Drowning in Alcohol, Aborigines Split Over Booze Ban

Some see restrictions as infringement on hard-won rights
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 5, 2009 11:09 AM CDT
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, left in front, is surrounded by Aboriginal well wishers on the first day of Parliament in Canberra on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008.    (AP Photo/Mark Graham)
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(Newser) – As the Australian government cracks down on alcohol in Aboriginal areas, some communities are taking matters into their own hands, instituting local restrictions on booze, the New York Times reports. Some indigenous leaders see alcohol as a blight on their communities, fueling child abuse and domestic violence. But others see the rules as a reminder of past government suppression.

“We fought so long and hard for our rights to be able to say this and do that,” says a man who works with Aboriginal youth. “Basically, for us to just hand those rights back, I thought, ‘Come on, surely, there is an in-between.’ ” But “before alcohol,” notes an advocate for alcohol restriction, “we had a proud race of people, very together people. Then alcohol just took over.”