Mary Pember: Whiteclay lawsuit puts alcoholism on front burner

"As a Native American woman and recovering alcoholic I am grateful for Whiteclay, Nebraska for the simple reason that it keeps the disease of alcoholism and addiction right where it needs to be for our people: front and center.

Having seen many failures and successes in sobriety, I am convinced that the message in the often-quoted recovery phrase willingness to do whatever it takes is the key to successful sobriety.

The Oglala Lakota lawsuit against beer companies and stores in Whiteclay is a bold step that reveals the communities desperation. Social and health services on the reservation are overwhelmed. As a recovering alcoholic, however, I see their desperation as a good thing. It is helping the community gain the willingness to put aside shame, embarrassment, denial and public censure. Although the lawsuit may be destined for failure, it could be an important move towards changing the public narrative surrounding alcoholism as a disease of “choice.”"

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Mary Annette Pember: Whiteclay: Oglala Lakota Lawsuit Keeps Alcohol Problem on Front Burner (Indian Country Today 6/5)

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