Alcohol Sale on the Navajo Nation near you
By Navajo Post Editorial Board
The sale of Alcohol on the Navajo Nation is prohibited. In 1993, the Division of Economic Development conducted a study on legalizing alcohol. The study found that legalizing the sale and consumption of alcohol would create 4,344 new jobs, and would bring a substantial amount of revenue to the Nation’s coffers.
With new Casinos being propose the Navajo Nation could see a new beginning to selling alcohol in Navajo Casinos and throughout the reservation that could be substantial for the reservation.
“I use to drink a lot, I got divorced, lost my job because of it. Now, it’s hard for me to find a good job because of my past criminal records like DUI’s I have, so no they should not sell beer or wine on our dine be kei’” Jimmy Lee Big Gap, NM
In the past, Native Americans were prohibited by federal law from drinking from 1832 until the repeal of the law in 1953 with the passage of P.L. 83-277, which gave each tribe the authority to legalize and regulate alcohol use on their reservations. The Navajo Nation has so far opted to stay dry.
Studies have also found that legalizing alcohol actually helps reduced the abuse of alcohol.
“I think it would be great, I am Navajo and a responsible drinker people that abuse alcohol are the one’s that ruin it for responsible drinkers like me. I work hard and provide for my family so I do not see, why not?” Darren James Mesa, AZ
A study conducted by Philip May found that the overall effect of legalizing alcohol on a reservation is a lower rate of alcohol related deaths then on a similar prohibition reservation.
However, over a century of experience has showed us that the Navajo Government has not been able to control either the sale or consumption of alcohol by its people.
With all the ‘wet’ border towns around the Nation, it seems very unlikely that we can stop or even curtail the consumption of liquor by some of the Navajo people. With ever declining budget of the Navajo Government, it also seems unlikely that we will be able to control the activities of the bootleggers.
Majority of the people on the reservation can agree that the only way to fight this battle is through proper education and more importantly through creation of employment opportunities that we can curtail the abuse of alcohol by some Navajo people.
People would agree that all these requirements require money and legalizing alcohol does have the potential to provide the Navajo Nation government with that. Yet, prohibition policy is only helping the border towns and the bootleggers – 325 of them – to prosper without any kind of benefits reverting back to the Navajo people.
As there is no easy way of protest the abuse of alcohol by some Navajo people, it would be better to legalize it.
There is only one place for the sale of alcohol that was legalized for the Antelope Point site in 2001.
Health Care for many Native Americans in this country sinks to Third World levels. According to a draft report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, deaths from alcoholism are 770 percent more likely among Native Americans than the general population from tuberculosis, 650 percent; and from diabetes, 420 percent.
In some tribes, one in two people suffer from diabetes. The Indian Health Service, primary health care provider for more than 1.6 million members of federally recognized tribes, is so under-funded that it spends only $1,914 per patient per year; about half of what the government spends on prisoners ($3,803), and far below what is spent on the average Americans ($5,065). Funding is so low that to be transferred out of an IHS facility for specialized treatment, a patient must be in danger of losing a life or limb.
source: NNBO case study & statistics.