Posted 9 months ago
By John Axtell
The question of legalizing alcohol for revenue for the tribe has caused deep division among tribal members. Alcohol has been banned since the creation of the reservation in 1889.
The ban was lifted for 2 months in 1970, but then restored. An attempt to lift the ban again in 2004 died after an outcry.
Even though alcohol is banned, alcoholism is rampant on the reservation. Much of the alcohol there is beer purchased in Whiteclay and other border towns, then sneaked onto the reservation.
Supporters of legalization with sales through tribal-owned locations say it would end bootlegging and bring in revenue that could be used for alcohol treatment and prevention programs. Opponents say it would just make alcoholism problems worse.
The tribal council has approved placing a permanent Port of Entry at the border near Whiteclay to curb the flow of alcohol onto the reservation. Anti-alcohol activists, sometimes joined by tribal law enforcement, have set up checkpoints there in the past.