A good start on Whiteclay

Published Monday January 25, 2010
PUBLIC PULSE (Letters to the Editor)

I was gratified to read a Jan. 15 editorial, “A sensible path forward,” and a Jan. 17 news story, “Effort afoot to rehab Whiteclay.”

Nebraska is finally coming to grips with Whiteclay, our “skid row of the Plains.” Both pieces recognize that the basic problem is alcoholism on the Pine Ridge Reservation and applaud the fact that Nebraska authorities have finally begun to address the problem.

The editorial lauds the fact that the Liquor Control Commission, the Legislature and Attorney General Jon Bruning’s office are moving toward “pragmatic action.”

Although the editorial mentioned the importance of “nonprofits and private donors,” it didn’t mention the pioneering and continuing efforts of Nebraskans for Peace, our statewide nonprofit, peace and justice or- ganization. Nebraskans for Peace raised the issue in 1999 and invested substantial human and financial resources during the past decade.

What’s particularly troubling to me is the thrust of the recent solutions. I have lived on a reservation and been to Whiteclay. I know the pathology and despair.

I’m encouraged that we’re finally wrestling with the problem. But these latest initiatives might serve more to assuage white guilt than to address the core problems. Let’s keep working together toward a real solution.

John Krejci, Lincoln

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