going to make things worse.”

Beer will still be sold illegally by bootleggers on the reservation, Hard Heart said, and if he can’t get it that way, he will simply go to the next-closest place where he can.

Benji Clown Horse, 46, of Pine Ridge was walking the road with his cousins. He comes to Whiteclay, he said, for camaraderie, and to pass the time. It’s boring on the reservation, beer or no beer, he said. “We will still be here. This is our town.”

Alan Waters said he sees the people who work the beer counters as friends. “Those guys are all good people,” he said. “They always take care

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