Members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe are voting today on whether to allow alcohol to be sold at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The reservation is the last one in South Dakota that’s still dry.
The issue is going to a vote as supporters say alcohol is already coming into the area from just across the border in Whiteclay, Nebraska, so the tribe should simply accept the inevitable and take control.
Those backers say profits from alcohol sales could be used to educate tribal members about the dangers of alcohol abuse — and for detox and treatment centers.
Opponents of ending prohibition blame the bottle for all that ails the reservation, from crime and joblessness to suicide, domestic abuse and infant deaths.
Today’s vote is expected to be very close. There are four state-licensed beer stores in Whiteclay, selling a combined total of more than four-million cans of beer every year.