Archive for September, 2002
Published September 25, 2002
BY PAUL ARENTZ
HOCAK WORAK: Newsletter of the Ho-Chunk Nation
Alcohol has been labeled cunning, baffling and powerful. But how about oppressive, to Native Americans? There is not one Indian Nation that does not struggle with the problem of alcohol. Sometimes it can be a touchy and uncomfortable topic. To calculate per capita the cost of alcohol to our Native people would be overwhelming at best.
One Indian Nation dealing with the negative effects of alcohol is the Oglala Lakota Nation located on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in Southwest South Dakota. Pine Ridge lies within Shannon County, the poorest county in the United States. The reservation has a population in excess of 7000 people. The unemployment rate is 75% – 80%, while the national unemployment rate averages around 5%. The lack of jobs and the desire to drink opens the lid on a can filled with other social problems, among them assault, robbery, prostitution, and murder. Since the Siege at Wounded Knee in 1973 there have been in excess of 95 murderers, almost all of them still unsolved, and other crimes mostly burglaries are at an all time high. Though the people that drink often use government issued checks to purchase alcohol, in some cases it’s not enough money. The first of each month has been nicknamed Veterans Day, when the Veterans receive their checks, and the second of each month called Mothers Day, when mothers receive their support checks. (more…)