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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.

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"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.

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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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