Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe halts referendum on alcohol

Mothers and children take to the streets of Pine Ridge to protest the Oglala Sioux Tribe's proposed legalization of alcohol. Photo from Horse Spirit Society / Facebook

Oglala Lakota stop vote on alcohol
By Natalie Hand
Native Sun News Correspondent

PINE RIDGE –– Rain-soaked horseback riders from across the Oglala homelands converged on the Oglala Sioux Tribal (OST) offices in Pine Ridge Village on Monday to protest a referendum election to legalize alcohol on the dry reservation.

The rain did not dampen their resolve or spirit.

“If you do not shut this alcohol referendum down, there’s going to be war,” stated Percy White Plume, to OST President John Yellow Bird Steele.

White Plume led a delegation of horseback riders over 17 miles cross-country from Oyuhpe Oyanke to the tribal offices to confront the OST Tribal Council that had begun a three-day session on Monday. Jake Yellow Horse led a group of riders from the community of Oglala, where the proposed measure has been sharply criticized.

“Alcohol is and has been killing our people. What would Crazy Horse do for our people?” stated Yellow Horse at the protest in front of the tribal offices.

On this same day, OST Chief Judge Kimberly Craven was presiding over a hearing on an injunction motion brought by traditional headsman and elder Mel Lone Hill to block the referendum election. To a packed courtroom, Judge Craven explained that the Court has no jurisdiction over the Tribal Council and cannot rule against their resolutions or ordinances. Lone Hill’s request was denied.

Meanwhile, as the OST Tribal Council was about to recess for the day, Wounded Knee District Council Representative Collins “CJ” Clifford made a motion to stop the Alcohol Referendum Election. Oglala District Council Representative Floyd Brings Plenty seconded the motion.

Clifford felt moved to speak on behalf of the majority of his district, who oppose the legalization of alcohol.

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