September 9, 2008
The border between Nebraska and the Pine Ridge Reservation, marked with only a sign, has been a battleground in more ways than one since the area was first settled and the reservation established. Tensions have been known to run high in the border towns, and no place demonstrates that more than Whiteclay, with its history of selling 4 million cans of beer a year to the reservation.
Now, journalist Stew Magnuson, a native Nebraskan, has taken a look at the relationship between the Pine Ridge Reservation and Nebraska’s border towns, particularly those in Sheridan County. In his just released book, “The Death of Raymond Yellow Thunder: And Other True Stories from the Nebraska-Pine Ridge Border Towns,” Magnuson attempts to characterize the centuries-old debate over ownership of the land, racism, alcoholism and misunderstandings.
Magnuson’s book, published by Texas Tech University Press as part of its Great Plains Histories series, was scheduled for release this month, but the publication date was moved up and the book was released a few weeks ago. Magnuson will complete a book tour through the Panhandle with several stops already scheduled. Regional appearances include: Knight Museum in Alliance Oct. 23 at 6 p.m.; Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, S.D., Oct. 24 from 1-3 p.m.; Prairie Edge Bookstore in Rapid City, S.D., Oct. 26 at 2 p.m.; and a tentative appearance at the United Methodist Church in Gordon at 6 p.m. Oct. 27. He’s also working to schedule a reading/panel discussion in Chadron at some point in the future.