After a referendum vote held on August 13, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation has voted to legalize alcohol within its boundaries. While many within the Oglala Sioux Tribe vocally oppose the legalization of alcohol, others see it as a way to generate revenue for the tribe and end White Clay, NE.
While the vote passed with a narrow majority of 1,871 to 1,679 votes, the tribal council will have the final say in lifting the alcohol ban. Should the tribal council approve the vote, alcohol will be allowed on a reservation that has been dry for almost all of its 124-year history.
Proponents of the measure see lifting the ban as a way to eradicate White Clay, NE, a tiny border town that sells millions of cans of beer to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe annually. Those in favor also view lifting the ban as a way to grow the tribe’s economy.
An activist group has pledged to file an injunction to halt the sale of alcohol on the reservation, however. American Indian Grassroots claims that the August 13 vote was held illegally. They believe that the tribe failed to give proper notice of the vote, lacked adequate polling stations, and failed to train election workers properly.
The Oglala Sioux tribal council will vote on the referendum results on August 27. While the council could vote to dismiss the results, President Bryan Brewer believes that the council will approve lifting the alcohol ban.