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  • Posted By: sue59
  • Date Posted: 02/20/2011
  • Category: Others
  • Words: 946
  • Pages: 4
  • Views: 2411
  • Rank: 763

American Indians Essay

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American Indians Essay

Indians in eastern North America possessed no alcohol at the beginning of the colonial period. By 1800, so much alcohol flowed through the Indian villages east of the Mississippi that each community were forced to decide to take it or not and they made a tragic choice by taking it because it destroyed their cultural. The Indians who drank did so to the point of intoxication enjoyed the experience they got from it. If Indians chose to drink out of frustration and despair, they were not alone; as social scientists have made clear, whenever Western societies undergo periods of rapid transition, rates of drinking increase.


Documentary evidence also suggests that some Indians enjoyed the heightened sense of power that seemed to accompany drunkenness. For example, some Indians in the Great Lakes regions integrated alcohol into their existing ceremonies, notably mourning rituals. Other groups recognized the importance of alcohol by including it in hospitality rituals. Recognizing alcohol's power did not mean liking its taste. The primary reason to drink was to get drunk.


On occasion groups of Indians who did not possess enough alcohol to get everyone drunk gave their liquor to a few individuals to ensure that at least some would become intoxicated. Families also suffered, especially when young men sold the furs and skins from the hunt for alcohol, thereby impoverishing their relatives, who needed food and durable goods. Domestic violence, accidental falls into fires or cliffs, and bouts of exposure when the inebriated passed out in cold weather all contributed to the suffering of Indian communities.


The "drunken Indian" has been a subject of continuing concern in the United States from the earliest contacts between Europeans and Indians down to the present day. A number of deprivations, including confinement to reservations and federal wardship, are cited as ...

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