Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sioux nation beer ban

This article from the Houston Chronicle:

Mark Vasina, president of Nebraskans for Peace, a mostly non-Indian activist group that tried to end alcohol sales in the border town, said the blockade is the only option left.

"They said, `Nebraska is not going to do anything. The only recourse is to do something on the reservation.' So the blockade was on in a flash," Vasina said. He added: "It's not for a day, not for a week, not for a month. The intention is to have an ongoing blockade there."

Lance Lintt, who works at the Jumping Eagle Inn, one of the four stores in Whiteclay, said of the blockade: "I just don't know how it's going to work or how they have any legal grounds to confiscate any beer. I just don't think they'll get anyone to stop for them."

The plan is to set up checkpoints just inside the reservation's boundaries. Volunteers in Whiteclay will use radios to tell workers at the checkpoints which vehicles should be stopped and searched for beer. Other vehicles will not have to pull over.

Tribal police will not enforce the blockade but will be present to maintain order, said Alex White Plume, vice president of the tribal council.

I just have to go on record saying that this is a bad idea.
Yes, alcohol is being abused there. But the availability of alcohol is not the real problem. Massive, pernicious and chronic unemployment is the problem.
The Pine Ridge reservation has had unemployment in the 75~85% range for a decade that I'm aware of, and some 95% of the population lives below the federal poverty level.

Sadly, it doesn't appear that there will be any new jobs created for the tribe by the enforcement policy, so unemployment will not be affected and the price of beer inside the reservation will only skyrocket due to the ban.
Hmmm... sounds like the only jobs that will emerge from this will be in the transport (blockade runners) and distribution of beer or other alcoholic beverages.

Have we lost the lessons of prohibition so soon?


Blogger GollyGumDrops said...

Isn't there some sort of freedom issue here? OK so beer is not "the cause of and solution to all of life's problems", but it seems to be a major infringement of peoples rights to have others blockade their beer supplies.

July 03, 2006 1:40 PM  
Blogger St. Vini said...

I'm still not sure how they could work this...if they have people calling in on radios to tell them which cars to pull over, well great. But isn't there an illegal search going on (who knows what the tribal laws are regarding that...), and what's to stop someone form swapping vehicles somewhere along the route? Or even just standing outside the reservation in full view of the vigilantes and downing all the beer?

Prohibition still doesn't work...

July 06, 2006 7:40 AM  

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