“For over 100 years the women of the Oglala Lakota nation have been dealing with an attack on the mind body and spirit of their relatives. We have been silenced through chemical warfare waged by the corporations who are out to exploit and make a profit off of the suffering and misery of our people. The time has come to end this suffering by any means necessary.” –Olowan Martinez, Oglala Lakota
WHITE CLAY, NE—Five activists with Deep Green Resistance were arrested on Sunday, August 26th, at 7:40pm for blockading the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska. Taken to jail in a horse trailer while still connected to each other by lock-boxes, the arrestees were later released on their own recognizance when they agreed to unlock themselves.
The blockade shut down the town and four infamous liquor stores that define the 14-person municipality, for more than six hours, and preventing an estimated $5,250 in liquor sales. They were being held at Sheridan County Jail in Rushville, NE. A solidarity legal fund has been set up to raise money for bail, legal, and court.
We need to raise as much money as we possibly can to support those brave individuals—Alexander Knox, Rachel, Alex Rose, Val Wesp—who put their bodies on the line against the chemical warfare being waged against the Oglala Lakota. We need to work to make sure that those arrested are supported for the sacrifices they made. Their collective fines are estimated to be, at maximum, $10,000. Anything you can give will go a long way towards alleviating the immense costs facing the five full-time activists.
Donated funds will also go towards supporting a juvenile Lakota boy who was pepper-sprayed and arrested by police, after defending himself in a physical altercation with four adult males (some of whom are associated with Whiteclay liquor stores).
Whiteclay has a population of 14, yet 4 liquor stores in the town sell 12,500 cans of beer each day. The stores have been documented repeatedly selling to bootleggers, intoxicated people, minors, and trading beer for sexual favors. 150 years ago, it was the U.S. Calvary and smallpox-infested blankets; today, Whiteclay is the face of genocide for the Oglala Lakota.
Women’s Day of Peace: The Life Givers of the Nations say no more alcohol in Whiteclay
In June, Deep Green Resistance participated in a blockade of liquor stores in Whiteclay, NE. At the end of August, we will be going back to stand with the women of the Pine Ridge Reservation in the ongoing fight against the genocide of the Oglala Lakota Nation.
Video of Whiteclay blockade on June 9th with members of Deep Green Resistance, Unoccupy Albuquerque, Occupy Lincoln, and Lakota organizers
Lifting our Hearts, from Wounded Knees August, 26th 2012 12:00 p.m. (noon) Billy Mills Hall Pine Ridge, SD Action against Whiteclay Nebraska
“Our Stand Is Locked to the Land, Shut Down Whiteclay Today!”
Facts about Whiteclay, NE
Whiteclay is an unincorporated village with a population of 14 people in northwest Nebraska. The town sits on the border of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota (also known as the Oglala Sioux Tribe).
Whiteclay lies on disputed land, merely 200 feet from the official reservation border and less than 3 miles from the center of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the largest town on the reservation.
Sale and possession of alcoholic beverages on the Pine Ridge is prohibited under tribal law. Except for a brief experiment with on-reservation liquor sales in the early 1970s, this prohibition has been in effect since the reservation lands were created.
Whiteclay has four off-sale beer stores licensed by the State of Nebraska which sell the equivalent of 4.5 million 12-ounce cans of beer annually (12,500 cans per day), mostly to the Oglalas living on Pine Ridge. These retailers routinely violate Nebraska liquor law by selling beer to minors and intoxicated persons, knowingly selling to bootleggers who resell the beer on the reservation, permitting on-premise consumption of beer in violation of restrictions placed on off-sale-only licenses, and exchanging beer for sexual favors .The vast majority of those who purchase beer in Whiteclay have in fact no legal place to consume it, since possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the Pine Ridge Reservation remain illegal under tribal law. Many people have died in the streets due to exposure, as the state of Nebraska fails to uphold state law or police Whiteclay. As long as the liquor stores in Whiteclay remains in business, the genocide of the Oglala Lakota people will continue.
Tribal activists of the Strong Heart Warrior Society have conducted annual blockades since 1999, trying to intercept alcohol and drugs being brought into the reservation. In June 2006 tribal activists protested beer sales by blockading the road from Pine Ridge to Whiteclay and confiscating beer bought in Whiteclay. These activists hoped to prevent bootlegging and illegal sales on the reservation. On June 9th of this year, young Lakota activists and their non-native allies held a blockade of the highway leading into Whiteclay, and gained concessions from law enforcement. This action in August will be a continuation of these efforts.
A Message to participants joining in the march:
This will be a Women’s led march, only women will be speaking during and after the march. Men are encouraged to come and will be there to show support and provide security for the women. We will also provide support work at the campsite so the women can get together and have women only circles. The men will also get together at the camp and have male ally circles. There will be more information provided at the campsite.
Women’s Day of Peace
Everyone is responsible for their own food for this action, there may or may not be camping fires to use for cooking while camping on Pine Ridge, due to the chance of starting a wild fire. Everyone in the caravan is responsible for the gas in the vehicle they are driving and riding in. DRUGS AND ALCOHOL will not be tolerated at all during this entire caravan and action. You will be escorted out of camp and asked to immediately leave. Please do not test us on this rule. Thank you everyone for your commitment and love for the cause.
Camping and Caravan Info: To join in the caravan heading from the East, groups will meet in Jefferson SD, on Thursday August 23rd after 3p.m., dinner will be provided. We will leave from Pine Ridge the next morning around 8am Friday August 24th. All groups are encouraged to meet at Wounded Knee on August 24th at 3pm. The campsite on Pine Ridge will be announced at a later date. If you are traveling from the West please get in contact with Jennifer Murnan from DGR Colorado; she will have lodging for folks the night of August 23rd. August 25th will be a day of social gatherings, Women circles, Male Ally circles, and trainings for the March on the 26th.
***Information on the Camping situation in Pine Ridge will come later stay tuned***
Deep Green Resistance Indigenous Solidarity Guidelines. 1. First and foremost we must recognize that non-indigenous people are occupying stolen land in an ongoing genocide that has lasted for centuries. We must affirm our responsibility to stand with indigenous communities who want support and give everything we can to protect their land and culture from further devastation; they have been on the frontlines of biocide and genocide for centuries, and as allies, we need to step up and join them. 2. You are doing Indigenous solidarity work not out of guilt, but out of a fierce desire to confront oppressive colonial systems of power. 3. You are not helping Indigenous people, you are there to: join with, struggle with, and fight with indigenous peoples against these systems of power. You must be willing to put your body on the line. 4. Recognize your privilege as a member of settler culture. 5. You are not here to engage in any type of cultural, spiritual or religious needs you think you might have, you are here to engage in political action. Also, remember your political message is secondary to the cause at hand. 6. Never use drugs or alcohol when engaging in Indigenous solidarity work. Never. 7. Do more listening than talking, you will be surprised what you can learn. 8. Recognize that there will be Indigenous people that will not want you to participate in ceremonies. Humbly refrain from participating in ceremonies. 9. Recognize that you and your Indigenous allies may be in the minority on a cause that is worth fighting for. 10. Work with integrity and respect, be trustworthy and do what you say you are going to do.
Whiteclay, NE – Activists from across the country participated in an act of civil disobedience in the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska. Members of Deep Green Resistance, Unoccupy Albuquerque, Occupy Lincoln, and Lakota organizers attached U-Locks to their necks and strung a chain between pairs of activists, blockading the road running through the town to bring attention to the town’s infamous liquor industry. After blocking the main road running through the town for 3 and a half hours, police agreed to work with Lakota women to investigate the plethora of crimes and abuses committed by the owners of the four alcohol peddlers in Whiteclay.
In addition to the blockade, the Lakota women posted eviction notices, which gave the alcohol stores 30 days to change their business and stop selling alcohol. The organizers are also determined to take on the brewers who supply the stores.
“The action in Whiteclay is the first in a series of assaults that will ensure that the poisons of Anheiser-Busch and Coors do not infect another Generation of Our Lakota here within Our homelands,” said Olowan Martinez, one of the Lakota organizers of the action.
Speaking on the strong stand taken by herself and other Lakota women, Martinez said “We the life-givers of this Nation are expecting in 30 days of June 9,2012 that these businesses are to agree to change their type of Business. If they refuse to do so, We, the Women will consider it a breach of peace against Our future generations. It is our responsibility as Life Givers of the Lakota Nation to protect Our Future by any means necessary, not only in Whiteclay Nebraska, but also the border towns of Interior, Gordon, Martin, Boondocks, Rushville, and Olreichs.”
The four liquor stores in Whiteclay (a town with a population of 14) act with chronic illegality and a total lack of ethical concern. The stores repeatedly violate the terms of their liquor licenses on the daily bases by allowing on premise consumption of alcohol as well as selling to those who are intoxicated. The liquor stores of Whiteclay are notorious for selling to minors, and it is common knowledge that the dealers sell alcohol for sexual favors and sexually assault women.
The act of civil disobedience took place after the 2012 March for Justice, an annual march from Pine Ridge to Whiteclay in memory of the victims of Whiteclay, including Loren & Wally Black Elk and Ron Hard Heart. Several hundred participated in the march, demanding justice for the countless victim’s of Whiteclay’s alcohol. As the march came to a close, seven activists locked themselves together and blocked the single road running through the town of Whiteclay. The action cost the liquor businesses an estimated $1000 in liquor sales in the ongoing struggle against alcohol-fueled genocide of the Oglala Lakota.
“Deep Green Resistance is here today to stand with the Oglala Lakota people against Whiteclay, which is an instrumental piece of the ongoing genocide of the Lakota people and their culture. As allies, we are here to put our bodies on the line in solidarity with their struggle,” said a representative of Deep Green Resistance Great Plans participating in the lockdown.
The blockade ended after the police signed a written agreement, promising to meet and work with the Lakota women on a joint-investigation into the rampant illegal activity and abuse of the Whiteclay alcohol stores. Provided with the opportunity to have a direct impact on the alcohol infrastructure of Whiteclay the blockade was concluded.
Justice is far from complete, and Whiteclay continues to enable and enact the destruction of the Oglala Lakota and the people of Pine Ridge. The continued subjugation of the Oglala Lakota of the Pine Ridge Reservation will not end as long as the liquor stores in Whiteclay continue to operate. If the concessions granted do not bring about the change demanded by the Lakota women, or if those in power do not live up to their end of the bargain within 30 days, escalation in this struggle will continue.
Report from Great Plains Visit to Pine Ridge and Participation in Vern Traversie Protest
This past weekend, Deep Green Resistance Great Plains (and Alex from Deep Green Resistance Colorado) went to Pine Ridge to meet with our Lakota allies there about the upcoming action in Whiteclay, NE and to participate in and support a March for Justice for Vern Traversie.
Saturday afternoon we hosted a showing of End:Civ at the library in Rapid City. About 20 people attended, many of them friends from Pine Ridge. After the screening, we had a discussion about the film and the need for unity and resistance. All were in agreement that we need to work together to make the resistance movement in the Great Plains stronger so that we can start to win.
The next morning, we drove the remaining couple of hours down to Pine Ridge, where we met with allies and members of AIM. We were invited to a meeting about the March for Vern Traversy, where we were asked to help be a part of the march security team.
Vern Traversie is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and was at Rapid City Regional Hospital several months ago for heart surgery. While he was unconscious, the letters “KKK” were carved into his stomach. In the words of Dennis Banks, who marched with us and spoke at the rally, this is at Regional Hospital. The march was a call, a demand, for justice and an end to racism in Rapid City and Regional Hospital.
The next day, we awoke and joined our allies in Pine Ridge, where a caravan assembled before leaving for Rapid City and the March for Vern. We stopped outside of Rapid City for a ceremony and to rendezvous with others who joined the caravan. There were more than 20 cars, honking horns and waving AIM flags out the windows as we drove through Rapid City, drawing as much attention as we could to ourselves and the fact that racism and crimes like that against Vern would not go unanswered.
After a short rally at Memorial Park, about 700 of us marched 3 miles to Rapid City Regional Hospital, where many people got a chance to speak out about racism and their own experiences. After the march, we said goodbye to our friends (and some new ones) and drove back to Jefferson.
It was a great trip, both fun as well as being a productive and meaningful time spent with our allies, building relationships and supporting on going work. We look forward to having more people with us for the action in June, and to seeing our comrades in Pine Ridge again soon.
The film Battle for Whiteclay, a documentary about the ongoing genocide in Whiteclay, Nebraska
March for Justice 2012: Always in Memory of Wally Black Elk and Ron Hard Heart Date: June 9th, 2012 at 12 pm Location: Billy Mills Hall, Pine Ridge, SD A Day of Action against Whiteclay, NE
Whiteclay, Nebraska is an unincorporated village with a population of 14 people in northwest Nebraska. The town sits on the border of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota (also known as the Oglala Sioux Tribe), only 200 feet from the official reservation border and less than 3 miles from the center of Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the largest town on the reservation. On June 9th, the fight against Whiteclay continues.
Sale and possession of alcoholic beverages on the Pine Ridge is prohibited under tribal law. Except for a brief experiment with on-reservation liquor sales in the early 1970s, this prohibition has been in effect since the reservation lands were created. Whiteclay has four off-sale beer stores licensed by the State of Nebraska which sell the equivalent of 4.5 million 12-ounce cans of beer annually (12,500 cans per day), mostly to the Oglalas living on Pine Ridge. These retailers routinely violate Nebraska liquor law by selling beer to minors and intoxicated persons, knowingly selling to bootleggers who resell the beer on the reservation, permitting on-premise consumption of beer in violation of restrictions placed on off-sale-only licenses, and exchanging beer for sexual favors.
Many people have died in the streets due to exposure, as the state of Nebraska fails to address the breaches of state law and countless deaths as a result of dealers in Whiteclay. As long as the liquor stores in Whiteclay remain in business, the genocide of the Oglala Lakota people will continue.
Deep Green Resistance Great Plains and other Deep Green Resistances organizers across the country are coordinating support for the Oglala Lakota activists organizing the action against the liquor peddlers in Whiteclay. We stand with the people of Pine Ridge and the organizers of this action against the continuation of genocide. Stand with us as we send the message: “No more liquor in Whiteclay!”
On June 9th 1999 two Lakota men, Wally Black Elk and Ron Hard Heart, were brutally murdered in Whiteclay. It is in their memory that we will march for justice. We are seeking material support, in the form of food and donations for caravans and for the action itself. Additionally, we will be collecting donated fans and air conditioners to bring to elders on Pine Ridge.