Whiteclay film to show at Neihardt Site

CONTACT:  Nancy Gillis, John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, 402/648-3388

As part of this year’s theme of “Neihardt and 21st Century Native Realities,” the Neihardt State Historic Site is pleased to present the documentary film The Battle for Whiteclay on Friday, May 8th at 6:30 P.M.

This film, directed and produced by Mark Vasina, follows both Native American and non-Native activists in their struggle to halt alcohol sales to the dry Pine Ridge Reservation from the border town of Whiteclay, Nebraska. This century-old problem of exploitation resulting in crippling poverty and epidemic alcohol abuse and addiction impacts 4 out of 5 families on the reservation. While the Oglala Lakota Tribe has itself banned the sale and possession of alcohol on the reservation for many decades, the four package stores in the population-14 unincorporated village in Nebraska sell 4.5 million cans of beer annually for a profit margin to those 4 store owners of an estimated $3.4 million.

In a review of the film for Nebraskans for Peace, Professor Fran Kaye of UNL stated the following: “I watched the video with students in my summer Native American Literature class at UNL. Most of them were ‘ordinary’ middle class students, uninformed about Whiteclay or Native issues in general. They found the video eye-opening and informative. A few had received minor alcohol-related citations and were amazed at the volume of public impairment that was tolerated in Whiteclay. People die in Whiteclay and nothing happens, but if a UNL student were to die drunk on the streets of Lincoln there would definitely be a public outcry.”

Attendance by high school Civics classes and similar courses is encouraged for students and instructors, and a study guide will be provided. If you wish a study guide in advance, contact the Neihardt Center office.

The film’s director Mark Vasina will be present to introduce the film and its issues as well as conduct a question and answer session afterwards. The film runs just under two hours and the showing is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided and copies of the DVD will be available for sale.

The John G. Neihardt State Historic Site is located at 306 W. Elm Street in Bancroft, Nebraska. For more information call 1-888-777-4667 or 402/648-3388 or e-mail at neihardt@gpcom.net.


Leave a Reply