For any who don’t already know, some geneticists believe that certain genetic characteristics of the indigenous American Indian population may incline them toward alcoholism. Early American traders knew that they could trade alcohol for a fortune in furs.

That trend continues today outside the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

According to the BBC, four little shops just off the reservation account for millions of cans of beer sold each year.

Activists, fed up with rampant alcoholism on the reservation despite its strict “No Alcohol” policy, recently staged roadblocks where they reportedly searched vehicles for alcohol.

After being wrestled to the ground by Oglala Sioux police, who are drawn from the local population, the road-blockers were charged with disorderly conduct.

Although the roadblocks are obviously illegal, this observer empathizes with activists like Duane Martin Sr. who said, “I’m sick of my people dying.”
Martin also told the AP, “You’ve got 18-19 year-olds trading sex for alcohol.”

I’m all for self determination and a grown person has to be responsible for their own actions, but is this really the best we can do for the natives? Aside from casinos and a few scholarship opportunities, I’d say we’ve paid a pretty low price for the 3,537,441 square miles of land we “acquired.” At the risk of being branded a self-hating lib, I really think we owe a little more.

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