Oglala Lakota Nation Legalizes Alcohol

The Tribal membership of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Nation in South Dakota has voted to legalize the sale of alcohol on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which for a century had been one of the last bastions of prohibition in the United States. Subject to county and state permitting requirements, the new law will authorize the Nation to own and operate liquor stores on the reservation, and profits will be used for education and detoxification/treatment centers. The unofficial ballot result is 1645 votes in favor, 1494 against, and 438 challenge votes.

Alcohol abuse among Tribal populations is blamed for exceptionally high rates of domestic abuse, suicide, infant mortality and unemployment. Currently, four stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska (two miles south of Pine Ridge) sell significant quantities of alcohol to Oglala members. Last year the Nation sued beer stores and manufacturers for $500m alleging a connection with the reservation's social problems, but a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit.

The Nation’s proposed alcoholic beverages code can be viewed HERE.

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