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Wed May 16, 2012, 12:26 AM

Alcohol Prohibition Not Helping Native Americans Deal With Harms of Alcohol

Itís hard to hear this coming from an outsider, but it is true. Every dry Native community Iíve been to has severe alcohol problems, and is ringed by border towns where it can be bought legally. I agree with the author here. Prohibition does not address the real problems we are faced with. Alcohol isnít so much the problem as is a sense of loss and alienation from greater society. A relative of mine says that when people lose hope and feel that they do not control their lives, then drug and alcohol abuse follow. He was speaking specifically to some Alaska Native communities; places where tribes and clans once controlled and harvested vast catches of salmon and other fish, only to see their traditional territories taken, their clans broken apart, their culture attacked, their resources depleted, their land torn up in search of minerals, their children shipped off to boarding school, their language banned, their regalia and precious possessions burned, their villages shelled by the US Navy, and on and on and on. Creating a police state that jails our people for turning to alcohol is not the solution to these problems. The solution is to make our people whole again.

http://aianattackthesystem.com/2012/05/15/alcohol-prohibition-not-helping-native-americans-deal-with-harms-of-alcohol/

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Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Alcohol Prohibition Not Helping Native Americans Deal With Harms of Alcohol (Original post)
MindMover May 2012 OP
elleng May 2012 #1
MindMover May 2012 #4
elleng May 2012 #7
MindMover May 2012 #8
elleng May 2012 #9
MindMover May 2012 #10
jwirr May 2012 #13
ProgressiveProfessor May 2012 #2
MindMover May 2012 #5
tama May 2012 #11
ProgressiveProfessor May 2012 #16
jwirr May 2012 #14
tama May 2012 #3
MindMover May 2012 #6
jwirr May 2012 #12
MindMover May 2012 #15
OmahaBlueDog May 2012 #17

Response to MindMover (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2012, 12:49 AM

1. Alcoholism is a genetic condition.

It produces utter misery, and should NOT be 'romanticized.' There is no cure.
http://www.lakesidemilam.com/

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Wed May 16, 2012, 01:56 AM

4. I do not believe the writer was romanticizing anything.....

alcoholism is a lot more than just a genetic condition.....

You are correct in stating that it can be a miserable condition, however I have known a lot of wonderfully happy alcoholics.....

Also, there is no cure if the person does not want to be cured.....of course that stands true for just about everything.....

and your lakeside link is really just standard high priced old counseling which is rapidly proving ineffective.....

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Response to MindMover (Reply #4)

Wed May 16, 2012, 02:06 AM

7. 'high priced old counseling rapidly proving ineffective'

as with AA?

Wonderfully happy alcoholics drinking for how long? Wonderfully happy livers? Wonderfully happy families of alcoholics?

'Romanticizing,' 'The solution is to make our people whole again.' and http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue2/1997/09/22/165881-o-odham-children-tackle-alcoholism/

The horror is that Europeans brought alcohol to populations which were then subject to succumbing, and that the cultures of those populations can only be restored, if at all, after long, difficult, expensive and unlikely evolution back.

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Response to elleng (Reply #7)

Wed May 16, 2012, 02:22 AM

8. Hard to believe that alcoholics can be happy and functional with all....

the negative propaganda you read and hear.....

but yes it is true, I know because I grew up in an alcoholic family that was both happy and functional....

mind you, my parents were not sloppy falling down drunks, just had the liter of gin and vodka at the card table and at least 3-4 drinks daily.....

my parents are still alive, 91 and 85, not drinking as much as they used to.....although my father has one two many when mum gets on his nerves.....livers seem to be fine....

I do not recommend this lifestyle for anyone else, am just saying that everyone is different and overall judgments are wrong headed....

AA is free, and that is why it is popular.....spontaneous remission is almost as effective.....

by the way, I drink responsibly....a quart of water daily....



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Response to MindMover (Reply #8)

Wed May 16, 2012, 02:37 AM

9. While I'm not a professional,

just a family member of a 'recovering' alcoholic, and consequently I've observed closely and studied. It doesn't sound as if your parents are alcoholic, but rather maybe heavy 'social' drinkers. 3-4 drinks daily doesn't do it, in most cases, imo. I'm happy to hear they are still alive. Obviously, overall judgments are 'wrong-headed.'

I don't go for propaganda of any kind, and I do not think a true active alcoholic can live a long, healthy, happy life.

'Spontaneous remission,' free or not, can be hazardous, I'm sure you know.

I drink in similar ways to you, maybe more than a quart a day.

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Response to elleng (Reply #9)

Wed May 16, 2012, 02:47 AM

10. I always ask, how big is your glass....?

because of family friends and my profession, I know many active alcoholics that are long in the tooth and sometimes short with there temper but still healthy and as far as I can tell happy....of course I am only an observer....you probably would have to ask them personally....

did you mean spontaneous combustion....yes that is dangerous....

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Wed May 16, 2012, 11:36 AM

13. Alcoholism is not genetic. It is very much a learned behavior and yes it does run in families. Let

me tell you about the family I am from. They live in a village that has a lot of open alcoholism. The children live daily with the role models they see drinking openly. Sometimes it is the whole damn village at the party. And it is not unusual for a "kindly" uncle to share his drink with some child he loves. The youngest in my family was 5 years old when his uncle got him drunk. At the time of his death he was still drinking with that "kindly" old uncle. And he was sharing his drinks with his nephew. And this has been going on since the fur trading days when tribes were paid in alcohol for their pelts.

If there is a genetic component it is that inability to tolerate alcohol. But that to can be explained without genetics. My parents adopted the German ancestory model of drinking - casual and stop before you are drunk - I grew up that way. But others in my family had not learned to temper their behavior in this way and the goal of drinking for them was to get drunk - the drunker the better and as often as possible. IMO no one can tolerate that type of drinking without dire side effects such as addiction.

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Response to MindMover (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2012, 12:52 AM

2. Some Native American groups also have sky high diabetes rates too.

There may be a genetic part to this as well. Honest academic discussion along those lines is very hard to find.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #2)

Wed May 16, 2012, 01:59 AM

5. You are correct in that Native Americans have high diabetes rates and that....

alcoholism and diabetes can have a genetic link.....

However, there are many, many academic discussions along these lines.....which one are you interested in...?

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Response to MindMover (Reply #5)

Wed May 16, 2012, 08:02 AM

11. Obesity and diet of American industrial food

 

Tohono O'odham are well aware of the problem and it's causes and working for solution

Health

Since the 1960s, obesity, and with it, type 2 diabetes have become commonplace among tribal members. Half to three-quarters of all adults are diagnosed with the disease, and about a third of the tribe's adults require regular medical treatment. Federal medical programs have not provided solutions for these problems within the population, and some tribal members have turned to traditional foods and traditional games to control the obesity that often leads to diabetes. Research by Gary Paul Nabhan and others shows that traditional foods regulate blood sugar. A local non-profit, TOCA, has started a cafe that serves traditional foods.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tohono_O%27odham#Health

Genetic dispositions may play their role, but they are not deterministic causes of health problems due to being forced out from from traditional ecologically adaptive and balanced diet and way of life.

Diabetes rates are not high only among indians but correlates with obesity and diet of industrial food of low nutritional value.
See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Oliver%27s_Food_Revolution
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/30/health/research/obesity-and-type-2-diabetes-cases-take-toll-on-children.html

Blaming genes is just denial of responsibility and environmentally unsound way of life.

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Response to MindMover (Reply #5)

Wed May 16, 2012, 06:52 PM

16. Ones acceptable to the social scientist, not just the biology/medical geeks.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #2)

Wed May 16, 2012, 11:38 AM

14. Diabetes may very well be genetic since Natives have intermarried for generations.

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Response to MindMover (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2012, 01:45 AM

3. Becoming whole again

 

Flying Eagle/Rupert Encinas of Tohono O' odham nation telling about childrens play about alcoholism and becoming whole again:
http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue2/1997/09/22/165881-o-odham-children-tackle-alcoholism/

Rupert visits regularly Estonia and Finland and I've had the pleasure to participate in a 3-day ceremony guided by him. A friend of mine made this song about the last night of the ceremony: &list=UUGMZ2HGkKKByeTiTyszYUPw&index=9&feature=plcp

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Response to tama (Reply #3)

Wed May 16, 2012, 02:05 AM

6. Thank you for sharing your story about hope and change......

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Response to MindMover (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2012, 11:24 AM

12. That pretty much describes what I have witnessed also. Especially in very isolated rez that have

few jobs and little hope for any change. But I do not think this applies just to Native Americans. I think you can find this in all areas where hope is in short supply.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #12)

Wed May 16, 2012, 01:34 PM

15. And that unfortunately is correct.....

Last edited Wed May 16, 2012, 02:19 PM - Edit history (1)

when hopelessness and helplessness meet, for an alcoholic it can be devastating.....because one of the only control they think they have is.... I will have another.....and another.....and another.....

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Response to MindMover (Original post)

Thu May 17, 2012, 09:55 PM

17. Question: Would Pine Ridge be better off if the tribe sold the beer currenly sold in Whiteclay?

On one hand, it brings the uglieness and drunkenness of Whiteclay directly into the town of Pine Ridge.

On the other hand, the tribe could keep the profits and, if so desired, plow them into rehab, employment training projects, or other aspects of common betterment. Also, the drinking activity could be policed to ensure that girls aren't traded for beer.

It would be the quickest, most direct way I can think of to destroy Whiteclay. However, I'm uncertain how high the toll on Pine Ridge would be.

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