April 23, 2009

Whiteclay = genocide?

A report on The Battle for Whiteclay, a documentary that's making the rounds of theaters.

Film aims to turn up heat on Whiteclay

Town's beer stores 'export ... misery to Pine Ridge'

By Jeff Martin
The film follows LaMere and fellow Native American activist Russell Means "through the streets of Whiteclay to the halls of Nebraska's State Capitol in their efforts to end alcohol sales in the place many have dubbed 'skid row on the prairie,' " according to an announcement for the free Sioux Falls screening.

In the film, men are shown passed out in the streets of the village.

"How can we talk about the good life, how can we talk about the promises of our state when Whiteclay flourishes in our backyard?" says LaMere, a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska who lives in South Sioux City, Neb.

Mark Welsch, Omaha coordinator of Nebraskans for Peace, has seen the film and said it left him stunned that Nebraska allows the stores to remain open.

"I mean, we're killing Indians by allowing that to happen," he said. "It's genocide. It's no different, really, than when we were shooting them in the heads, when we were trying to take over their land."
Comment:  I'd say this is somewhat less than a full-blown case of genocide. But it's a serious problem.

Perhaps Russell Means can get the town of Whiteclay to secede from Nebraska and become part of his Republic of Lakotah. Or perhaps he can simply declare it part of Lakotah by fiat.

For more on the subject, see Whiteclay Protests Are "Wildly Ineffective" and Nebraska's "Dirty Little Secret."

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