By Ang Gilchrist
A march named “Women’s Day of Peace” was held in Whiteclay on Sunday afternoon to protest alcohol sales to Native Americans from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Event organizer Olowan Martinez said it was an opportunity for tribal women to take control and express their dislike of alcohol sales in Whiteclay.
The march included approximately 100 women, children, and men that walked from Pine Ridge to Whiteclay to share their family stories of how alcoholism has negatively affected their lives on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
There were several law enforcement officials present to ensure the protest remained peaceful, including 14 officers from Troop E of the Nebraska State Patrol(NSP), 8 Sheridan County Sheriff’s Department deputies/reserves, OST officers, and the Shannon County Sheriff’s Dept.
Deep Green Resistance, an environmental group based out of California, had about 15 protestors present to support the Lakota people in their stand against alcohol sales. Five members created a human chain across Highway 87 by connecting themselves with pieces of pvc pipe that ran from shoulder to shoulder. The group stated that it was their intent to be arrested for the publicity.
After several hours of blocking traffic and refusing to unlock themselves, the protest ended around 7:30 p.m. when the five members of Deep Green Resistance were arrested and fashionably loaded into the back of a horse trailer and transported to the jail in Rushville.
“After repeated attempts to have them cooperate, we had to find a vehicle that would safely transport the protestors,” said Captain Mike Gaudreault, Troop E, NSP. He said that due to the protestors method of connecting to each other with the pvc pipe, using a bus or other means to transport was not a viable option. Law enforcement had to physically lift the “chain” into the trailer to be transported. Upon arrival at the jail, the five arrested individuals willingly unhooked themselves and walked into the jail for processing.
Those arrested include Valerie Wesp, 20, Wisc.; Rachel Collins, 22, Florida; Alex Budd, 20, Colo.; Alexander Knox, 25, Wash.; and Timothy McKenzie, 32, S.D. All five are charged with three counts, including: Resisting arrest, failure to obey lawful order from the NSP, and obstructing a roadway, and are scheduled to appear in Sheridan County court on September 26, 2012. One other protestor was arrested earlier in the day for terroristic threats and use of a weapon to commit a felony, according to the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Department.
By Ang Gilchrist