April 1, 2020  Last Update: November 12, 2019, 4:01 pm

Oglala Sioux Tribe Sues Beer Companies for $5M

A small town in Nebraska booked sales of nearly 5 million beers, despite a tiny local population. Now the neighboring Oglala Sioux Indian tribe is suing beer companies for ignoring the obvious illegal smuggling that has become big business. One of every four babies in that community is born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

The Oglala Sioux tribe of South Dakota has filed a law suit against 5 large beer companies, according to reports out of the BBC US & Canada division.

The Oglala Sioux tribe is taking desperate action to get attention to its serious problems with alcohol,  and its lack of treatment options for alcoholism and health care.

The Indian community is overrun by illegal smuggling of the alcoholic beverage into the Pine Ridge reservation, where 1 of every 4 children is born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

The  nearby Nebraska town of Whiteclay, with “only about a dozen residents”,  allegedly recorded sales of nearly 5 million cans of beer.

Tribal leaders hope to make a case that the beer distributors knew or should have known that a substantial portion of the 5 million beers was being diverted into the Indian community.

"You cannot sell 4.9 million 12oz (356ml) cans of beer and wash your hands like Pontius Pilate, and say weve got nothing to do with it being smuggled."

Whiteclay has 4 beer shops serving its dozen residents. It also serves north-south connector route 87, which runs from Pine Ridge in South Dakota to Rushville, Nebraska. The BBC quotes the suit as claiming Whiteclay’s role as trading post for illegal alcohol is “open, notorious, and well documented”.

"Like American parents everywhere, we will do everything lawful we can to protect the health, welfare and future of our children"
- Tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele in BBC report.

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Town with population of 12 consumes 5 million beers.


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  1. Debra Rincon Lopez says:

    THEY Should be SUED, that’s the only thing that makes people listen!WHen you hit them in their pockets! It’s a fact that Native American people have a harder time fighting alcoholism, because of the makeup of our genes. We haven’t had alcohol in our Ancestry like alot of European counterparts have? So we cannot fight the ravages of Alcohol like they can. They had alcohol in their COUNTRIE’S for many Generations in their past. We should be commended for trying to combat this horendous ADDICTIVE thing in our NATIVE COMMUNITIES. I hope that they win this LAW SUIT then & maybe then they can get a handle on Alcoholism in SIOUX COUNTRY now & in the FUTURE.

  2. BradleyAA2211 says:

    I think it’s important to look at both profits and behavior. People choose to drink, but if companies are breaking the law, that matters. Don’t try and make companies pay for the behavior of alcoholics, but do make them follow the law.


  1. […] as a community, and your people are willingly spending all their cash on alcohol. Meanwhile, you can’t afford to provide treatment services for the resulting alcoholism. Why not take over the alcohol distribution business and give your own people retail jobs selling […]

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