A Story of Empowerment Through Sobriety

Everyone says that life is precious. But answer this question: If 25% of children were being born in your community with a completely preventable birth defect, how long would it take for your family, your church, or your community to act?


One out of four children born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation has fetal alcohol syndrome, a neurological birth defect that occurs as a result of expecting mothers consuming alcohol during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome causes irreversible physical and emotional defects that permanently scar the child. Over 85% of families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are impacted by alcohol abuse. The infant mortality rate is 300% higher than the national average, and the teen suicide rate is 150% higher than the national average. To make matters worse, there is only one, seven-bed inpatient treatment facility on the Reservation of 40,000 residents. Pine Ridge has these large numbers of infant deaths and birth defects despite the fact that it has been a dry reservation by tribal ordinance for over 120 years. Most attribute the beer consumption to a small town that sits 250 yards across the South Dakota state line. Whiteclay, Nebraska, population 12, has four convenience stores that sell approximately 4 million cans of beer per year.


Is everyone life precious? If so, then what are you prepared to do to address the issue of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation?