Leaders on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are trying to find ways to stop statistics like this: One in four children born there suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome.
Alcohol is not sold on the reservation but it is in nearby cities. That prompted Oglala Sioux tribe to file a lawsuit accusing the retailers and others of knowingly contributing to the reservation’s alcohol-related problems.
But, as Grant Schulte reports on the Great Falls Tribune website, beer companies have filed several motions to have the suit dismissed.
Lawyers for the beer companies said in court papers that such an order would force Whiteclay’s beer stores to discriminate against American Indians from Pine Ridge.
“The absurdity of this request cannot be understated,” said Jerald Rauterkus, an attorney for State Line Liquor in Whiteclay. The tribe “is seeking an order from this court that would actually command retail defendants to refuse the sale of their otherwise publicly available goods to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation based solely on their race and ethnicity.”
Are there other answers to the problem? That remains to be seen.
Randall Goyette, an attorney for the Jumping Eagle Inn store in Whiteclay, said the alcohol problems on Pine Ridge “can only be due to personal conduct.