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Tribe Sues Beer Distributors And Stores

February 10, 2012, 6:38 AM by Kellee Azar

Tribe Sues Beer Distributors And Stores
The Oglala Sioux Tribe has filed a lawsuit against the small town of Whiteclay, Nebraska, which is just 300 feet away from the Pine Ridge Reservation.

It is illegal to consume or even possess alcohol on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. But, in Whiteclay, it's a whole other story.

So now, the Oglala Sioux Tribe is suing four beer stores in the Whiteclay area along with some big beer distributors such as Budweiser, Pabst, Coors, and Busch.

"They are helping them violate the law and this lawsuit is about holding them responsible,” Oglala Sioux Tribe's Attorney Tom White said.

And even though most of these beer companies tell you to drink responsibly, 85 percent of Oglala Sioux Native American families are affected by alcoholism.

"The cost to the Oglala Sioux tribe and to us is staggering," White said.

Now, the Oglala Sioux Tribe is going after Whiteclay over how much beer stores there sell.

"You cannot sell 4.9 million, 12-ounce cans of beer and wash your hands like Pontius Pilate and say that we've got nothing to do with the fact that it’s being smuggled 250 feet away," White said.

The lawsuit filed Thursday asks the beer industry for $500 million to help repair damage done to the reservation.

The town of Whiteclay has fewer than a dozen residents yet it sells more than 13,000 cans of beer a day.

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