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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Year of Unity: What About Whiteclay?

Hat tip to John Andrews at South Dakota Magazine!

Kevin Abourezek of the Lincoln Journal Star draws our attention to new efforts to rehabilitate Whiteclay, the Nebraska border village that sells around 4 million cans of beer annually, mostly to residents of South Dakota's Pine Ridge reservation. Bruce BonFleur of the ABOUT Christian ministry has started a used clothing store and soup kitchen in Whiteclay and is trying to get resources to raze abandoned buildings and start a recycling center and some Lakota-owned businesses.

Some Nebraska officials are trying to help, and they met last month with some South Dakota legislators, including House Speaker Tim Rave, to see what could be done.

Rave agreed that solutions in Whiteclay and on the Pine Ridge Reservation would require support from state and federal leaders.

...Rave also said he didn't think South Dakota leaders would support spending money on solutions in Whiteclay this legislative session, considering the fiscal crisis his state is facing [Kevin Abourezk, "A Search for Solutions at Whiteclay," Lincoln Journal Star, 2010.01.31].

Hmmm... is that how the Year of Unity is going to play out? We'll talk a lot, but we won't put our money where our mouth is? But you know us poor white folks: we can't even afford three cents more a gallon for gasoline to fix our roads.

I know someone is going to hit the comment section and say we can't solve the Indians' problems by throwing money at them. But we found the resources to haul firewater across the frontier to introduce our red brothers to the "blessings" of "civilization"; we should be able to find a few pennies in our budget, even in tight economic times, to support solutions to the problems we caused.

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