According to the American Indian Humanitarian Foundation, more than 4.1 million cans of beer a year are sold in Whiteclay, Nebraska; that's about $3 million in sales. And that's revenue that stays in Nebraska.
Alcohol has been banned from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation since the early 70's, but recently there has been talk about changing that.
Alcoholism affects eight out of ten families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, even though alcohol is banned. But the issue of legalizing alcohol has recently been brought to the Oglala Sioux Tribal Court.
Vice president Tom Poor Bear says he thinks it would be hypocritical to legalize alcohol since the tribe recently entered a lawsuit against alcohol distributors, but he also says the income from alcohol sales could be beneficial to the Lakota people. "The revenue from the alcohol sales could help with our treatment programs, detox programs, some type of programs that could work with the youth on alcohol instead of leaving it wide open over there," said Poor Bear. "You know leave the monster in Nebraska, but let's bring the heart over here."
Poor Bear says alcohol has been legal on the reservation before and it didn't work because of poor management of liquor stores.
The current tribal administration has about a week left in office so the issue will most likely be passed on to the next administration. Newly elected President Bryan Brewer has already stated he does not support legalizing alcohol on the reservation.