Essay on Alcoholism

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Alcoholism Alcohol consumption was initiated on reservations when traders in the nineteenth century started to offer it to oppressed and depressed Native Americans. Natives represent, in fact, the ethnic group with the highest degree of alcohol consumption in the United States. Confinement on reservations after displacement brought for Native Americans identity conflicts and assimilation problems. This situation promoted the abuse of liquor to mitigate the psychological pain inflicted by the dispossession of the land and enclosure in a limited and controlled space. Both the stereotype of the “Noble Savage” and the “drunken Indian” are recurrent figures in mainstream literature of the US.

Native American Literature of the 70s
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For instance: Tayo, Abel (House Made of Dawn), Gordie Kashpaw (Love Medicine) and the characters of Winter in the Blood (mostly all characters of Welsh’s fiction) present similar characteristics as assimilated and alienated Indians: they have lost their “Indianess” as a result of their mixed-blood inheritance. Abel’s alcoholism makes him react violently to tribal ways and, thus it takes him to prison, charged with murder: “For him (Abel) alcohol is no tranquilizer, but a fire that feeds his sullen, speechless rage until he explodes in a violence that results in his near-fatal beating by the culebra policeman Martinez” (Allen, 139-140). He will die understanding tribal ways but unable to deal with the role they play in his mixed blood life. Tayo suffers post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of the death of his cousin and the horrors of war and finds consolation in drinking. But Tayo’s problems with alcohol started long before upon discovering his legacy and feeling tribal rejection in a pattern started by his mother, a Laguna woman who, in mating with a white man, lost her soul and life. Death found her alone, drunk and without shelter. Abel must get reconciled with his past unless he wants to be found dead alone in an alley or frozen in a blizzard like June Morrisey in Love Medicine or the father of the protagonist of Winter in the Blood. June became
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