June 28, 2008

How the West was wined

Another historical overview (with lots of pix) from the Authentic History Center:

The Ignoble Drunkard:  Indians & AlcoholThe building of the transcontinental railroad, the destruction of the buffalo, and the resulting Plains Indian Wars devastated the Plains Indian culture. Confined to reservations and forbidden to hunt, they became wards of the federal government, reliant on sporadically delivered welfare for their very survival. This new reality plunged the American Plains Indian into a state of cultural shock and poverty ripe for the spread of alcoholism. Subsequent Government policy, whether it be attempts to create reservations, disband reservations, assimilate Indians, or to obliterate Indian culture created an astonishing range of Native American social pathologies associated with alcohol that continue to the present day. Euro-Americans played the multidimensional role of creating this environment, supplying the alcohol, and then perpetuating stereotypes of Indians by identifying alcoholism as a sign of some inherent weakness that justified the centuries of treatment they received and the righteousness of their subjugation.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Drunken Indians.

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