The New York Times published an op-ed piece yesterday by former U.S. senator James Abourezk of South Dakota, who wrote that President Barack Obama should reinstate a 50-square-mile buffer zone along the southern border of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The buffer zone, according to Abourezk, was meant to "prevent renegade whites from selling guns, knives and alcohol to Indians living on the reservation." It was abolished by an executive order from then-President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904, Abourezk said, and has contributed to a bad situation in modern times:
Today, the tiny Nebraska hamlet of Whiteclay has four liquor stores, ostensibly to serve its population of 24, but really more for the bootleggers and alcoholics living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, just across the border. The result has been murders, spouse beatings, child abuse, thefts and other undesirable consequences of the free flow of alcohol into the reservation.