By J. G. / Deep Roots Collective
Monday morning September 2nd protestors swarmed and created a road block for cars leaving Whiteclay. Activists marched through the town and blocked entrances into the various liquor stores. Today’s action is part of an ongoing campaign to stop liquid genocide on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
The town of Whiteclay lies less than 300 feet from the border of Pine Ridge, where the sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited. While Whiteclay has a population of 14, there are 4 liquor stores in the town, selling 13,000 can of beer each day mostly to the Oglala Lakota in Pine Ridge making $34 million in revenue annually.
Lauren Lorenruiz came from Salt Lake City, Utah to stand in opposition to liquor sales, “The reason I am here today is because Whiteclay is poison…What we are seeing is a place of exploitation, a place of wrong-doing. These kinds of establishments are designed solely to destroy people so its profit over people and its inherently wrong… It has been tearing apart the Lakota people for over 100 years and we’re ready for it to stop.”
A protestor from Connecticut stated, “As an ally to the Lakota people I think that solidarity is in sacrifice. As a non- native white person I have a form of privilege that I can bring attention to these issues.”
Two days previous, people from all over the country marched into White Clay for the second annual Women’s March and Day of Peace to bring awareness of the harms caused by alcoholism.
Even with the highly contentious vote to legalize alcohol in Pine Ridge Pine Ridge activists remain undeterred. Present at the Women’s Day of Peace, Oglala Lakota activist Olowan Martinez spoke to how alcohol has had a devastating impact on the people of Pine Ridge and continues to be used as a chemical weapon of genocide against the Lakota people and their culture to this day, “They use alcohol to trick us and now we trick ourselves.”