Whiteclay liquor store owners head to highest court in Nebraska

A trailer for The Wounds of Whiteclay, an award-winning project produced by journalism students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Four liquor stores in a small town in Nebraska are hoping to resume selling beer to residents of the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation.

The stores in Whiteclay were forced to close after their liquor licenses expired on April 30. But they are seeking permission to reopen while an appeal in their case is pending, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

Normally, the case would have gone to the Nebraska Court of Appeals. But the Nebraska Supreme Court agreed to take up the matter, a move that speeds up resolution of the controversy, the paper reported.

On April 19, the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission voted 3-0 to revoke the licenses of the four stores. The action came after decades of complaints about law enforcement, social and other problems in the small community, which is home to fewer than a dozen people.

Activists and officials from the Oglala Sioux Tribe said the sales in Whiteclay exploit Native people. They are hoping the closure of the outlets can help them address alcoholism and other addiction problems.

But some Whiteclay regulars are just heading to a city called Rushville, about 20 miles down the road, to buy their beer, according to news reports.

Read More on the Story:
Higher education: UNL students receive award for Whiteclay report (The Omaha World-Herald 5/8)
Beer stores closed, but Whiteclay still open to drinkers (AP 5/7)
Nebraska Supreme Court will hear case on Whiteclay beer sales (The Omaha World-Herald 5/3)
"There's a price for working here" former Whiteclay employee says (NTV 5/3)
Counselors descend on now-dry Whiteclay, but find nobody to help (The Omaha World-Herald 5/2)

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