Oglala President Brewer involved in #ShutDownWhiteClay TODAY! Dana Lone Hill
*photo credit to Joey Feaster
On the anniversary of the Occupation of Wounded Knee, February 27, 1973 and 40 years later, two bars in Whiteclay, Nebraska were shut down by about 60 activists of the Oglala Lakota Tribe and the Deep Green Resistance organization. It would not be the first time they shut them down, it is not the last time they shut them down. DGR (Deep Green Resistance) and a handful of Lakota have committed to fighting the good fight until they shut down Whiteclay, for the past year. Many people can argue that Whiteclay still opens for business the next day. Yet, no one will argue that they have always shut it down while protesting. They have been successful every time, even when members of DGR were arrested and thrown, locked together, in a dirty horse trailer littered with manure.
The number of people showing up to protest has always grown significantly. On February 28th, 2013 there were about a hundred, including Oglala Lakota Tribal President Bryan Brewer. The first time in the history of tribal government that an Oglala Sioux Tribal president showed up to help lead his people in a cause that they believe so strongly in. And they gathered at 8:00 pm to round dance and protest, but got word that the President was already en route from Rapid City to help with the protest. So they waited.
According to T.R. McKenzie, one of the five from DGR arrested in one of the last protests and transported to a local county jail in Nebraska in the back of a manure littered horse truck, the group waited around until Tribal President Bryan Brewer showed up. While waiting they observed about eleven Nebraska state troopers and many on the roofs of the buildings in Whiteclay.
The round dance started at about 8:45, surrounding Tribal President Brewer as three singers with a hand drum sang into the night. President Brewer stated: “Well, all this is going on in the midst of our Liberation Days and fortunately no one was arrested and we did succeed in closing White Clay despite a large number of Nebraska Highway Patrol and Sheriff Personnel. As a matter of fact, I had a confrontation with Sheriff Terry Robbins. He appeared to be under the influence of something. Alcohol or some substance that causes slurred speech. So I requested that he take a breathalyzer. Which he did and he blew zeros for alcohol testing but that is no excuse for bringing the topic of White Supremacists into the argument about whether or not White Clay was on treaty land or within the Oglala Sioux Tribes zone of influence, the buffer zone of 8-10 miles off the rez. I am so thankful that the Oglalas are standing up for this. Nothing good is coming from White Clay: We are working to Shut Down White Clay and have upcoming meetings with certain partners to negotiate, but we want it shut down.”
According to TR McKenzie, they received word that the tribal president was on his way to the round dance from Rapid City, so they waited for him to show up. When tribal President Brewer showed up, three singers with one hand drum and about a hundred dancers round danced in protest of White Clay.
According to Sara Olowan Martinez “We do have very strong allies in Deep Green Resistance and others but what we need is for our own people to step up. Everyone else loves us, we also need to love ourselves. This alcohol has no place here. I’m so happy this happened without any real planning with over a hundred people coming together. We heard there was a strong force of Highway Patrol and Sheridan County cops, which was fine either way. We had planned to just stay at the rez line but we ended up going straight into White Clay. Sheriff Terry Robbins was drunk. He was getting in President Brewer’s face, yelling that ‘this wasn’t treaty land, I will tell you the same thing that I tell these white supremacists.’ So I asked him if he was threatening us, he didn’t answer. I was offended he would yell at us like this and scream at our president but our President held his ground and stood up for us. He told the Sheriff at the end that we will be back ‘five times stronger.’ That was in reference to today’s round dance and rally to shut down White Clay. “
Olowan also stated her gratitude for the many new faces that showed up. The young and old. She said it was “the most beautiful thing she ever witnessed, to see the people say this is enough, because White Clay has a negative impact on every soul of the reservation. “We lost too many of our loved ones. “She said.
Today there is a wacipi, grand entry at 1:00 pm at the Billy Mills Hall in the village of Pine Ridge. Sometime after that, they plan on doing the same thing, for the third night in a row.
“We’ll be back, five times stronger.” President Brewer said.
The word is, keep posted to facebook for the calling.