31 Notes on the Alcohol Wars at Pine Ridge
by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News
[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]
1. Autumn Two Bulls is the mother of Wakiyan, or Loud Brave Thunder, a young Oglala Lakota protester who was maced by police on August 26 during a march against alcohol sales along the border of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. “My son believes in sobriety. One thing he told me was that Crazy Horse, his hero, was a sober warrior. Crazy horse didn’t believe in alcohol and he knew what was coming because he was a spiritual man and he stood up and fought against what was coming.” Wakiyan is ten years old. Days after the protest his vision was still blurry from the mace.
2. Wakiyan takes part in traditional ceremonies, traveling as far away as Wyoming to offer respect to the sacred, to hang prayer flags in the presence of Mato Tipila, or bear lodge, an enormous intrusion of igneous rock that towers over the land like a blunted 1,200 foot buffalo horn. The sacred mountain in the Black Hills is also known as Devil’s Tower in the language of the ones who made wretched war on the Lakota and colonized the region.
3. There are four liquor stores and only fourteen residents in the unincorporated town of White Clay. It exists purely to unload alcohol, and lots of it. On average, the retailers sell 12,500 cans of beer every day, mostly to the reservations 40,000 residents. White Clay is 250 feet from Pine Ridge where alcohol is forbidden.
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