Bylas STEPP to host Whiteclay film

Published Wednesday November 18, 2009
Apache Moccasin

San Carlos, AZ — The Bylas STEPP Coalition would like to invite community members and local departments to a showing of the documentary film, The Battle for Whiteclay, on Thursday, November 19 at 12:00 p.m.

The one hour 50 minute film will be shown at the Ernest Stanley Activity Center’s conference room in Bylas. Refreshments will be served.

The documentary film focuses on the State of Nebraska’s refusal to halt alcohol sales to the dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation from its border town of Whiteclay. The issue gets an in-depth look in this new documentary about a century-old problem.

Four beer stores in this 14-person hamlet sell over 11,000 cans of beer a day to Indians with virtually no legal place to drink it. Struggling with crippling poverty and epidemic alcohol abuse that afflicts 4 out of 5 families, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has for decades banned the sale and possession of alcohol on their reservation.

The Battle for Whiteclay follows Indian activists Frank LaMere, Duane Martin Sr., and 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.”

The documentary film takes a look at an important contemporary conflict pitting American Indian rights against state and local governments in the United States.

“If we as a community can’t halt alcohol sales just over our reservation line, our community of Bylas should get more state prevention funds in an effort to start teaching our children at a young age,” said Louis Lorenzo, who chairs the Bylas STEPP Coalition.

“Environment wise, it doesn’t help those people that want a clean community with all those beer bottles that litter our roads, yards and neighborhoods,” said Lorenzo.

For more information, you can call the Office of Health Education at (928) 475-7335.

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