End Alcohol-Related Illness and Violence Among Native American Tribe

no alcohol

Target: Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman

Goal: Shut down alcohol sales in Whiteclay to end alcohol-related misery on the reservation.

Four off-sale stores in Whiteclay, which is south of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, sell close to 4 million cans of beer annually, mostly to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The Oglala Sioux Tribe bans alcohol on its reservation because many Oglala people suffer from alcohol addiction that has led to widespread violence, health problems, and deaths.

T.R. McKenzie, a resident of Jefferson, South Dakota, and other activists filed a complaint with the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission after an incident on May 15, alleging that the owner of one of the liquor stores provided baseball bats to drunk men outside the store and urged them to assault two women who were participating in the protest. Fortunately, no one was harmed. Director of the commission Hobert Rupe said the allegations caused him great concern, and has forwarded them to the State Patrol for investigation. Before McKenzie could discuss the complaint with news media, he was arrested on charges that he had threatened a beer delivery worker. Frank LaMere of South Sioux City, Neb., a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska who has long campaigned for banning alcohol sales in Whiteclay, believed McKenzie’s arrest was a way to “silence the messenger.”

In the ongoing conflict to end alcohol sales in Whiteclay, there has been growing frustration as seen in confrontations between beer truck drivers and activists. A driver said he was threatened with a knife, and was warned he would be killed if he continued to deliver beer to Whiteclay. Windows were also smashed and tires slashed. Push Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman to outlaw alcohol sales in Whiteclay, which will not only prevent alcohol-related violence, health problems and deaths among the Oglala people, but will also stop dangerous confrontations between beer truck drivers and activists.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Dave Heineman,

The Oglala Sioux Tribe has a valid reason for banning alcohol in its reservation. Many of their people suffer from alcohol addiction that causes pervasive violence, health problems and alcohol-related deaths in the area. Despite the ban, beer trucks continue to deliver alcohol to Whiteclay. In fact, off-sale stores in Whiteclay sell close to 4 million cans of beer annually, mostly to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. These stores are also involved in starting problems. There are allegations that have been sent to the State Patrol for investigation that a store owner gave drunk men baseball bats and urged them to assault two women outside the store who were a part of the campaign to prohibit the sale of alcohol in Whiteclay.

Ending the sale of alcohol in Whiteclay will not only help a lot of the Oglala people end their struggle with alcohol addiction, but will also prevent dangerous confrontations from happening between activists and beer truck drivers. Help the Oglala people get better. Stop alcohol-related violence, health problems and deaths that have been far too common on the reservation.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: DJ spiess via Flickr

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