Clashes between protestors and beer distributors at Whiteclay have led one liquor store owner to alter alcohol deliveries.
High Plains Budweiser owner Jeff Scheinost has instructed drivers to make deliveries to Rushville, about 20 miles south of Whiteclay. Workers for High Plains will pick up the beer there.
Tension have been growing at Whiteclay as protestors become more aggressive in their activities to stem the flow of beer and malt liquor from the small Nebraska border town into the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation just across the state line in South Dakota. Protestors have targeted Whiteclay, blaming four liquor stores there as well as the brewers that supply them for chronic alcoholism on the reservation. The four liquor stores in Whiteclay sell the equivalent of four million cans of beer annually.
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation bans alcohol. Yet, beer seems to fairly easily make it onto the reservation. Efforts to keep alcohol out haven’t proven successful.
Protestors have clashed with delivery drivers. On Monday, someone shot pellets at a delivery truck.
Oglala Sioux Tribe President Bryan Brewer this week came to Lincoln to meet with Gov. Dave Heineman about the problem. Brewer cut short the meeting, declaring that the governor wasn’t willing to seek a solution. A spokeswoman for the governor denies the accusation and says the governor had set aside an hour to meet with Brewer.
Legal efforts have proven unsuccessful.
A federal lawsuit filed early last year asked for $500 million to offset the crippling poverty and alcoholism among the Lakota people it alleges is the result of the flow of beer across the state line. The lawsuit named Anheuser-Busch InBev, Miller Brewing, Molson Coors and Pabst Brewing Company, among others. It also named beer distributors as well as the Arrowhead Inn, D&S Pioneer Service, Jumping Eagle Inn and State Line Liquor of Whiteclay.
U.S. District Judge John Gerrard dismissed the lawsuit in October of 2012, ruling federal court did not have jurisdiction in the dispute.