Lincoln, Neb. — Two years after Nebraska state regulators shuttered four beer stores for selling excessive amounts of alcohol near South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, public health officials are still trying to clean up the damage left by decades of alcohol abuse among tribe members.
The stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska, faced intense criticism for selling millions of cans of beer annually, primarily to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Critics blamed the stores for widespread alcoholism and cases of fetal alcohol syndrome on the officially dry reservation.
The problem has drawn the attention of lawmakers and officials with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, who will travel to Gordon, Nebraska, and the reservation this week. They’ll teach educators, health officials and social workers how to identify signs of alcohol-related disorders in children.