Q & A
Some responses to current social and political concerns and events.
The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission is scheduled to hold hearings on the granting of beer store licenses on April 6th in Lincoln. The focus of this hearing will be to determine if there is adequate law enforcement to allow continued operation of the stores currently in Whiteclay. If the Commission determines that there is not, then possibly, licenses to operate in Whiteclay may not be granted to anyone. NOTE: the current Whiteclay beer store licenses are due to expire on April 30, 2017.
Recently, the Attorney General of Nebraska informed the Liquor Commission of their findings of a cumulative total of 22 violations of liquor sale regulations against the current Whiteclay beer store owners and their operations. Another hearing has been scheduled in early May to consider the AG's report.
Our opinion is that there is much legal maneuvering ahead.
Would closing the beer stores down in Whiteclay solve the alcoholism problem?
NO. But it will help create a ‘palette' of promise - of new businesses and services - and the hope of much-needed jobs and provision in a place which presently epitomizes problems, lacks and hopelessness. There are currently other groups working on the vital issues of health, addictions and especially the tragedy of those affected by FASD-related struggles. Our vision, our goal is to create new business and jobs.
Won’t ending sales in Whiteclay just send those customers onto the narrow roads leading to border towns, causing accidents or injury?
Currently obtaining beer in Whiteclay is as easy as walking a couple of miles, or scooting across the state line (even with expired/no tags) when no law enforcement is present (which is almost all of the time).
We believe that with enforcement of drinking/consumption and driving laws - and that applies equally to the responsibility of both Sheridan County AND the Oglala Sioux Tribe – tragic circumstances would be rare. Knowing the reality here - lack of transportation and lack of income - we don't believe much new traffic would be created. Of course, reservation bootleggers, who do have reliable transportation (and funds), could just have to go a little farther out to continue doing what they do. And, those border towns where beer sales would increase certainly all have in place already the public safety and law enforcement infrastructure to deal with any significant changes to their status quo.
Whiteclay Redevelopment L3C… what’s an L3C?
Basically, it is a low-profit limited liability corporation, a new and innovative (and IRS-recognized) legal entity which incorporates aspects of both a for-profit LLC and non-profits. The incentive by law, to ‘invest’, is that the central purpose of the corporation is to do a public good, for the benefit of society. It is not about making great financial gains or accumulating vast real estate wealth/acquisition. Individuals, other LLCs, foundations and government entities can be investors. A quick internet search will provide the interested with more details.
Why should I/we contribute or invest now?
Well for one thing, you'll be in on the ground floor of one of the most exciting and life-changing projects ever! So, your investment early on helps us expedite the economic redevelopment and social changes that will bless many.
We can begin to renovate and remake the buildings and property into other businesses as early as summer of 2017. With your help we can begin to hire local (Lakota) skilled labor to work alongside already committed volunteers to accomplish many of the physical improvements that are needed. Also, discussions with and the recruitment of Lakota entrepreneurs (and others) to fill these new locations has already begun. Those who make charitable contributions will quickly see the positive effect their gifts have made possible. Investors in the L3C have a financial 'share' in assets (including any future profits and/or appreciations) resulting in the operations and development of the acquired properties. The plan is to acquire more properties in and around Whiteclay and to help start more businesses and create more jobs. Investors in Whiteclay Redevelopment L3C will share in this exciting and promising future. The sooner funds are secured the sooner the economy of Whiteclay, Nebraska and neighboring Pine Ridge Indian Reservation begins to change for the better. Stay connected with us to follow the plan to progress.
What types of new businesses & services are you talking about?
Businesses that will begin to meet some of the basic needs and wants of the people of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Those types of goods and services which either do not exist currently on the Reservation or are hard for many to get to because of lack of transportation and distance. WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF CONDUCTING A COMMUNITIES SURVEY TO SEE WHAT LOCAL RESIDENTS WOULD LIKE TO SEE. To date, some of the most-mentioned things include: furniture store, laundromat, movie theater, clothing store, fabric store, coffee shop. "Someplace where there is something good for kids and families to do," is also mentioned often. Our first thought is a YMCA. Of course, there are many other needs that have been expressed - establishment of a skills training facility, an alcohol detox/rehab center, co-packing type business(es). Tourism-related ideas are also being developed. Motel/lodging, campgrounds, farmers market, a cultural center, and even an 'extreme sports'-type business! Besides retail business and entertainment businesses there is also a plan to develop a new housing community. Literally, the possibilities are nearly unlimited.
Ok, so what’s to stop somebody else from getting a beer license in the future in Whiteclay?
Right now, nothing. But we’re investigating ways to prevent that situation from ever developing again. Perhaps we can get our new President to rescind Theodore Roosevelts 1904 Executive Order which eliminated what had been the “Extension” of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation – a buffer zone intended to ‘prevent the sales of guns, knives and alcohol to the Indians’ and to ‘protect the people living on the reservation’. Sheridan County and/or the State of Nebraska could establish a no-sale zone, or, maybe we can get about 80 or more folks to move to a ‘redone Whiteclay’ and establish residence, vote to incorporate and go ‘dry’… who knows? BUT, this is where concerned citizens can begin to influence state and national leaders to ensure that existing conditions in Whiteclay never develop again.
Is this effort a part of or program of Lakota Hope Ministry, Inc.?
Understandably, there has been some confusion and conjecture regarding this effort. Various media formats (and those who write or post items) have picked up on all this, and that is good. But, in some cases, ‘things’ are printed, spoken or posted out there that are not factual. We anticipated that because the BonFleurs have been ministering full-time for over 13 years in Whiteclay, and have been promoting change here,thus it has been assumed by some that it is Lakota Hope Ministry (which the BonFleurs started) that’s involved. It is a separate organization, Whiteclay Redevelopment L3C, that is spearheading this campaign and effort.
Why the buffalo? On the B.O.B.S. P.L.A.N. & the Whiteclay Redevelopment L3C logos?
Because the buffalo remains a symbol of hope, of provision to the Lakota people. Before the efforts by the U.S. Government to eradicate these awesome creatures, the Lakota literally survived as a people because of their connection to ‘tatanka’, the buffalo or bison. The buffalo supplied food, shelter, clothing and inspiration to them. They recognized and honored the ‘sacrifice’ of these four-leggeds. That is why.
BTW.... the buffalo's nickname is "Bob".