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Last Dry South Dakota Reservation Voting on Alcohol Sales

FILE: Beer, Alcohol
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PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) — Native Americans in South Dakota are voting whether to legalize alcohol on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Tuesday’s vote is expected to be close. Critics of the Oglala Sioux Tribe‘s plan say legalization would only make the reservation’s troubles worse. Alcohol is blamed for some of the highest rates of domestic abuse, suicide, infant mortality, unemployment and violent crime in Indian Country.

But others say alcohol is reaching the reservation anyway from the border town of Whiteclay, Neb., so the tribe might as well capture the profits. Proceeds from the sales would be used for education about the ills of alcohol abuse and for detoxification and treatment centers, for which there is currently little to no funding.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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