A ruling from the Nebraska Supreme Court has ended alcohol sales in Whiteclay.
Justices say the retailers that were denied a liquor license did not properly appeal the state Liquor Control Commission’s decision. The justices outlined the need for the appeal to have included citizens who originally testified before the Commission. They were not included.
The Supreme Court also stated in its decision it didn’t have jurisdiction in the case, because Lancaster County didn’t have jurisdiction in the case. The case reached the Supreme Court after the Lancaster County ruling was appealed.
State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, who has pushed to end alcohol sales in Whiteclay and chairs the legislature’s Whiteclay Task Force, calls it a victory. She says time has run out for them to make another appeal.
“I’m really pleased about the way it turned out,” Pansing Brooks tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I think it’s clear that the stores will basically remained closed. I am happy for the people of the Oglala Lakota Nation.”
Native Americans who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota were the main customers of the Whiteclay liquor stores, which routinely sold more than three million cans a beer annually.
Pansing Brooks says that has led to many health and social problems among those people.
“One in four babies is being born in a bath of alcohol,” she says highlighting the plight of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. “There are people who are significantly vulnerable and the state of Nebraska has continued to pour alcohol across our border into an area where people are particularly vulnerable to alcoholism.”
The legislature’s Whiteclay Task Force is holding an economic and health summit this weekend in Whiteclay. The purpose of the summit is for interested parties, including local and state healthcare and economic development experts, tribal members, and elected officials to identify areas of opportunity and to develop a plan for the future of Whiteclay.