The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs has awarded a $10,000 grant to the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office to increase patrolling of Whiteclay.

The money comes from state funds set aside in a legislative bill passed last spring. The program is meant to address economic development, health care and law enforcement needs in Whiteclay, where four beer stores sell nearly 4 million cans of beer a year.

Most of that beer is sold to residents of the nearby dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

"We understand that additional law enforcement efforts alone will not solve all of the area's problems, but we are hopeful that this marks the beginning of the end to a long and painful struggle and will serve as the starting point to a new era of hope and change for the Native populations in the Pine Ridge area," said NCIA Executive Director Judi M. gaiashkibos in a statement.

The sheriff's office will use the $10,000 on overtime and mileage costs for extra patrols in Whiteclay. The Legislature set aside $25,000 for the grant program, and the commission still is seeking Whiteclay-area applicants to receive the remaining $15,000.

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