"The Battle for Whiteclay" Begins in Earnest
Lincoln, Nebraska
March 1, 2003

Please Join Us:

Since the protests erupted in the summer of 1999 propelling Whiteclay, Nebraska into national prominence, the State of Nebraska has had nearly four years to do something about the lawlessness and abuse in this 14-person border town.

Nebraska public officials have had four years to do something…

…about the rampant, illegal alcohol sales by the four licensed off-sale dealers…

…about the absence of full-time law enforcement in this unincorporated village where over 11,000 cans of beer are sold each day to an Indian clientele that has no legal place to drink it…

…about respecting the wishes of the Oglala Sioux Tribal government, which has repeatedly beseeched our state officials to halt the beer sales in Whiteclay, just 200 feet from the dry Pine Ridge Reservation… and

…about stopping this blatant profiting from Indian misery in which state government is engaged. (The State of Nebraska collects a quarter of a million dollars a year in sales and liquor taxes from the sale of alcohol in Whiteclay, with not one dime being returned to the Lakota people to deal with the problems alcohol is fostering on the reservation.)

For four straight years, the State of Nebraska has regularly been presented with the opportunity to do something about the problems in Whiteclay, and has opted to do nothing.


Not one thing has changed in Whiteclay since the murdered bodies of Ronald Hard Heart and Wilson Black Elk, Jr. were found there in June 1999.

All of our meetings, all of our pleas, even our "beer-drinking" acts of civil disobedience, have not produced a single change in the situation at Whiteclay. Nearly four years later, even the murders of the two men still haven't been solved.

Well, the State of Nebraska has had its chance.

On Saturday, March 1st-Nebraska Statehood Day-"The Battle for Whiteclay" begins in earnest.

The American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) will return to Nebraska's state capital for the first time since the Wounded Knee trials in 1975 to elevate Whiteclay to the status of a national and international human rights issue.

They will join Nebraskans for Peace in inaugurating "A Year of Atonement" for the abuse and exploitation the State of Nebraska is continuing to perpetrate against the Lakota people. During this year, the State of Nebraska will be expected to permanently resolve the situation in Whiteclay, either by legislative or executive action, or face the legal and social consequences.

Starting at 1:30 p.m. in "The Crib" of the University of Nebraska Student Union, 14th and R Streets, the UNL Department of Anthropology and Geography will host a panel discussion on the situation in Whiteclay. Representatives of the Governor's Office and the Nebraska State Patrol, the Nebraska Indian Commission, the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, the Nebraska Unicameral, President John Yellow Bird Steele of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Vernon Bellecourt of the American Indian Movement, Tom Poor Bear of "Camp Justice", Winnebago Tribe member Frank LaMere of Earth Energy & Environment and Byron Peterson of Nebraskans for Peace will participate in a two-hour-long panel discussion on the problems and possible solutions to the shameful state of affairs in Whiteclay.

At 3:30 p.m., A.I.M. and Nebraskans for Peace will sponsor a rally at the student union to protest the State of Nebraska's failure to act, followed by a public march to the Governor's Mansion-the home of the person ultimately responsible for state government's inaction.

Finally, at 7:00 p.m. that night, at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, there will be a special showing of the movie "SKINS" (filmed on location in Whiteclay), which will conclude with a public forum by Indian leaders from around the region on the significance of this powerful film.

A panel, a rally, a march and a movie. It's a full day of activities that will set the stage for the public hearings on the three "Whiteclay-related bills" in the Nebraska Legislature the next few weeks.

These "Statehood Day" activities will provide us with the best opportunity we have ever had to draw attention to the appalling conditions in Whiteclay. Join the sponsors (the American Indian Movement, Earth Energy & Environment and Nebraskans for Peace) for this history-making event. Come prepared to learn, to cheer and to take a stand.

And dress appropriately, as the march will go on irrespective of the weather.


Vernon Bellecourt will speak at Dana College at 2:00 p.m. in Blair, Nebraska. For more information call Jan Potter at 402-426-7238.