Pine Ridge, Whiteclay and Indian Liquor Law


This brief article summarizes the history of the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux Reservation in South Dakota and its legal and social struggles with alcohol. Federal law and Tribal law ban possession and sale of alcohol on Pine Ridge. However these laws are usurped on a daily basis by four liquor stores selling alcohol to the Sioux in an unincorporated town just across the Reservation border in Nebraska.

The article discusses the law enforcement quagmire faced by Federal, Lakota, South Dakota and Nebraska authorities, and the uphill struggle of some Nebraska legislators to end liquor sales to the Sioux. It concludes by briefing potential solutions to the illegal alcohol sales problem, some realistic and others merely idealistic.

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