The plight of Native Americans seems to go largely unrecognized by the general population of the modern United States of America. Native American tribes are relatively isolated from American society in terms of geographic propagation and culture influence. The tragic reality of the Native American plight in the United States has definite correlation to the alcoholism statistics.
Before the imperialists arrived, there were nearly 20 million natives inhabiting the continent that we now know as North America. Approximately 90% of the Native American population was wiped out by disease, warfare, and isolation. The remaining population was then forced by the American government to depart from their homelands and walk thousands of miles on foot and into unsettled territory. Their displacement across the country is followed by minor reparations through land and political semi-sovereignty.
The introduction of alcohol from American traders to Indian settlements could be considered the initial downturn of their post-colonial civilization. In terms of genetics, it is easier for indigenous people to become addicted to alcohol due to a lack of genetic disposition. Thus resulting in alcoholism within the Native American population. Alcoholism produces harmful effects on the individual’s mind and body and can also be traced to other problems within Native American communities.
Fortunately, treatments for Native Americans with alcoholism have been developed and are available. These treatments involve interventions through programs such as White Bison and Circles of Care. While there are many programs such as these that offer help and support, an important study revealed culturally-based interventions to be more effective with Native American adolescents than nonculturally-based interventions in reduction of substance abuse and the problems that accompany this clinical disease. In order to optimize treatment interventions, we must analyze major contributing factors of substance abuse.
Although the American government is to blame for the plight of Native Americans, the government now stands in the realms of support and treatment for Native Americans. This cooperation between the government and Native Americans is a progressive start towards finding a solution for the Native American community.
If we are to find more effective cures then we must search for more effective treatments.