Whiteclay panel discussion to be held April 7

Published Sunday March 14, 2010

A tribal president, a religious leader, an author and a filmmaker are among those invited to take part in an April 7 panel discussion at Bellevue University on alcohol sales at Whiteclay.

“This event provides an excellent opportunity for students and guests to learn more about the Whiteclay experience and join in the conversation,” said Patrick Artz, Bellevue University professor and panel moderator.

The discussion, “Whiteclay: The Next Generation,” will start at 11 a.m. in the Hitchcock Humanities Center on the university’s main campus, 1000 Galvin Road South, in Bellevue.

The event is free and open to the public.

Four beer stores in Whiteclay sell more than 4 million cans of beer a year mainly to residents of the nearby dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Legislature is considering a bill that would allow counties, villages or towns near Whiteclay to apply for state assistance to battle alcohol problems.

The hour-long April 7 panel discussion features tribal leaders, including Oglala Sioux Tribe President Theresa Two Bulls and Lance Morgan, president and CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., a Winnebago corporation.

Father Tom Merkel, former superintendent of Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation and current president of Omaha Creighton Prep High School, also will participate.

Other panelists include: Native activist Frank LaMere; Mark Vasina, director of “Battle for Whiteclay”; Stew Magnuson, author of “The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder”; and Taylor Keen, director of the Native American Center and a Creighton University instructor.

Folk musician Michael Murphy will start the event, and Creighton Prep and Red Cloud Indian School students will contribute short videos on the theme of the next generation.

“Whether people are new to the Whiteclay story or simply trying to learn more about the situation, we welcome them to the discussion,” said Artz of Bellevue University.

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