Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Briefs. Discussion »
PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION By a 192 vote margin, the Oglala Sioux Tribal citizens on Tuesday, August 13, voted to end the prohibition of alcohol sales on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The final tally was 1871 (52.7 percent) YES votes and 1679 (47.3 percent) NO votes.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe's Election Commission released the official vote count late Wednesday night local time and after midnight on the east coast. After Tuesday's votes were tallied the Election Commission had to go through 438 challenged votes before the election could become final. The commission spent several hours on Wednesday going through the challenged votes where they verified residency of voters.
The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council voted on an ordinance on June 11 to allow for Tuesday's election so tribal citizens could vote on the referendum as to whether or not to allow for alcohol sales. The ordinance stated it was:
" in the best interest of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and its membership that this decision be put to a referendum vote of the Tribal membership of the Oglala Sioux Tribe."
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, located in southwest South Dakota, was the last dry reservation in the state.
While the vote is now official, tribal leaders did not disclose when alcohol sales will begin.
Pending Tuesday's outcome, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council has been working on a law and order code that will govern the sale of alcoholic beverages. A 14 page draft document calls for the establishment of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Alcoholic Beverage Commission that will govern the distribution of alcoholic beverages.
If the provisions put advanced in the draft document, it appears as if the only Tribe will distribute the sale of alcoholic beverage through tribally operated retail outlets.
Tribal leaders who supported the referendum have stated proceeds from alcoholic taxes or fees assessed will be used for substance abuse programs on the reservation.
updated 3:00 pm edt; posted August 15, 2013 10:10 am edt