Modern technology is amazing. There is so much we can do with computers, smart phones, cameras and the Internet. Events can be shared with the world in almost an instant. When you go out in public you cannot really expect any kind of privacy anymore. There is always someone with either a camera equipped cell phone or camcorder to document everything you do. I love it.
On August 26, 2012 the Women’s Day of Peace was held. This event saw a group of concerned Lakota and other people descend upon the small town of White Clay, Nebraska. They went there to demonstrate against the alcohol establishments which have made millions of dollars selling booze. In addition, concerned members of Deep Green Resistance created a human chain across the highway to show how serious they were against the amount of alcohol sold in White Clay.
Facebook and YouTube are indispensable when it comes to sharing information. They allow us to share events and are also ways to document what happens at these events. The Women’s Day for Peace created an event on Facebook where they shared the following information about White Clay, Nebraska:
“White Clay is an incorporated 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. White Clay lies on disputed land, merely 200 feet from the official reservation border and less than three miles from the center of Pine Ridge, SD, 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.
“White Clay 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 Oglala 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 White Clay 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 White Clay. As long as the liquor stores in White Clay remain in business, the genocide of the Oglala Lakota people will continue.”
The Women’s Day of Peace was a demonstration organized and led by women.
I watched a YouTube video where Olowan Sara Martinez stated the event was “to let the world know that there’s a new generation of free thinking Lakotas being born and raised in this day . . . I defend the minds of our relatives, alcohol is a plague, it’s a disease, it’s an infection that causes our young people to kill themselves, to harm each other, to harm their own. We need to stop it before it’s too late. . .
“We came here today, not only in solidarity with Deep Green Resistance, but to save the mentality and the minds of our own nations. It’s important that these small young children see this and they hear it and they understand it that alcohol will only help you to kill your own and kill yourself . . . 99% of [suicides] are alcohol induced, every rape, every molestation, every beating, everything has alcohol behind it.
“And so today we came to defend the minds of the Lakota…these young ones coming up, it’s important for them to grow up and understand and see that alcohol ain’t a part of us, that drunken Indian stereotype was built to defeat us, right along with silence, right along with every single one of these bars right here in White Clay. I’m grateful for our non-Indigenous allies who put their bodies on the line and they are not leaving until they are arrested…if that lasts one, two, three days, we’ll be here. That’s what’s up!
I believe the activists who chained themselves together to block the road were very brave! They went to White Clay and made a stand. I applaud them for their courage as they gave up the use of their hands while lying on the road, totally helpless. It was a powerful act against alcohol.
The protesters were so successful at locking themselves to the highway which runs through White Clay that even the police and fire departments could not remove the devices which bound them together. In the videos I saw there looked to be a lot of police officers from Nebraska’s Sheridan County and the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Consequently, the look which some of them had was pretty scary. One of the Sheridan County officers in the video I watched had a glare which just didn’t look right to me. He looked like he wanted to hurt someone.
The officers had to lift up all five people who were chained together and load them into a dirty horse trailer in order to transport them to Sheridan County Jail in Rushville, NE. Trailers are made for animals, not for people. Surely there could have been a better way to resolve it all. Be careful! If you plan to travel to Nebraska to stand up for what is right, be prepared to be treated like an animal.
Alcohol is the scourge of the Lakota Oyate. Anheuser-Busch is making a gazillion dollars off our people who are addicted to the evil drug alcohol. Stop wasting your money buying booze! There is always time to change your life and the lives of your children.