The Oglala Sioux nation of Lakota Indians, long located around the area of the modern day Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota, has struggled with the effects of alcoholism since they were forced to abandon their old ways of life, for the last time, in the 1870s. Since then, it has been a major goal of Native American activists and various temperance groups to ensure that no businesses are able to circumvent the ban on alcohol sales to the Native American residents of the Pine Ridge reservation.

But for various reasons, these efforts had failed for more than 125 years. However, things started to change for the first time in 2016, when the Nevada Liquor Control Board gave the four stores of neighboring Whiteclay, Nebraska, a town whose sole industry has long been the sale of beer and wine to Pine Ridge residents, notice that they were strongly considering not renewing their liquor licenses.

In May of 2017, the Liquor Board followed through on its threat, denying the renewal of the licenses for all four stores, forcing them to immediately shutter their operations and, for the first time in more than 125 years, denying the residents of Pine Ridge who wished to circumvent the ordinances banning alcohol sales the ability to buy beer.

The stores appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court. But just last month, the court rejected the arguments of the stores on a technicality. This ends all hopes that the stores will be able to reopen, effectively ending the loophole for Natives to buy beer.

Categories: Native American, Native American Culture

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