Activists today are blockading the road into the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation just north of Whiteclay, the town on the South Dakota-Nebraska line, according to this story in the Rapid City Journal.
If you’ve ever been to Whiteclay, you know why – the “town” is little more than a collection of stores that sells beer, mostly to people who live on the dry reservation. “So many mournful Oglala stories have White Clay at their end,” writer Ian Frazier wrote in his book, “On the Rez,” about Pine Ridge.
To go to Whiteclay, even to drive through as fast as the speed limit allows, is to saturate oneself in misery. Yeah, what the stores are doing is perfectly legal, as several store owners told me in quite strenuous terms the last time I was there. But is it moral?
By their actions, the members of the Tenza Strong Heart Civil Rights Movement and the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety, who are conducting today’s blockade, would seem to answer that it’s not.