Published Saturday July 17, 2010
BY MARY GARRIGAN
RAPID CITY JOURNAL
The irony of Whiteclay is that it sits in what was originally a “buffer zone” created by the U.S. government to “protect” the residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation from illegal whiskey peddlers operating in the area.
In 1882, President Chester A. Arthur decreed a 50-square-mile buffer zone in Nebraska south of the Pine Ridge Agency in South Dakota to protect Native Americans from the ravages of alcohol, according to the web site for the documentary film, “Battle for Whiteclay.” In 1889, and again in 1890, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation incorporating this buffer zone, known as the White Clay Extension, into the boundaries of the reservation. But in a 1904 executive order by President Theodore Roosevelt, 49 of the 50 square miles of the White Clay Extension was placed into the public domain over the protests of Lakota elders and others concerned that the need for a buffer zone still remained. Today, there is still one square mile of Pine Ridge tribal land in Nebraska near Whiteclay, the remnant of President Arthur’s buffer zone. (more…)