A Once Tarnished Town Is Changing It's Legacy

19 hours ago
Whiteclay Art Makerspace

The unincorporated town of Whiteclay, Nebraska, was once an ugly stain on the state.  



A Once Tarnished Town Is Changing It's Legacy

19 hours ago
Whiteclay Art Makerspace

The unincorporated town of Whiteclay, Nebraska, was once an ugly stain on the state.  



New Makerspace Underway In Whiteclay

Jan 29, 2019
Whiteclay Makerspace


A former liquor store in Nebraska that’s just walking distance from the Pine Ridge Reservation will get a face lift. Organizers in both states  will create a work space for local artists.


The liquor stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska made national news. For years, the four businesses in the tiny town gave residents of the alcohol-free Pine Ridge Reservation easy access to liquor.  More than a year ago, the stores shut down.

Chris Laughery

In The Moment ... November 21, 2017 Show 225 Hour 1

Frank La Mere is the first associate chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party. He's a member of the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska. He's been involved in a movement against alcohol sales to Native people for decades. He joins us to talk about mitigation and restoration post beer sales, the far-reaching implications of the Whiteclay business model, and asking the right questions to solve complex problems.

In The Moment ... November 9, 2017 Show 217 Hour 2 

The battle over alcohol sales in Whiteclay, Neb., has been going on for decades. Whiteclay's four beer stores were shut down in May by the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission. Business owners lost their appeal in September.

SDPB's Michael Zimny went looking for different perspectives for a digital feature called "Post Whiteclay."  Michael Zimny joins us from SDPB's Black Hills Bureau for a preview.

Courtesy Wikipedia

A Nebraska commission is not renewing liquor licenses for stores along the South Dakota border near Pine Ridge. The town of Whiteclay has fewer than one dozen residents. Four businesses there sell millions of cans of beer each year. The liquor licenses expire at the end of the month, but the beer stores may stay open.

Native Americans from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota drink beer in Whiteclay, Nebraska. Witnesses say people who get drunk there urinate in public, assault others, and pass out on the streets.

Nebraska board members are weighing whether they should renew beer store liquor licenses in Whiteclay. The tiny unincorporated town is across the state line from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. People - often Native Americans - buy millions of cans of beer there each year. Thursday the panel heard testimony.

Photo by Connie Louise Smith

A Lakota-owned-grocery store located in Whiteclay, Nebraska was completely destroyed by fire last week. We caught up with the fire marshal investigating the blaze at Arrowhead Foods and have this report.Mike Turner is based in Scottsbluff but is the fire marshal for the entire Nebraska Panhandle.

Whiteclay's Arrowhead Foods Total Loss

Jul 27, 2016
Photo by Jim Kent

A Lakota-owned-grocery store located in Whiteclay, Nebraska has been totally destroyed by fire. Arrowhead Foods was financed with the assistance of Lakota Funds…a community development organization based in Kyle, South Dakota.

Sheridan County sheriff Terry Robbins says he first received a report of the Arrowhead Foods fire at a little after 9 a.m. on Monday morning.

Arrowhead Foods Catches Fire

Jul 25, 2016
Bruce BonFleur / Lakota Hope Ministries

A building in Whiteclay, Nebraska burned down on Monday afternoon. Arrowhead Foods was a total loss.

Bruce BonFleur is the director for Lakota Hope Ministries based in White Clay. He shot video of the fire and says it burned for almost five hours.

Whiteclay sits on the border of the Pine Ridge Reservation where alcohol is prohibited.  The liquor stores in the small town sell millions of cans of beer each year, mostly to tribal residents. But Arrowhead Foods  sold only groceries and no alcohol.  

Photo by Jim Kent

The village of Whiteclay, Nebraska has long had a reputation as being the primary location for alcohol purchases by members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The image of vehicles driving from the Pine Ridge Reservation across the Nebraska border and returning to the dry Native American land has appeared in media outlets around the world. It’s an image that has fueled controversy over the indiscriminate sale of alcohol to residents of a neighboring community where alcohol abuse and addiction run rampant.

Tribal President Arrested During Whiteclay Protest

Jun 18, 2013

Oglala Sioux Tribal president Bryan Brewer was arrested Monday while taking part in a protest march against beer sales in the Nebraska town of Whiteclay.

Pine Ridge is dry, and some tribal officials like President Brewer say liquor store owners prey on tribal residents by selling millions of cans of beer each year.

The issue is divisive on Pine Ridge. While many tribal residents want to see Whiteclay closed, others feel protesting against liquor stores won’t solve the problem.

Tribal Council Green Lights Referendum On Alcohol

Jun 12, 2013

The Oglala Sioux people will have a chance to decide in a 2014 referendum if alcohol should remain illegal on Pine Ridge.

The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council gave approval to a reservation wide vote on the longstanding prohibition of alcohol.

SDPB's Charles Michael Ray tuned into the tribal council meeting broadcast on K-I-L-I Radio.  He has this report.

Council Considers Referendum On Prohibition

Jun 11, 2013

The Oglala Sioux Tribal council is slated to debate a referendum on legalizing alcohol on Pine Ridge in Tuesday's meeting.

The Tribal Council is considering approving a reservation wide vote on prohibition.  

The move comes alongside efforts to curb alcohol sales in the nearby border town of Whiteclay.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray reports.

Whiteclay Heats Up As Tribe Reconsiders Prohibition

Jun 7, 2013

Activists and liquor store owners are clashing in the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska on the boarder of the Pine Ridge Reservation.   Beer delivery trucks are being stopped and vandalized as men wielding baseball bats are accused of threatening protesters.

Alcohol is banned on Pine Ridge.   But the town of Whiteclay sells the equivalent of up to 5-million cans of beer annually–mostly to impoverished tribal residents.   As the conflict escalates the tribal nation is grappling with the idea of lifting its prohibition of alcohol.