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Oglala Sioux Tribe weighs legal sales of alcohol on reservation

The Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota will be holding a referendum to legalize alcohol on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Except for a stretch in 1970, the reservation has been dry since it was set aside for the tribe in 1889, The Wall Street Journal reports. Tribal leaders say it's time to make a change.

"The alcohol is here and it's not going to go away," Larry Eagle Bull, a council member who voted for the referendum, told the Journal. "Prohibition didn't work. If we legalize alcohol, the tribe will be sellers and we'll generate the money ourselves."

Supporters believe sales could generate millions of dollars in revenue for the tribe. Opponents, including President Bryan Brewer, are worried about high rates of alcoholism and the impact on families.

Brewer scheduled a meeting with Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) on Monday to discuss liquor sales in the border town of Whiteclay but it ended after just two minutes. Brewer said Heineman blamed the tribe and its members for alcohol woes while Heineman said Brewer questioned his integrity in light of campaign contributions from the liquor industry.

Get the Story:
Tribe Weighs New Approach on Alcohol Sales (The Wall Street Journal 7/10)
Differing Accounts Following Brewer/Heineman Meeting (KNBN-TV 7/9)
Heineman shocked with meeting with tribal leader (KOTA-TV 7/9)
Brewer "No Help" From Nebraska (KOTA Radio 7/9)

Related Stories:
Kevin Abourezk: Oglala leader walks out of Whiteclay meeting (7/9)
Kevin Abourezk: Nebraska governor won't halt Whiteclay liquor (7/8)
Editorial: Oglala Sioux Tribe should legalize sales of alcohol (06/24)
Native Sun News: Camp Zero Tolerance sets up by Whiteclay (06/21)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux president arrested in Whiteclay (06/19)
Native Sun News: Statement from Oglala Sioux Tribe president (06/18)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux president arrested in Whiteclay (06/17)
Kevin Abourezk: Oglala Sioux Tribe approves vote on alcohol (06/12)

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