Tag Archives | indians

Fact Check: Native Americans and Alcohol

Fritz_Baumann_Trinker_1915As I grew up in a family of alcoholics with not terribly distant Native American roots, I heard a lot of things about North America’s indigenous people and alcohol. As it turns out, none of it was true. I never claimed any kind of American Indian identity, considering such disingenuous coming from a white guy from the suburbs who draws his heritage from plenty of sources both known and unknown. Anyway, here’s an interesting piece about Native Americans and alcohol, courtesy of Today I Found Out:

It is a sad truth that Native Americans suffer from alcoholism at rates far higher than those of other ethnic groups. While many causes likely contribute to this problem, some of those most commonly espoused, including lack of prior exposure to alcohol and genetic predisposition, are oft-repeated misconceptions. In fact, well before Europeans began to colonize the Americas, Native Americans were putting on a nice, polite buzz.

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Jared Diamond’s Noble Savage Collapse

by Robert Singer

Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his early writing contended that man is essentially good, a “noble savage” when in the “state of nature” (the state of all the other animals, and the condition man was in before the creation of civilization and society), and that good people are made unhappy and corrupted by their experiences in society. He viewed society as “artificial” and “corrupt” and that the furthering of society results in the continuing unhappiness of man.

Put another way, in the beginning civilized humans were hunters and gatherers, when we started wearing clothes made out of cotton, using deodorant, living in houses and using toilet paper we became savages.

The only difference between civilized “savages” and 20th century man is we used our opposing dumb to conquer Mother Earth.

The indigenous populations knew Nature was not ‘wild’ and hostile but was a benevolent friend. Then, by a twist of organized religious dogma, many began to think humans are the greatest and most important part of creation and they saw Nature as ‘fallen’ and sinful.   Since the end of the “dark age” man has attempted to divorce himself from Nature to the detriment of all creation.… Read the rest

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