Press Releases

Oglala Lakota Nation’s 41st Annual Wounded Knee Occupation


Contacts: Olowan Martinez 605 407-0801
Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336

Oglala Lakota Nation’s
41st Annual Wounded Knee Occupation
Liberation Day Event in Pine Ridge, South Dakota Celebrates Sobriety

WHITECLAY, NEBRASKA (February 28, 2014) - Alcohol Justice is reporting that the Oglala Lakota Nation will hold its 41st Annual Wounded Knee Occupation Liberation Day.  The event is an opportunity to educate and decolonize future generations through the four-direction walk, oral teachings, music and more importantly, a time to tell the truths of oppression that still affect the Oglala Lakota Nation.

“With the invasion of native lands our identity of being the first human beings here became distorted and we were forced to accept being less then human.  Let us not forget the worst of the oppressor’s tactics - Alcoholism”, stated activist Olowan Martinez.  “Liberation Day represents that the era of the passive drunk Indian is over! Having true faith in our way of life we see today in 2014 that every action we take should benefit 5 generations ahead of us. We have so many strong sober relatives that the only option is to continue to heal. We no longer hide our spirituality; we no longer walk in shame of who we are. An escape from the slavery of alcohol is now occurring and soon the mind of the Oglala Lakota will also be liberated," Martinez added.

Over the past year tension has intensified between Pine Ridge activists, Whiteclay liquor storeowners, and the Pivo Anheuser-Busch beer distributor. In several instances activists successfully blockaded the delivery of Budweiser beer to the local Whiteclay liquor stores, which account for 80% of the beer brand smuggled into Pine Ridge. Storeowners responded by arming inebriated customers with bats and fireworks, and offering them financial compensation, to confront the activists. Law enforcement decided to use taxpayer money to escort beer trucks into Whiteclay enabling the illegal bootlegging to continue.

Due to increased activism, beer sales in Whiteclay have decreased for the fourth consecutive year, according to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission. Activists are charging that the illegal alcohol activity and bootlegging have not been stopped in Whiteclay, Nebraska because of heavy financial contributions to Nebraska legislators from Anheuser-Busch, alcohol distributors and alcohol trade associations.

Big Alcohol political financial contributions include:

  • $96,000 to Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (making the alcohol industry one of his top contributors)
  • $86,000 to Nebraska State Attorney General Jon Bruning (since 2008)
  • $135,000 to candidates for Nebraska in-state offices in 2010 (according to the Institute on Money in State Politics)

  • What:   Independence Oglala Nation 41st Annual Wounded Knee Occupation Liberation Day
    When:  10 a.m., March 1 & 2nd, 2014
    Where: Pahin Sinte Owayawa Porcupine, SD – Pine Ridge Homeland


  • 25% of Pine Ridge Reservation youth suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
  • 2/3 of Pine Ridge Reservation adults suffer from alcoholism
  • 75 percent of the beer bootlegged at Whiteclay, comes from the Pivo Anheuser-Busch distributor based out of Scottsbluff, Nebraska
  • To stop the illegal alcohol activity at Whiteclay, Nebraska such as:
  • Retailer participation in alcohol smuggling into the Pine Ridge Reservation
  • Trade of alcohol for sex
  • Loitering at the premises of alcohol retailers with open containers
  • The inability of Nebraska Liquor Commission to stop illegal retailer activity
  • Recent homicides and physical violence
  • Alcohol sales to minors
  • Alcohol sales to intoxicated people

  • For More Information:

    Media Availability
    For more info or to schedule interviews, contact Jorge Castillo, Advocacy Director, Alcohol Justice (213) 840-3336.