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Oglala Sioux Tribe calls off referendum to legalize sale of liquor

Filed Under: Law | National | Politics
More on: elections, liquor, oglala sioux, protests, south dakota
     
   

Tribal members of all ages rode horses in protest of a referendum to legalize alcohol on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Photo from Horse Spirit Society / Facebook

The Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota canceled a referendum that could have led to the sale of liquor on the reservation.

The vote was due to take place on Tuesday. But a group called the Horse Spirit Society helped convince the tribal council to pull the plug on Monday.

"OST COUNCIL VOTE 9 YES, 4 NO, 1 ABSTAIN," the group wrote on Facebook after leading a protest ride to council chambers.

In August 2013, tribal members endorsed alcohol sales but the tribe never implemented the results. The council then voted to 10 to 6 in February to authorize the new referendum, The Lakota Times reported.

Traditional leaders and their supporters oppose the sale of liquor, citing the negative impacts on the reservation. Mel Lone Hill filed a lawsuit in tribal court on Monday in hopes of stopping the vote.

"We should no longer question why our children commit suicide at alarming rates or our people turn to alcohol and drugs when our own supposed tribal government labels our elders as criminals and refuses to return the sacred pipe to the Lakota Oyate," the Strong Heart Warriors said in a statement. "The cause is right before our eyes."

Get the Story:
Protesters on horseback halt vote on alcohol sales on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (The Omaha World-Herald 5/17)

Related Stories:
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Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe to vote on liquor again (04/13)
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Dana Lone Elk: Oglala Sioux Tribe goes back on its word on vote (05/04)
Ivan Star: Ignoring alcoholism leads to destruction of the Lakota (01/29)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Alcohol is the most devastating weapon (12/05)
Oglala Sioux Tribe still working on plan for legal alcohol sales (07/24)
Tim Giago: Treat alcoholism and drug addictions as diseases (07/21)
Alcohol fuels most calls to Oglala Sioux Tribe's police officers (05/29)
Oglala Sioux Tribe alcohol referendum in limbo due to court case (04/14)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe to draft alcohol laws (01/13)
Gyasi Ross: Oglala Sioux Tribe makes hard decision on liquor (09/10)
Letter: Oglala Sioux Tribe takes control with legal alcohol sales (09/09)
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