And interestingly, articles like this one, as true and tragic as they are, tend to perpetuate Native American stereotypes. Devon Mihesuah's work attempts to dispel such stereotypes, while others have argued that the reservation experience is the template for understanding the structural epistemology of American Indians.
In any case, at the New York Times, "Nebraska May Stanch One Town’s Flow of Beer to Its Vulnerable Neighbors":
A Nebraska town seems to exist only to sell beer to people like Tyrell Ringing Shield. https://t.co/cFpc1pVfm8 pic.twitter.com/cObFS4bgRo— NYT National News (@NYTNational) March 26, 2017
WHITECLAY, Neb. — This town is a rural skid row, with only a dozen residents, a street strewn with debris, four ramshackle liquor stores and little else. It seems to exist only to sell beer to people like Tyrell Ringing Shield, a grandmother with silver streaks in her hair.More.
On a recent morning, she had hitched a ride from her home in South Dakota, just steps across the state line. There, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, alcohol is forbidden. In Whiteclay, though, it reigns supreme.
“You visit, you talk, you laugh, you drink,” said Ms. Ringing Shield, 57, as she stood on the sidewalk with friends, chain-smoked Montclair cigarettes and recounted her struggles with alcoholism, diabetes and cirrhosis. “It makes you forget.”
Now many residents of Nebraska and South Dakota are pushing for the liquor stores of Whiteclay to be shut, disgusted by the easy access to alcohol the stores provide to a people who have fought addiction for generations. The Nebraska authorities, in turn, have tightened scrutiny of the stores, which sell millions of cans of beer and malt liquor annually. Last year, for the first time, the state liquor commission ordered the stores’ six owners to reapply for their liquor licenses.
The fate of the stores could be decided next month, when the three-member commission holds hearings in Lincoln, the state capital.
The issue has left people in South Dakota and Nebraska deeply divided. Most agree that alcohol abuse on the reservation is an entrenched problem, but they are unsure of the solution — and who is responsible.
The grim scene in Whiteclay has scarcely changed for decades. Particularly in the warmer months, Native Americans can be seen openly drinking beer in town, often passed out on the ground, disheveled and ill. Many who come to Whiteclay from the reservation spend the night sleeping on mattresses in vacant lots or fields.
Even under the chill of winter, people huddle outside the liquor stores, silver beer cans poking from coat pockets. The street, busy with traffic from customers, is littered with empty bottles and scraps of discarded clothing.
“It promotes so much misery, that little town,” said Andrea Two Bulls, 56, a Native American on Pine Ridge, who added that she hoped the state would revoke the licenses. “My brother used to go to Whiteclay all the time, and we’d have to go look for him. People sit and drink until they pass out. They just succumb.”
Over the decades, there have been frequent protests outside the stores. Lawsuits against the retailers and beer distributors have been filed. Boycotts of brewers that sell to the stores have begun with enthusiasm. All those efforts have sputtered, though, and little has changed...