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Native Americans Caught in Another Policy of Failure

January 22, 2006

The piece by Don Bartletti on the Tohono O'odham Nation illustrates another negative in our nation's longest-running domestic war ("Nowhere to Run," Jan. 8). Prohibition--whether of cannabis, heroin, alcohol or any other substance--is a policy doomed to failure. So catastrophic was our prohibition of alcohol that a constitutional amendment was needed to end it.

Native people in the U.S. are our most impoverished group. The injustices our indigenous neighbors have endured are the result of abrogated treaties, racial bigotry and harmful government policies. Prohibition and its associated harms are a burden that our nation's tribes do not need. Were we to end today's version of Prohibition, the lure of excessive profits in a black market would be immediately halted. Legalization means regulation. Prohibition produces only corruption and chaos. It's a policy of failure in fact, practice and principle.

Allan Erickson

Eugene, Ore.

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