Temporary Tribal Liquor Ban

Temporary Tribal Liquor Ban
WHATCOM COUNTY - There's something that threatens to destroy the Lummi People.

"I've lost my mother as a result of a car accident involving alcohol," said Perry Adams, the Vice Chair of the Lummi Council.

Adams says everyone on the reservation knows someone who died from alcohol abuse and the tribal council has had enough.

The council will ban alcohol sales on the reservation for two days - Friday and Saturday, January 23rd and 24th - during the tribal elections.

"In the past, there are those who feel that votes were purchased shall we say, using alcohol," he explained.

But leaders hope the ban will clean up more than elections.

"This is tough love," said Rosalie Scott with the Tribal Dependency Treatment Center, "we want our people to come back to sobriety, reality."

Counselors say one in four tribal members have been treated for drug or alcohol abuse. In addition, the tribal police chief says four out of five of his calls are alcohol or drug related. Some of them are deadly.

Earlier this year the Lummi Nation banned some alcohol for two days after a horrible drunk driving crash. A husband and wife were driving along Haxton Way when they lost control and crashed, killing their one month old baby girl.

"The loss of an innocent child is just one story," said Adams. He doesn't want to hear any more tragic stories.

The ban will be an experiment, the council isn't ready to go dry yet and they hope tribal members can learn to use alcohol safely.

To prove the point, the tribe will lose $3,000 in alcohol sales. But leaders hope to get back something far more valuable.