How to Address Alcoholism on Indian Reservations

THE NEW YORK TIMES / Room for Debate / May 16, 2012

Whiteclay, Neb., outside the Pine Ridge Indian ReservationWhiteclay, Neb., just across the state line from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. (Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times)

In The New York Times earlier this month, Nicholas D. Kristof called for a boycott of Anheuser-Busch because of how the company’s products are affecting residents of an Indian reservation that has been decimated by alcoholism. The reservation is dry, but the nearby town of Whiteclay, Neb., (with a population of about 10 people) “sells more than four million cans of beer and malt liquor annually” and “is the main channel through which alcohol illegally enters the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.”

How can tribes, states, the federal government and local communities deal with alcoholism on and around reservations? If the beer companies and liquor stores are following the law, do they have a further responsibility to their communities?

These questions are discussed by Frank LaMere (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska), Aneel Karnani (University of Michigan), Waheed Hussain (University of Pennsylvania), and Richard B. Luarkie (Governor, Pueblo of Laguna, N.M.)


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