Essay on Alcoholism and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation

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Alcoholism is one of our nation’s largest social issues to date, and carries with it many negative aspects, the most dire being death at the hands of this disease. Alcohol and alcoholism have been part of societies for centuries. This habit was brought over to the new world when the first settlers landed on the shores of what was to become America. Furthermore, in bringing alcohol to this new land an entire nation of Native American Indians were introduced to a product that has affected them more negatively than any other to date, and continues to suffer from today and probably well into the future. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is located in the southwest corner of South Dakota bordering Nebraska. Pine Ridge is home to the Oglala…show more content…
(Kibbey, N.D., p.1) (Schwartz, 2006) The environmental and social factors that Pine Ridge residents must deal with only contribute in this epidemic within their community. Cultural influences such as the decline of Native American culture could be a factor within the oppressed members of the Pine Ridge community. In addition, Cultural clashes that still exist between the dominant group and the oppressed group can cause such things as depression and low self-esteem within that cultural society. Jones-Saumty and et al ( ) state in their article Psychological Factors Of Familial Alcoholism in American Indians and Caucasians that "Indians with a familial history of alcoholism reported significantly more of the following drinking behaviors than did the familial Caucasian group: Drinking for mental benefits, obsessive-compulsive drinking, post-drinking guilt, drinking to change mood, loss of control, withdrawal (DTs), and nonalcoholic drug use" (p.786). Many of these reasons for drinking could easily be influenced by the environmental factors that play a part in this serious social issue on the reservation, which would include poverty, unemployment, poor education, and drug addiction. These directly correlate with alcoholism within certain groups or cultures, and this seems to be very evident on Pine Ridge. The reservation has an estimated population of roughly 40,000 and 35% of the
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