Pine Ridge Reservation Ends Prohibition

Haeder

South Dakota
Mar 30, 2005
5,749
3,907
608
#1
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/15/us/reservation-counts-votes-on-ending-alcohol-ban.html?_r=0&pagewanted=print
Pine Ridge Reservation Votes to End Alcohol Ban
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS and JOHN ELIGON

For practically as long as the Oglala Sioux have lived on the Pine Ridge reservation, alcohol has been seen as one of the tribe’s greatest enemies.

Over the years, it has been illegally smuggled onto the reservation and blamed for crime, poverty, family estrangements, fatal car accidents, suicides and unemployment.

Now, alcohol is sowing resentment and division within the tribe as the people of Pine Ridge have voted to legalize its sale.

Tribal election officials on Wednesday evening confirmed that tribal members, in a public referendum, had voted to overturn the ban on possessing and selling alcohol on the reservation. The vote tally was 1,843 in favor of legalization and 1,678 against it, according to the election commission.

Tribal members will have three days to challenge the result, but the election chairman, Francis Pumpkin Seed, said the burden to get a vote struck down was high in that whoever complains would have to prove that election law was violated.

While supporters say legalization will allow them to regulate alcohol and earn money from sales, critics worry that it will only worsen the tribe’s problems.

“How far are we going to let it go?” asked Bryan Brewer, the tribal president, who is staunchly against legalizing alcohol. “How many more children are going to be murdered because of this?”

There have been protest marches by those opposed to ending prohibition, and the police have said people had received death threats.

Because of threats, the ballots were transferred to a secure location after the polls closed Tuesday so they could be counted.

Those supporting the initiative said opening shops that sold alcohol on the reservation would allow the tribe to keep a share of Pine Ridge’s money on the reservation that is now being spent in liquor stores in towns bordering it. Further, they argued that the tax proceeds from alcohol sales could be used to bolster the Oglala Sioux’s alcohol treatment programs. It remained unclear how much money allowing alcohol sales would produce for the reservation, which is one of the poorest places in the country and has unemployment rates estimated at more than 80 percent.

“Not legalizing it is just the status quo,” said Robert Ecoffey, 58, who worked in law enforcement on the tribe and served as a superintendent for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “You have all of the issues and none of the resources to help deal with it.”

But that argument was unconvincing to Mr. Brewer.

“We’re going to use alcohol money to spend on alcohol issues,” he said. “That doesn’t make sense to me. I consider this blood money that the tribe will be getting. I hate to accept it.”

Solving the alcohol problem, he said, requires educating children, returning to the roots of tribal culture and creating jobs through economic development. Instead, he said, the tribal council, the federal government and the people of Pine Ridge have turned a blind eye to the problem.

The United States government has traditionally banned alcohol on reservations, but during the past 20 years, as more tribes have opened casinos — which are the leading economic drivers on many reservations — those prohibitions have been relaxed by tribes. Still, many reservations continue to limit alcohol sales and consumption to casinos.

Even the smell of alcohol on a person’s breath in Pine Ridge has been cause for arrest. But despite the ban, alcohol — particularly beer — is plentiful on Pine Ridge. Most comes from stores that sell alcohol in the tiny town of Whiteclay, just across the Nebraska border from the reservation. Four stores in Whiteclay sell millions of cans of beer and malt liquor a year, almost all of it to the Oglala Sioux of Pine Ridge. Lawsuits, boycotts, police safety checks and protests organized by the tribe have all failed to close the stores or to put a significant dent in their business.

Ron Duke, Pine Ridge’s chief of police, said that while he did not personally support opening the reservation up to alcohol sales, legalizing it would free his officers from responding to calls in which there is a complaint about an inebriated person or the presence of alcohol inside a home — which he said took up the vast majority of an officer’s time.

But Chief Duke said that he expected the easier availability of alcohol to lead to a sharp rise in violence, which will challenge a department whose 37 officers are responsible for patrolling an area larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Like the majority of families on the reservation, Chief Duke, 63, said alcohol has had a devastating impact on his family. He said that he managed to avoid alcohol until he was 16, but was soon drinking heavily, like many among his family and friends.

During his 20s, he said, it was common for him to leave work at a beef packing plant in Nebraska, spend hours in a bar drinking until closing time at 2 a.m. and then return to work at 6 a.m.

Chief Duke said he finally gave up alcohol when he turned 31. But alcohol’s ill fortune caught up to some members of his family. Two of his daughters, he said, were killed in drunken-driving accidents in the 1990s.
 

Georgie

Registered User
Jul 10, 2013
401
225
83
#6
Like I've always said. We should have shared bottles not blankets. Enough with these types polluting our beautiful lands with their tacky casinos.
 
Dec 8, 2004
48,162
20,666
693
Maine
#11

Those supporting the initiative said opening shops that sold alcohol on the reservation would allow the tribe to keep a share of Pine Ridge’s money on the reservation that is now being spent in liquor stores in towns bordering it. -
Shocking...
 
Dec 8, 2004
48,162
20,666
693
Maine
#12
Umm from the "Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation"

Pine Ridge Reservation, located in South Dakota, is home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe and is 2,000,000 acres large with an estimated population of close to 40,000. The reservation is large, and its needs immense, commensurate with grinding poverty. Unemployment is over 80%, the weather is extreme, and families struggle mightily with crushing financial, housing, health, educational and social issues.

Ummm how are they even affording booze...

http://www.friendsofpineridgereservation.org/

Oh and in depth stats of the reservation... jeebus...

http://www.4aihf.org/id40.html

Just a snippet...

* Some figures state that the life expectancy on the Reservation is 48 years old for men and 52 for women. Other reports state that the average life expectancy on the Reservation is 45 years old. With either set of figures, that's the shortest life expectancy for a community anywhere in the Western Hemisphere outside Haiti, according to The Wall Street Journal.

* Teenage suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is 150% higher than the U.S. national average for this age group.

* The infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent and is about 300% higher than the U.S. national average.

* More than half the Reservation's adults battle addiction and disease. Alcoholism, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and malnutrition are rampant.


* The rate of diabetes on the Reservation is reported to be 800% higher than the U.S. national average.

* Recent reports indicate that almost 50% of the adults on the Reservation over the age of 40 have diabetes. Over 37% of population is diabetic.

* As a result of the high rate of diabetes on the Reservation, diabetic-related blindness, amputations, and kidney failure are common.

* The tuberculosis rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately 800% higher than the U.S. national average.

* Cervical cancer is 500% higher than the U.S. national average.

* Each winter, Reservation Elders are found dead from hypothermia (freezing).
 
Last edited:
Dec 8, 2004
48,162
20,666
693
Maine
#13
Oh and White Clay NE (just over the border), which has a population of 14 but 4 "grocery" stores... yeesh...



A rading post was set up to sell alcohol to the Lakota, and merchants have continued to do so since. In 2010, its four beer stores sold an estimated 4.9 million 12-ounce cans of beer, an average of over 13,000 cans per day, for gross sales of 3 million dollars.[1] The outlets provide no place on site for customers to consume beer, and it is not supposed to be drunk on the streets, but inebriated customers are often sprawled around Whiteclay. John Yellow Bird King, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, says that tribal members bring alcohol illegally back from Whiteclay and "90 percent of criminal cases in the court system" at the reservation are alcohol-related.[5] Beer is sold almost exclusively to residents from the reservation, as the nearest big city (and other customers) is two hours to the north.[5] According to Mary Frances Berry, the 10-year chair of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Whiteclay can be said to exist only to sell beer to the Oglala Lakota.[6] Victor Clarke, the owner of Arrowhead Foods, a grocery store in Whiteclay that does not sell alcohol, said he "did more than a million dollars in business last year, with an entirely Native American clientele."[2] As the reservation has no banks and few stores, its residents spend most of their money in Nebraska border towns, for regular needs as well as alcohol. The beer stores in Whiteclay cash welfare and tax refund checks for the Oglala Lakota, taking a 3 percent commission
 

Yesterdays Hero

She's better than you, Smirkalicious.
Jan 25, 2007
16,283
3,875
571
Canada. Land of the Fat.
#14
Native Indians up here are like cockroaches. They're the vast sweeping majority of the drunks, the homeless, the criminals. New story about a crime? Probably a Chug. Something stolen? Surveillance video shows a Chug. They're like the Canadian Version of the Shwoogie. They'll drink ANYTHING with alcohol in it. They're big fans of Lysol.
 
Dec 8, 2004
48,162
20,666
693
Maine
#15
Native Indians up here are like cockroaches. They're the vast sweeping majority of the drunks, the homeless, the criminals. New story about a crime? Probably a Chug. Something stolen? Surveillance video shows a Chug. They're like the Canadian Version of the Shwoogie. They'll drink ANYTHING with alcohol in it. They're big fans of Lysol.
Or if they can't get Lysol... they will huff gasoline instead like some of the dry towns way the fuck up north...
 

Haeder

South Dakota
Mar 30, 2005
5,749
3,907
608
#18
Update: election challenge forthcoming. Here's my favorite line:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"However, Thomas Cheyenne, president of the American Indian Movement Grassroots, said he believed that a majority of tribal members would have voted against legalization if more had gotten to the polls."
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yessir, if everybody showed up and voted, things might have been different. However, that's not how elections work.

http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/ac...3-8edc-634b5a566b07.html?print=true&cid=print

Activists plan to file injunction against alcohol referendum on Pine Ridge Reservation

4 hours ago • Daniel Simmons-Ritchie Journal staff

Following the results of a historic referendum this week, a Native American group pledged on Thursday to file an injunction in tribal court to halt the legalization of alcohol on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The American Indian Movement Grassroots, an activist organization that is opposed to legalization, believes that Tuesday's vote was illegal due to a lack of polling sites, improper notice for tribal members, inadequate training for election workers and other issues.

After all ballots were tallied by midnight Wednesday — and some removed because they were filled out incorrectly — a narrow majority of reservation voters chose to legalize alcohol 1,871 to 1,679 votes, or 52.7 to 47.3 percent. The result, if approved by the tribal council later this month, will end a ban on alcohol that has existed for the near-entirety of the reservation's 124-year history.

However, Thomas Cheyenne, president of the American Indian Movement Grassroots, said he believed that a majority of tribal members would have voted against legalization if more had gotten to the polls.

"There's a lot of them, because of transportation," he said. "And it wasn't notified. There wasn't enough information for the tribal members — they weren't informed on what was going to happen."

But Francis Pumpkin Seed, chairman of the tribe's election commission, disputed those complaints on Thursday.

He said the overall count of 3,550 valid votes was one of the highest in Oglala Sioux history — higher than its council election in November.

"Had the numbers been really, really low, I would say maybe there was a mistake, but the numbers were higher than the general election," he said.

Pumpkin Seed said it was true that Tuesday's election was conducted on a tight budget. In a general election, the tribe's executive branch usually budgets about $150,000. This election, the executive branch allocated $15,000 to his commission.

Pumpkin Seed said that meant he could only plan to open nine polling places instead of the usual 22, which, while not preferable, was not illegal. Tribal law doesn't stipulate how many polling sites need to open on the day of an election.

He said the training given to election workers was the same as any regular election.

Pumpkin Seed also insisted that his commission provided proper public notice about the referendum date. While the law says a general tribal election requires 180 days of notice, it offers no guidance on how much notice is needed for a special election. He said his commission sent out election notices on June 29, two weeks before the referendum, and it was advertised in print, radio and television.

"I don't believe my commission has violated any sections of that law," he said.

Ultimately, he said he believed the American Indian Movement Grassroots would be wasting its time by filing an injunction.

He said the normal process to challenge an election result is to file a complaint with his office within three days of the election's certification. His office then has five days to tell the complainant whether it agrees or disagree with the complaint. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the commission's ruling, that party can then appeal to the tribal supreme court.

By filing an injunction at this point, Pumpkin Seed said, the lower courts will only turn it away and say that the matter is outside of its jurisdiction.

"It's only going to prolong their own process," he said.

Whether the American Indian Movement Grassroots files an injunction or files an election complaint this week, it's unlikely to deter the group from trying to stop legalization.

Cheyenne said that if the group feels its complaints aren't heard, it may hold protests.

He said alcohol legalization would only hurt the Lakota culture and aggravate existing alcohol problems on the reservation.

"The crime rate and the death rate from alcohol will increase," he said. "Sclerosis and everything that comes with it. And violence, which is going to be a bigger problem."
 

Haeder

South Dakota
Mar 30, 2005
5,749
3,907
608
#19
Kinda big news around here. Our news guy says the place looks like a third world nation. Yay for government assistance!
You have no idea. Take a trip to Whiteclay, Nebraska if you have a chance. Not too far from Wyoming (when did you move to Wyoming?). You'll actually be able to feel the depression and despair hanging in the air.
 
Dec 8, 2004
48,162
20,666
693
Maine
#23
You have no idea. Take a trip to Whiteclay, Nebraska if you have a chance. Not too far from Wyoming (when did you move to Wyoming?). You'll actually be able to feel the depression and despair hanging in the air.
Had a look around in street view... what a fucking shit hole... the town seems to just have those four "grocery" stores... then a couple of stores selling wagon burner nicknacks... oh and a bunch of Indians sitting around... as for the reservation just seems to be a whole lot of empty space...

Oh and perhaps that 15k the spent on the election might of been used to I dunno put a well in or insulate a few houses so they don't find a dehydrated/frozen elder corpse in the spring...

Look at the size of the reservation...

 
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