The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota faces many challenges, but it’s encouraging to see positive followups to the closing of the beer stores 19 months ago in Whiteclay, Nebraska.
A school building will be converted into a 45- to 65-bed facility for residential treatment and detoxification, with the renovation funded by a $500,000 federal grant. Discussions are underway to establish a trauma center to address the high levels of fetal alcohol syndrome. Plans are moving ahead for a makerspace in Whiteclay where Lakota artisans can use quilting machines and other equipment.
The number of tribal police has grown from 24 to 54. Law enforcement on both sides of the state line need to be vigilant in cracking down on bootleg liquor.
Everyone should be wide awake to the remaining challenges, but also to the important opportunities for progress.