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Debunking the Myth of Alcoholism among the Indigenous communities

For a long time, the indigenous people have been construed in the image of drunkenness. The drunken Indian stereotype has survived to date and continues to be fostered in media and pop culture. Correspondingly, a majority of us have continued to inadvertently support the drunken Indian stereotype without much effort to examine the phenomena objectively. Although no single answer can explain why most Indians are alcoholics, this paper seeks to debunk the myth of the drunken by advising that we should take time to read a book before propagating outdated stereotypes.

The images of dunk Indian is deeply woven in the popular culture and presents the picture of weak people who are unable to control themselves, making them appear as a menace to society. Alcoholism is also related to their inability to adjust to the modern world. Another popular myth is that Aboriginals are alcoholics because alcoholism is genetically inherited. Irrespective of the prevailing myth, the underlying logic is that the Aboriginals are significantly more predisposed to addictive drinking than the other population.

Although I cannot explain with precision the underlying causes of alcoholism, holding these attitudes allows us as well as responsible people to avoid examining other possible caused of the problems, thereby preventing the provision of services to the Indigenous communities.  The misuse of alcohol is a severe problem among the indigenous communities in Canada. Several surveys among the Aboriginals people as well as health and sociology studies, affirm that alcohol misuse is rampant within the indigenous communities in comparison to the general population. High rates of alcoholism have a negative consequence on the indigenous people as well as the country. Alcoholism has been identified as the leading cause of morbidity, and mortality as well as consequent behaviors of violence, suicide, risky sexual behavior, accidents, and involvement in crime, especially for the indigenous youth.

Of particular relevance to this paper is the effect of alcohol on the youth. This is because these are people that I closely interact with and have also, on so many occasions, been quick to judge and dismiss them without much consideration of the effect of the historical atrocities. In addition to the excessive consumption of alcohol, the Aboriginal youth also face depressive symptoms such as suicidal thoughts, feelings of hopelessness, and pessimism about the future; which is a result of the profound changes that were associated with colonialism, the Indian Act and also forceful evictions from their homes. The historical injustices plus systematic biases in the countries polices have created problems of poverty that contribute to challenges in the life of most Aboriginal youth.

On the other hand, while alcoholism is a major problem with the Aboriginals, it is unrealistic to assume that all indigenous groups in the county subscribe to a single cultural, social, or psychological ideal. Thanks to this class, what I find as being the common denominator across the indigenous community is their standard subsistence in life.  This does not mean that I support the indulgence in alcohol; on the contrary, I think that we should not be too quick to judge or stereotype the indigenous. Recognizing the historical atrocities among the community is fundamental to understanding the problems that these people face and also the way forward to peaceful interaction. This is an appeal not only to us as the youth but also to the regulatory bodies, teachers, community workers, and health caregivers. Understanding alcoholism within the social and historical context of the indigenous is paramount to understanding and preventing substance abuse.

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