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Spirit Lake Nation petitioners seek to amend alcohol laws

FORT TOTTEN, N.D. (AP) — Residents of a Native American reservation in North Dakota are seeking to change their alcohol-sales laws.

Alcohol sales haven’t been allowed on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation since the 1960s, The Devils Lake Journal reported.

A team of petition gatherers on the reservation are looking into softening the law to allow the legalized sale of alcohol in restaurants and for special events such as wedding receptions and pool tournaments at the Spirit Lake Casino and Resort.

Peter Owlboy Jr. believes amending the law would increase revenues for the tribe. He said anyone over the age of 18 who has lived on the reservation for more than one year can sign the petition.

“The majority of the people are pretty welcoming,” Owlboy said.

Owlboy said he encourages people who oppose alcohol sales to also sign the petition “so as a tribe we can dialogue about this issue.”

The petition needs signatures from 20 percent of all eligible voters. Owlboy is hoping to get more than the required amount, because he said some signatures are denied once the verification process begins.

The tribal council will have seven days to verify the signatures and bring it to residents in a special election, Owlboy said. He hopes to have the petition turned in time for the General Assembly, which takes place next week.

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