After 100 years, South Dakota’s Pine Indian Reservation is talking about lifting its ban on alcohol. The reservation plans on using the money to pay for alcohol abuse care and prevention.
According to the news story, Pine Ridge Reservation Considers Legalizing Alcohol, the reservation’s Oglala Sioux’s tribal council opened the discussion to legalize alcohol sales. Those in favor explained that locals were going to other towns to buy their alcohol so they might as well sell it on their own reservation.
The reservation needs the revenue badly as it has an unemployment rate near 80% and as of 2011, had a per-capita income of $7,890. “I see it as a way to get revenue to support prevention, intervention, rehabilitation and education,” says Robin Tapio, a tribe member who has been sober for 12 years. Other tribal members said that sales of alcohol would contribute to more of their people suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse.
“The alcohol is here and it’s not going to go away,” says Larry Eagle Bull, a council member who is in favor of lifting the ban. “Prohibition didn’t work. If we legalize alcohol, the tribe will be sellers and we’ll generate the money ourselves.”
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