Opinion: It's Indians who keep drinking alcohol in Whiteclay

Ed. Note: Ted Frank is representing Kimberly Craven in her challenge to the $3.4 billion Cobell trust fund settlement.

"The Oglala Sioux tribe in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the southwest corner of South Dakota say they have an alcoholism problem; one out of four infants born suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome. So they've attempted regulations to keep the reservation dry, but that just creates an alcohol smuggling problem in addition to the alcoholism problem; in any event, any Indians wanting to drink can just go across the border to Nebraska. (Just as there are fireworks stores lying on the other side of state lines, and many casinos on the California-Nevada border, a small town of twelve on the Nebraska-South Dakota border is home to four beer stores.) This is, the tribe says in a $500 million lawsuit, not the fault of the Indians who keep drinking, or the Indians who smuggle alcohol into the reservation, but the fault of the major beer manufacturers and the Nebraska beer stores. How it is these companies' responsibility to prevent the legal sale of beer is beyond me; are they supposed to engage in racial profiling at the checkout counter? Refuse to sell to vendors near dry areas?"

Get the Story:
Ted Frank: Sioux sue (Point of Law 2/10)

Related Stories:
Oglala Sioux Tribe files lawsuit targeting liquor in Whiteclay (2/9)

Join the Conversation