The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs has awarded a $14,900 grant to expand business in Whiteclay.
The money comes from state funds set aside in a legislative bill passed in spring 2010, and 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.
The latest grant will fund the Whiteclay Entrepreneurial Expansion/Youth Healthy Living Project, a collaboration between the city of Rushville, the ABOUT Group, First Tee of Pine Ridge and Panhandle Public Health District. The project aims to offer business development strategies, equipment and supplies to existing Lakota-owned and -operated businesses. The project also will establish a mentoring program for area youth.
Sen. LeRoy Louden of Ellsworth has introduced a bill this legislative session that would provide an additional $15,000 for the NCIA to award to grant applicants in the next fiscal year.