Editorial: Oglala Sioux Tribe takes control with sales of alcohol





Newspaper praises members of Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota for voting to legalize alcohol on the reservation:
Residents took the first step toward a serious solution this week when they voted to end prohibition, which would keep more of that money in the reservation economy. Under a proposed ordinance, the tribe will own and operate stores on the reservation. More than 60 percent of the nation’s 337 recognized Native American tribes allow liquor sales on their reservations. The idea is to generate profits and taxes from liquor sales to generate money for the tribe to build education, detoxification and treatment centers. Currently, there is one detox center with six beds on the reservation, which has 50,000 or so members.

The biggest challenge the tribal government will face is figuring out how to successfully operate a store. The reservation has few retail businesses. Perhaps the tribe can borrow some management experience from its successful Prairie Wind Casino, which could also begin selling drinks under terms of the proposal.

Even if the strategy succeeds, Whiteclay retailers can continue to serve tribal customers. They already cash hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks for residents of the reservation, which has no banks. Whiteclay stores sell cheaper cigarettes than those available on the reservation. Two Whiteclay grocery stores don’t sell alcohol and still do a thriving business.

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OPINION: Pine Ridge (The Scottsbluff Star-Hearld 8/18)

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