American Indian Tribe Sues Beer Breweries for $500 Million

An American Indian tribe has sued some of the top beer breweries in the world, claiming they knowingly contributed to alcohol-related problems on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota is demanding $500 million in damages for the cost of health care, social services and child rehabilitation, according to The Associated Press.

The Oglala Siouz Tribe feels that the above problems were caused by chronic alcoholism on their reservation, where alcohol is banned.

They are targeting Anheuser-Busch InBev Worldwide, SAB Miller, Molson Coors Brewing Company, MIllerCoors LLC and Pabst Brewing Company in their lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court of Nebraska, 25 percent of children born on the reservation suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Life expectancy on the Pine Ridge reservation is between 45 and 52 years old, while the average life expectancy is 77.5 years old.

The life expectancy is the shortest in North America except for Haiti, according to The Associated Press.

Leaders of the Oglala Sioux tribe blame stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska for bootlegging on their reservation. Whiteclay, reportedly, has only about a dozen residents, but sold almost 5 million cans of beer in 2010.

The lawsuit says that the beer makers supply the stores with "volumes of beer far in excess of an amount that could be sold in compliance with the laws of the state of Nebraska" and the tribe.

The Pine Ridge reservation has struggled with alcoholism and poverty for many generations, according to An alcohol ban was put in place in 1832 and was nearly lifted in 2004.

Pine Ridge has some of the poorest counties in the country. Shannon County, South Dakota is the third-poorest county in the country, according to U.S. Census Bureau.

They have a median household income of $27,300 and over half of the population lives below the federal poverty line.