Opinion

Ivan Star Comes Out: Ending Whiteclay beer sales starts at home






A sign at Whiteclay, Nebraska. More than 4 million cans of beer are sold in Whiteclay every year, primarily to residents of the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation. Photo from Sober Indian, Dangerous Indian / Facebook

Stop buying alcohol and White Clay beer sales will also stop
By Ivan F. Star Comes Out
www.nsweekly.com

After all the debate either for or against the possible legalization of alcohol on the homeland, it’s over. Perhaps this “mood altering chemical” will be legalized in the future, but for now it’s over. For the moment we are status quo, nothing changed. Alcohol will be purchased in places like White Clay, “bootlegged” on the “rez,” and consumed in excess.

Yes, many will continue to drink this illegal substance to excess until their bodies cannot take it anymore and they will die prematurely. A normal death is not considered a trauma, but a premature death caused by alcohol is. Abusing alcohol and drugs is a symptom of unresolved trauma in a person’s life. As unhealthy as it is, people consume it as way to “deal” with their trauma.

Many more will consume it at backyard barbecues with a cooler full of ice and beer, believing they are participating in the proverbial American dream. A few may be able to “handle” their alcohol consumption and that is fine. But for a majority, it is a problem in many aspects. All-in-all, alcohol is being consumed within the “exterior boundaries” of a “dry” reservation without consequences.

Penalties for violating the “no alcohol” standard are so weak that they actually promote the illegal possession, sale, and consumption, of it. Tribal laws are such that an intoxicated person may be incarcerated but released after 8-hours with minimal punishments.

To some people it is a personal economic opportunity and thus we have bootlegging. Those with connections to the “governing body” (tribal council) never serve jail time even when they are “busted” for this crime. Illegal drug dealers and users are rampant now compared to a few years ago when all we had to worry about was alcoholism.

There is only one point I am alluding to is the fact that the consequences of the laws that are supposed to govern alcohol are useless. Although alcohol is illegal on our homeland, laws are minimal and punishment is lackadaisical.


Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Stop buying alcohol and White Clay beer sales will also stop

(Ivan F. Star Comes Out, POB 147, Oglala, SD, 605-867-2448, mato_nasula2@outlook.com)

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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