Panel hosted on Whiteclay issues

Published Wednesday March 17, 2010

Bellevue University has scheduled a panel discussion April 7 concerning the alcohol-related problems linked to Whiteclay, Neb.

“Whiteclay: The Next Generation” will be held at 11 a.m. at the Hitchcock Humanities Center, 1000 Galvin Road South in Bellevue.

Panelists will include Theresa Two Bulls, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe; Mark Vasina, who produced a film documentary about Whiteclay; and Frank LaMere, an activist who first raised concerns about the community.

Whiteclay has four beer-only liquor stores that sell more than 3 million cans of beer a year, mostly to residents of the adjacent Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where alcohol is banned but alcohol-related problems are rampant.

Activists say Whiteclay and the state of Nebraska are exploiting the reservation residents, while state officials maintain that the liquor stores are legal businesses and that sales will only move elsewhere if Whiteclay is shut down.

Other panelists include the Rev. Tom Merkel, a former school superintendent on the Pine Ridge Reservation and now president at Omaha Creighton Prep, and Stew Magnuson, a journalist who wrote a book about the history of the Whiteclay area.

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