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Alcohol Abuse And Native Americans Essay

1746 words - 7 pages

The impact of various kinds of substances to cultural groups has historically been precipitated by the significance of particular substances on different cultural groups (Moore, 2010).This is mainly because the long term usage of these substances leads to the integration of the consumption of the substance into the cultural patterns of the given group. One such group that has been affected by the extensive usage of a particular substance is the Native American community. According to the Associated Press (2014, August 28), as noted on the MSNBC website, out of ten deaths among the Native American population, one is Alcohol related. Additionally, the prevalence of Alcohol consumption among the Native American population relates to the fact that it’s associated with the various cultural events that define the way of life of Native Americans. Therefore, the focus of this paper shall be on the cultural aspects, effects and prevalence of Alcohol among Native Americans. Particularly, the paper shall outline a brief introduction of the Native American culture and the prevalence of Alcohol in this culture; compare the aspects of alcohol abuse between the Native Americans and the African Americans; analyze the particular effects of alcohol in the body; and demonstrate the cultural impact of Alcohol abuse among the Native Americans.

The Native American Culture and Alcohol Prevalence
Native Americans refer to a Nation of related tribes that form the indigenous peoples of the North American Continent. They form one percent of the United States population where 500 tribes are now recognized by the government (Substance Abuse Policy Research Program, n.d.) The history of the Native Americans stretches beyond the European settlements and is characterized today by long standing traditions and practices that have been kept by generations of Native Americans stretching from the colonial period. However, in order to understand the culture of the Native Americans, it is important to study each group distinctly from the other. While the history of the Native Americans is beyond the scope of this paper, it suffices to note that the enduring cultural practices of the Native Americans have had an impact on the abuse of substances such as Alcohol (Moore Gay, 2010). The prevalence of alcohol among this cultural group has been influenced in two ways: by a misperception, social rules, norms and customs, and traditions that have normalized drinking among certain tribes.
The contextual cultural experiences of most Native Americans has led to the normalization of drinking especially among age groups and related events such as among peers and when preaching. Nevertheless, the stereotype of the “drunken Indian” has also had an impact on the consumption levels in this cultural group (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011). A study of the Navajo Indians led to the conclusion that stereotype can lead members of the group to consider excessive drinking as a normal...

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