Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
WHITECLAY, NEBRASKA After a peaceful walk from Billy Mills Hall in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, that was billed as the "Women's Day of Peace Walk," five non-Native members of the Deep Green Resistance organization lay down on the pavement of the only street in the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska to form a human blockade.
Upwards of 75 Lakota people were present to witness the blockade and arrests.
They lay in the street with "Say no to liquid genocide" and "Shut down Whiteclay" messages on the lock box tubing that connected them.
The blockade occurred to bring attention to the small town of 14 that sells over two million cans of beer annually to people from neighboring Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
The border town, Whiteclay, lies less than 300 feet from the border of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where the sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
Police Attempt to Un-Chain Protesters
Several law enforcement agencies converged on the small town from the Nebraska State Patrol and Sheridan County Sheriff Department. At 7:39 pm mdt, the arrests were made.
Still joined together by the lock boxes, the five were put in a horse trailer with no seats and transported to Rushville, Nebraska where they will be housed pending arraignment on charges. The five are members of the Wisconsin chapter of Deep Green Resistance.
While all five of those arrested are non-Native, there were upward to 75 Lakota people present to witness the blockade and arrests. Several Lakota men were sprayed with pepper spray, including a ten year old boy, who was attended to by an ambulance crew from Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Once taken to the Sheridan County Jail, the five arrested were released on their own recognizance.
“ My question to Nebraska is: 'Why do you hate us so much? Why do you allow liquid genocide to take place on our people,'”
stated Olowan Martinez, from Porcupine on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and one of the organizers of the Sunday's peace walk.
There were reports from the scene that the police appeared confused as to how to initially handle the blockade. One police officer told one of the organizers of the blockade that Governor Dave Heineman told the police not to arrest any of the protestors.
It was not immediately known what charges are pending against those arrested. Calls made by the Native News Network to the Nebraska State Patrol and Sheridan County Sheriff Department were not returned by press time late Sunday night.
Besides the Oglala Lakota nation women and Deep Green Resistance, members of American Indian Movement Grassroots, Un-Occupy Albuquerque, Occupy Lincoln, and Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center participated.
Debra White Plume, a Lakota activist and resident of Pine Ridge who spoke at the event proclaimed,
“A sober Indian is a dangerous Indian. We have to send a message to Nebraska and its citizens that we are not going to tolerate business as usual. This is the Women's Day of Peace but that peace will soon be over”.
posted August 27, 2012 6:00 am edt