Indian Country Today Media Network published another provocative piece on tribal efforts to curb alcoholism and alcohol purchase linked to liquor vendors in Whiteclay (SD). The interviewee in this piece describes connections of the alcohol consumption problem to contextual factors such as racism and the economy. The impact of alcoholism is also described as contextual, with repercussions for families and children as well. You can read the full article HERE.
Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS) can be an approach to improving community-level health and quality of life, especially in contexts where cultural history and values are of paramount importance. Whiteclay is a small town that lies at the border of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Alcohol is prohibited in Pine Ridge in an effort to preserve the wellness of tribal members and to reinforce historical cultural values of wellness and quality of life. However, alcohol is available for purchase and consumption in Whiteclay, and is a primary source of alcohol for tribal members who suffer from alcoholism. Recently the Oglala Lakota filed a lawsuit against beer companies and stores in Whiteclay in an effort to curb sales of alcohol to within legal limits.
The situation at Pine Ridge and Whiteclay presents an interesting and critical problem for Positive Behavioral Supports. Positive Behavioral Supports provides a way of approaching the problem of alcohol sale and purchase in Whiteclay as a problem behavior at both the individual and community-level. The challenge is to determine what culturally-grounded positive behavioral supports could be put in place to promote wellness behaviors that serve as alternatives to alcohol sale and purchase. In addition, the role and function of the Oglala Lakota lawsuit as part of an effort to establish positive behavioral supports can also be considered.
You can read more about Whiteclay and the Oglala Sioux lawsuit by reading two excellent articles published by Indian Country Today Media Network available HERE and HERE.