The decision to allow the sale of alcohol on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota is now up to tribe members.
The Oglala Tribal Council voted, 9-7, Tuesday night to hold a referendum on the legalization of the sale and consumption of alcohol on the reservation. A date for the tribe-wide vote has not been set.
If alcohol is legalized on the reservation, it could greatly reduce alcohol sales in Whiteclay, Neb., right across the border.
Last year, four stores sold the equivalent of almost 4 million cans of beer in Whiteclay, a village of roughly a dozen people. Most of the beer was sold to residents of the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s reservation.
Council member Dani LeBeau, who voted against holding the referendum, said alcohol has had a negative impact on the reservation, where she’s spent her entire life.
When tribe members decide on the issue, they need to keep future generations of Native Americans in mind, she said.
“It’s not just affecting the voter,” Lebeau said. “Having alcohol on the reservation will affect our babies, our youth, our high schoolers.”
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