Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

How Nebraska's Negligence Led to an Alcoholism Epidemic on This Reservation


The folks at Bold Nebraska first got together to defend the rights of property owners—and the Ogallala Aquifer—from TransCanada's plan to build our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline, the continent-spanning death-funnel and eternal Republican fetish object. Since then, however, BN has grown into a useful clearing house for all sorts of information on all sorts of things that ought to command all sorts of attention. Recently, BN pointed us toward what is an inconceivably tragic story on its merits, and one that demonstrates a larger point about how we govern ourselves.

Seven of the Boesems' nine children still at home came from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where it's estimated that one in four children is born with fetal alcohol syndrome. That 25 percent compares with estimates of 1 percent nationally. Some activists say that Nebraska bears some of the blame for this epidemic. Just across the border from Pine Ridge is Whiteclay, Nebraska, where four stores dispense nearly 4 million cans of beer a year. Most are purchased by residents of the officially dry reservation, where alcoholism rates have been estimated at upward of 80 percent.


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