Tag Archives: Pine Ridge

Four Beer Stores Near Pine Ridge Reservation Must Stop Sales After April 30th

Whiteclay | omaha.com

  • By Black Powder | RPM Staff – April 28. 2017

Due to an appeal by the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission of a district judge’s decision on Thursday, four beer stores in Whiteclay must stop selling alcohol on Monday.

The stoppage will go forward despite the stores winning an appeal with a Lancaster County judge, after the LCC refused to renew their licenses last week, citing a lack of adequate law enforcement in the area.

The judge said the LCC did not show that the stores had failed to qualify for renewals, but the state Attorney General filed an appeal of the decision late Thursday. That means the original ruling will stand until the court can issue another one as early as next week.

The unincorporated saloon town of Whiteclay has a population of 14 people and sits on the Nebraska-South Dakota border next to Pine Ridge home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Pine Ridge is a dry reservation struggling with alcoholism.

The four beer stores sell millions of cans annually to Native Americans from the reservation, where Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) has reached epidemic proportions. 1 in 4 babies are born with FAS.

The status of Whiteclay’s beer stores has been a constant political issue in the region, prompting waves of activism to end the alcohol sales.

As of right now, the four beer stores will have to stop sales April 30th at midnight.

Pine Ridge Marchers Step Forward Against Meth


Kevin Woster reports: March 25, 2016 

Parents and tribal officials on the Pine Ridge Reservation are facing a worrisome surge in methamphetamine use among tribal youth.

Friday in Pine Ridge Village, family members of meth users and their supporters marched to the front of the meth fight, proclaiming a grassroots campaign to rid the reservation of the potentially deadly drug.

They began at noon in light rain and chill winds, marching from the hill where the old Indian Health Service Hospital used to stand and down U.S. Highway 18 into town.

Their goal is for tribal members, and in particular the young, to withstand the storm of methamphetamine use that has been sweeping across their reservation.

Nineteen-year-old Jerica Dreamer, a former user, brought hard personal experience to Friday’s march against meth.

“It’s a bad thing. It’s really bad,” she said. “It hurts you. And it makes your body feel real ugly and sick.”

Dreamer said her addicted sister was recently jailed for meth use. She said other friends and relatives have the same problem.

“A lot of people my age and younger are starting to do meth,” she said. “And it’s not OK. It’s not good. It’s poisoning our people.”

Dreamer’s mother, Julie Richards, leads the Mothers Against Meth Alliance on the reservation. Richards began working on the meth problem when she recognized that another daughter was a user. She also developed a Mothers Against Meth Alliance Facebook page, where she gets contacts from people seeking information on meth or help with meth problems and loved ones who are addicted.

Richards organized Friday’s march, which attracted Susan Shockey from the Red Shirt Community 55 miles away.

“I come to support Julie’s effort on our reservation,” she said. “We want to get the message out to the people, to the youth, that meth isn’t Lakota.”

The Lakota culture relies on spirituality, not chemicals, Shockey said. She hopes more public awareness and grassroots marches and rallies and education campaigns can prevent and help reduce meth use.

Marchers Friday said every step forward in an event like the march and rally takes them closer to their goal of ridding the reservation of meth. But they know also it’s a big job.

Babe Poor Bear said she has “a cousin who’s hooked on meth,” and a niece who is also addicted. The problem is immense, and has overwhelmed the government system, she said.

“We have a system that’s not working here,” she said. “We no longer can rely on the system that is not working. We’re now working collaboratively, from a grassroots effort, which is what’s going on here today.”

“We understand it’s a very difficult time for our leaders,” said Babe Poor Bear of Pine Ridge. “We understand it’s a difficult time for our families. They’re at a loss. Nobody knows what to do with this meth epidemic.”

But they know enough to organize and fight it, one step at a time.

Marchers said it’s important for tribal government, law enforcement and treatment programs to increase work against meth. But they said grassroots events and outreach will have the greatest impact.


Two People Enter Not Guilty Pleas In Murder Of Emily Blue Bird

Emily Blue Bird

Emily Blue Bird

By Red Power Media, Staff

Two people accused of murdering a Pine Ridge woman pleaded not guilty

A man and a woman from Pine Ridge charged in the death of Emily Blue Bird on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court on Friday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 23-year-old Elizabeth LeBeau is charged with first-degree murder, and 29-year-old Fred Quiver is charged with being an accessory. Quiver also goes by Fred Brings Plenty.

Blue Bird, a 24-year-old mother of two was missing for nearly three weeks. Her body was discovered in a creek near Pine Ridge.

Frustrated by a lack of progress in the search by law enforcement, Carla Cheyenne, Blue Bird’s aunt, said her husband, Tom, chairman of the Grassroots Chapter of the American Indian Movement, organized the search party that found her body on Jan 21st.

The relationship between LeBeau and Quiver isn’t clear. It’s also not clear how they knew Blue Bird.

Two People Arrested In Connection With The Death Of Emily Blue Bird


Emily Blue Bird, 24, was last seen on the evening of Jan. 1

By Red Power Media, Staff, Updated Jan 27, 2016

Two suspects arrested in connection with Emily Blue Bird’s death

The Rapid City Journal reports, two people have been arrested in connection with the death of Emily Blue Bird, the 24-year-old mother of two whose body was discovered Thursday afternoon in a creek near Pine Ridge.

Two suspects are currently in tribal custody at this time on tribal charges, said Nedra Darling, a Washington, D.C.- based spokesperson for the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs. Darling declined to release the identities of the two suspects or the charges they face, and referred all inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Sioux Falls.

Frustrated by a lack of progress in the search by law enforcement, Carla Cheyenne, Blue Bird’s aunt, said her husband, Tom, chairman of the Grassroots Chapter of the American Indian Movement, organized the search party that found her body on Thursday.

According to Native News Online social media postings reported Blue Bird was last seen New Year’s Day evening at the Yellow Bird convenience store between Pine Ridge Village and the Prairie Wind Casino & Hotel.

There were rumors Blue Bird had been sighted in Rapid City since January 1, 2016.

Authorities indicated an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of Blue Bird’s death.

Man Accused Of Racial Slurs, Spilling Beer On Pine Ridge Students, Acquitted

People gather outside Rapid City High School before the start of the second day of the Trace O'Connell disorderly conduct trial in July at the Performing Arts Center.

People gather outside Rapid City High School before the start of the second day of the Trace O’Connell disorderly conduct trial in July at the Performing Arts Center.

By Red Power Media, Staff

A judge in Rapid City S.D. has acquitted a man accused of harassing Native American students from the Pine Ridge Reservation with racial slurs and spilling beer on them at a minor league hockey game.

41-year-old Trace O’Connell of Faith was the only person arrested in connection with the January incident that spurred protests by Native Americans and who believed the charge was too lenient.

Magistrate Judge Eric Strawn had ruled in May that O’Connell would face only a fine and not jail time, meaning the case would not go to a jury. The two-day trial in July drew as many as 250 spectators as well as protests outside the courthouse.


A group of students from the American Horse Indian School in Allen, —on the northeast edge of Pine Ridge— were watching a Rapid City Rush hockey game from the lower level of the Rushmore Plaza Ice Arena while O’Connell, who is white, was part of a group above them in a luxury suite.

Witnesses at the trial agreed that at one point, some of O’Connell’s beer came down on the group, but the descriptions ranged from it being accidentally spilled during a celebration to being poured, sprayed, and even spit down on the students and chaperones.

Witnesses from the school group also testified that O’Connell and perhaps others with him made racially insensitive comments to and about the students, but he and others denied it.

Today’s verdict might not be the last word on the incident. Oglala Sioux Tribal President John Yellowbird Steele has called for a federal investigation and a Minnesota attorney has filed preliminary paperwork for a federal suit against, among others, O’Connell and Rapid City – which owns the arena.

A group demonstrates in front of the Rapid City Performing Arts Center Monday, where the trial of Trace O'Connell is being held.

A group demonstrates in front of the Rapid City Performing Arts Center July 20, 2015, where the trial of Trace O’Connell was being held.

Rapid City Attorney Joel Landeen, who prosecuted the case, issued a written statement indicating his displeasure about the verdict on Tuesday morning.

“Obviously, we are disappointed in the decision. We felt all along the city had a strong case with enough evidence to move forward for conviction. The disorderly conduct charge was the strongest charge the city could bring. We worked with the facts we had and it was a challenging case to administer, with a variety of recollections and perceptions to share from numerous witnesses,” Landeen wrote.

“Overall, I believe the city was able to present the best argument available to support prosecution of disorderly conduct.”

Landeen went on to praise those who testified.

“Court proceedings can be intimidating and it took a lot of courage for the young witnesses to step forward and provide their testimony. Despite this outcome, I am hopeful that as a result of this case, people attending activities at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center will have a better appreciation of how their conduct and behavior can impact others and will conduct themselves accordingly at future events.”

A press release from the city indicated that the judge’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.