Editorial: Oglala Sioux Tribe must take responsibility for liquor

Newspaper calls on the Oglala Sioux Tribe to take responsibility for alcohol problems:
A recent meeting between Nebraska’s governor and the president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe didn’t go well.

They were supposed to talk about alcohol sales in Whiteclay. The meeting lasted three minutes. Tribal President Bryan Brewer asked Gov. Dave Heineman what he was going to do about it. Heineman asked Brewer what he was going to do about it. Offended, Brewer walked out. As another act in the political theater that surrounds Whiteclay, it was typical. Posing for photos and pointing fingers has always taken precedence over effective action.

But Heineman posed a fair question. It’s not up to him to remedy alcohol problems on the sovereign Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Nebraska can’t police the reservation, not even to arrest people who have been assaulting, threatening and shooting at beer truck drivers on Nebraska’s side of the border. He can’t compel tribal police to set up roadblocks to catch bootleggers who buy beer in Whiteclay, take it onto the officially dry reservation and re-sell it. He can’t control what retailers sell in Oelrichs, Oral, Kadoka, Murdo, White River, Wall, Rapid City or other South Dakota towns that sit just outside the reservation boundaries. He doesn’t even have direct authority to shut down businesses in Whiteclay. Even if he did, he’d soon hear similar demands to shut down the next closest stores in Rushville and Gordon.

Get the Story:
OPINION: Responsibility (The Scottsbluff Star Herald 7/17)

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