Tribal Development Organization Has Big Hopes for Whiteclay Land
By Fred Knapp , Reporter/Producer Nebraska Public Media
Jan. 4, 2022, midnight ·
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A tribal economic development organization hopes to establish a “healing community” on newly-acquired land in Whiteclay, Nebraska, formerly known for beer sales to Native Americans.
In December, the Thunder Valley Development Corporation, headquartered on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, bought 48 acres of land across the state line in Whiteclay, Nebraska. That’s a tiny village -- 8 people in last year’s census -- that used to be known for stores that sold millions of cans of beer a year to residents of the officially dry reservation, home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe. After a long political and legal battle, those stores closed down five years ago.
Now, Tatewin Means, Thunder Valley’s executive director, says there are big hopes for what can be done there, including housing for tribal members with both short-term and long-term needs.
“We are hoping to service at any given time 800 to 1,000 people. To live there, to come there to utilize resources. The transitional housing is just that – it’s temporary. It’s those people that may need a place for 30, 60, 90 days. The permanent supportive is more long-term,” Means said.
Before any of that can happen, Means says, there’s a lot of work to be done, including a site survey, environmental studies, community engagement, and fundraising. She says she hopes construction can start within the next three years.
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