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American Indians Alcoholism - Essay Example

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American Indians Alcoholism Introduction Also known as Native Americans, American Indians are members of any of the aboriginal peoples of the Western Hemisphere; however, the term often connote only those groups whose original territories were in present-day Canada and United States (Encyclop?…
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American Indians Alcoholism
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American Indians Alcoholism

Download file to see previous pages... This ethnic group makes up 0.9% of the United States population (Humes, Jones and Ramirez 4). Alcoholism, defined as the excessive and repetitive drinking of alcoholic beverages despite physical, mental, social, or economic harm (Encyclop?dia Britannica), is reported to be prevalent among the American Indians (Welty 49). These reports have led to the stereotyping of this ethnic group as alcoholics. For instance, figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did show that some members of this ethnic group abuse alcohol beverages to the detriment of their health (Jalonick). Be that as it may, results from epidemiological studies indicated that some American Indians are less likely to use alcohol than are members of other ethnic groups in the United States (Beals, Spicer and Mitchell 1683; Spicer and Beauvais). Thus one may wonder why the American Indians should be stereotyped as alcoholics. This research seeks to investigate the use of alcoholic beverages among this ethnic group. Findings from this research will help in resolving the issue of stereotyping. Alcoholism among American Indians The American Indians have been stereotypes as “drunks”. This stereotype has labeled all American Indians as a group afflicted with alcohol problems. Scientific investigations have also compounded the problem with the vast amount of published reports that focused only on the American Indian population that abuse alcohol while, either by design or default, neglect the large number of American Indians that maintain sober lives. Another shortcoming of these scientific reports is that these investigations are carried out on American Indians groups that account for less than one-third of the American Indian population i.e. those Indians that live on reservations and/or on traditional Indian lands. Historically, the American Indians acquired the abuse of alcohol from the colonist (Beauvais 253). Indeed, prior to the European conquest of North America, the Indians were “relatively naive” to the use of alcohol. Though some Indian tribes were known to have been producing fermented beverages, production of strong alcoholic drinks and high consumption of alcoholic drinks were unknown among the Indians. Contacts with the European trader led to the use and abuse of alcohol among the Indians, who has no guidelines on alcohol use. In addition, alcoholism was also prevalent among the colonizing traders thus the seed of alcoholism was sown among the American Indians by the colonizers. While alcoholism may, generally, be high among the American Indians, drinking habit varies significantly among tribes due to economic, cultural and ethical differences (Levy and Kunitz 97). For instance, a studies that use the number of patients that were discharged with an alcohol-related diagnosis from Indian Health Service indicated that northern Indian reservations has higher rates of diagnosis than southern reservations. The Alcohol use was also dependent on gender as the alcohol-related diagnosis was two-fold higher in men than in women (Hisnanick 32). Furthermore, some Indian youth and adults have been reported to consume large amount of alcohol over a short period of time and this group constitute the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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