Whiteclay movie, two speakers highlight Native American Heritage Month events

Published Thursday October 28, 2010

KEARNEY — A social and political activist and a film producer will speak at the opening event for Native American Heritage Month at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

The event will be at 7 p.m. Monday [Nov. 1] in Copeland Hall Room 142. The presentation is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available.

Guest speakers are Frank LaMere and Mark Vasina.

LaMere is a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. He is a well-known social and political activist and has been recognized for his efforts to empower native people and others.

Vasina is the producer of the film, “The Battle for Whiteclay,” which will be shown at the event.

“The Battle for Whiteclay” follows 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 state of Nebraska’s refusal to halt alcohol sales to the dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation from its border town of Whiteclay gets an in-depth look in the documentary.

Four off-sale beer stores in this 14-person hamlet sell more than 11,000 cans of beer a day to an Indian clientele with virtually no legal place to drink it. Struggling with crippling poverty and epidemic alcohol abuse that afflicts four of five families, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has, for decades, banned the sale and possession of alcohol on its reservation.

The film was awarded Best Political Documentary at the 2009 New York International Independent Film Festival.

The presentation is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the UNK American Democracy Project and SKINS, Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations.

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