Money changes everything Cindi Lauper once sang, and indeed it can make a difference, but seldom has on the rez except for a select few-apparently for James “Toby” Big Boy chairman of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Law and Order Commission it would be more accurate to say money trumps everything.
Big Boy following the dismissal of a lawsuit against owners of liquor stores in Whiteclay evidently has decided that discretion is the better part of valor-if you can’t beat them then join them in, and in is full retreat.
I suspect that somewhere Russell Means is lurking in the background gleefully rubbing his hands together at what he sees as an opportunity to garner an additional thirty pieces of silver and offering “think tank” opinions.
It wasn’t all that long ago Means was on the campaign trail to acquire a liquor license of his own to open a store in Whiteclay -this despite witnessing the daily effects of alcohol within his own community, and having repeatedly said indigenous people were physically incapable of dealing with alcohol-an issue with metabolizing.
How did Means arrive at this reversal of position? Well being one to always chase the dollar and cloak his efforts as being either acts of liberation, humanitarian endeavors, or the seeking of justice he announced a convoluted and perverted line of reasoning.
He, the “chief facilitator”, of his brainchild faux Republic of Lakota would in a stroke of pure genius open a liquor store and use the proceeds to open a treatment center-uh huh, and failing to mention that he would fuel the crimes, abuse, and poverty created by those who chose not to enter treatment- not to mention the ton of money he would personally realize either way.
The selling point in this latest presentation to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear is that a “whopping” twenty five percent of the revenue would go the tribe.
That would be twenty five percent, a projected figure before administrative costs, salaries, the inevitable skimming, and redirection of revenue to other “projects”.
This reminds me of casinos who while taking your money advertise that if you have a gambling problem to call 1-800- whatever , or tobacco companies that offer quit smoking advice.
Yet another example of the wasichu attitudes that are growing in prevalence amidst talk of tradition.
Funding already exists that is designated for alcohol related issues though it probably isn’t sufficient-how about making publicizing how it is presently spent, what programs are available, and more importantly statistics that detail their effectiveness before attempting to throw the doors open and bury a community under a tsunami of alcohol?
Better yet how about striving to create a zero tolerance within communities and proactively addressing them in lieu of proposing to contribute to them?
How about “liberators” and “patriots” getting up off their collectively insulated asses, forget any financial opportunities they might envision, and actually doing something beneficial for a change rather than grab a bullhorn and call the media for a photo op?