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Alcohol and the Indian-White relationship: the function of Alcoholics Anonymous in Coast Salish society Jilek-Aall, Louise Mathilde 1972

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Of  ALCOHOL AND THE INDIAN-WHITE RELATIONSHIP: THE FUNCTION OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS IN COAST. SALISH SOCIETY  by LOUISE MATHILDE JILEK-AALL M.D., University, of .Zurich., Switzerland D.T.M., University of Basel, Switzerland D.Ps., McGill University, Montreal  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF . THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE.. DEGREE. OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of Anthropology and Sociology  We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1972  In  presenting  this-.thesis  an advanced degree the I  Library  further  for  shall  agree  at  the  make  it  in  pa rt i al ,fu 1 f i lrnen t:-o f  University freely  of  available  that permission for  his  of  this  representatives. thesis  for  It  financial  for  extensive  s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d  by  British  by  the  shall  not  Columbia, reference  copying of Head of  i s u n d e r s t o o d that gain  the- requ i remen t s I  agree  and  be a l l o w e d  this  w i t h o u t my  Louise M. J i l e k - A a l l  The  University  Vancouver 8,  Anthropology and S o c i o l o g y of  B r i t i s h Columbia  Canada  Date - S ^ p t " . 2.5 j,  \97£.  thesis or  publication  written permission.  Department of  that  study.  my Department  copying or  for  ABSTRACT  This paper aims at demonstrating the close association of Indian alcohol abuse with.the Indian-White relationship as i t has developed throughout the contact period.  The author became aware of this associa-  t i o n i n the course of her study of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) among the Coast Salish Indians.  In contrast to the situation obtaining among the  Coast Salish Indians, lack of interest i n A.A. i s reported for most Indian groups of North America.  The author reviews Coast Salish culture  t r a i t s with regard to their relevance to the socio-cultural problems of the Indian population today, and explores the relationship between patterns of alcohol use and abuse and Westernization. Alcohol abuse among B r i t i s h Columbia Indians has become a major factor i n s o c i a l , physical, and mental pathology according to s t a t i s t i c a l evidence, and i t i s i n this context that the function of A.A. and i t s e f f i c a c y i n combating alcoholism i s investigated. A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous maintains that a l l members are equal, regardless of r a c i a l , ethnic or r e l i g i o u s background.  But Indians with  alcohol problems find i t d i f f i c u l t to speak openly among non-Indians i n A.A.  Alleged or real discriminations l e d to the formation of Indian A.A.  groups among the Coast S a l i s h some ten years ago, and p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n them has been steadily growing.  Patterns of t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i a l structure  and behaviour are reflected i n the way the Coast S a l i s h conduct t h e i r A.A. meetings, and this c l e a r l y sets their groups apart from other A.A. organizations.  Indian A.A. meetings are important s o c i a l events on the  reserve; sometimes they take the form of a family court, the participants having to j u s t i f y their behaviour towards kinsmen i n front of the whole A.A.  group.  Considerable discussion i s devoted to Indian-White  relations,  a fact which demonstrates the importance of this c o n f l i c t area to Indians with alcohol problems. A.A.  There i s a strong emphasis on r e b i r t h  The "power greater than ourselves" i n the A.A.  through  programme i s to the  l o c a l Indian member a syncretic amalgamation of the Christian God with the s p i r i t power of the S a l i s h winter ceremonials.  Many Indian  A.A.  members also attend the revived s p i r i t dances, and the same building i s used for both purposes on a l o c a l reserve. social movement-aspects of Indian A.A. opment into a n a t i v i s t i c movement.  The author discusses the  and the p o s s i b i l i t y of i t s devel-  Abstinence  from alcohol has been ex-  t o l l e d by many r e l i g i o u s movements among North American Indians such as the Handsome Lake Religion, the Ghost Dance, the Indian Shaker Church, and the Peyote Cult, which are described i n the context of Indian e f f o r t s to combat alcoholism. The i n e f f i c i e n c y of purely Western methods of helping Indians with alcohol problems i s the basis of the author's conclusion that any assistance Western agencies, i n order to be e f f e c t i v e , must •rely on Indian i n i t i a t i v e s a.nd a c t i v e l y involve the l o c a l Indian population.  Only anti-alcoholic programmes integrating Indian A.A.  groups with  Indian community centres and professional consultation services i n an organized e f f o r t , w i l l have a chance to meet with success.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chapter I:  Introduction  1  Purpose  1  Data and Methods  1  Recording Techniques  5  North American Indian Groups and A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous  6  Coast S a l i s h Indian culture t r a i t s i n r e l a t i o n to socio-cultural problems of today Chapter I I :  Comparison of Non-Indian and Indian A.A. Meetings  12 21  The conduct of non-Indian and Indian A . A . meetings  21  Views regarding anonymity  24  Who attends non-Indian and Indian A.A. meetings  26  Content of A.A. speeches  30  Chapter III: " " '  Culture C o n f l i c t and Alcohol Abuse ')  r  40  Alcohol and the White-Indian r e l a t i o n s h i p  40  A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous and the White-Indian relationship  45  Is the Indian A.A. developing into a n a t i v i s t i c movement?  53  The future of A.A. among the Coast S a l i s h Indians  65  Chapter IV: Methods of Combating Indian Alcohol Abuse  78  Western methods of a s s i s t i n g Indians with alcohol problems  78  New trends i n approaching the Indian alcohol problem  85  Bibliography Appendix Guidelines of the A.A.  organization  The 12 Steps of A.A. The 12 Traditions of A.A. Questionnaire used as guideline i n structured interviews  CHAPTER- I INTRODUCTION Purpose The purpose of this paper i s to explore the alcohol problem of.Coast Salish Indians i n i t s relationship to White-Indian  contact; to  review the measures taken against Indian alcohol abuse, and primarily to evaluate the function of A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous (A.A.) among contemporary Coast S a l i s h Indians. The study i s a consequence of my disappointment  at Western  therapeutic methods when Indians were referred to me for psychiatric treatment due to alcohol-connected emotional disturbances. consequence was  The  logical  to ask.the Indian patients what they themselves consi-  dered the reasons f o r , and the most e f f e c t i v e treatment of, t h e i r alcohol problems.  The answers encouraged a more thorough analysis of the  psychological factors operating i n Indian alcohol abuse and f i n a l l y led to a study of Indian p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the organization of A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous.  Data and Methods \  The study i s based on investigations made during,five years of close contact with the native Indian population of the Upper Fraser Valley of B r i t i s h Columbia.  The author's task as physician attending  to Indian patients, many of them suffering from alcohol-connected health  2  problems, necessitated a broader understanding  of Coast S a l i s h Indian  socio-cultural background, of the- s p e c i f i c situation of Coast S a l i s h Indians i n contemporary Canadian society, and of factors p o t e n t i a l l y relevant to Indian "problem drinking".  For this purpose, the f i r s t two  years were used to obtain general information through the study of: 1)  ethnographic a)  and s o c i o l o g i c a l l i t e r a t u r e on  Coast S a l i s h Indian aboriginal cultures, 1  b)  alcohol use and abuse among North American Indians,  c)  r e l i g i o u s and other movements with a n t i - a l c o h o l i c programs operating among Northwest Coast Indians;  2)  l i t e r a t u r e on A.A. organizations and their function i n Western society;  3)  l i t e r a t u r e on A.A. organizations working among North American Indians. In the following three years, A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous meetings  were v i s i t e d , Indian p a r t i c i p a t i o n observed,  and Indian persons ques-  tioned and interviewed regarding alcohol problems and the merits of A.A. When interviewing informants, a questionnaire (see Appendix) was used as a;guide.  Discussions with Indian leaders were sought to learn their  views on alcohol problems among t h e i r people. The use and abuse of alcohol i s widespread among the Indian population as well as among non-Indians i n North America, and cannot be 1.  The h i s t o r i c a l development of alcohol use and abuse and the changes i n drinking patterns among North American Indians have been d i s cussed elsewhere by t h i s author ( J i l e k - A a l l 1971).  3  regarded as a s p e c i f i c a l l y Indian problem.  Only Indians who f e l t that  alcohol abuse had, created major troubles for themselves and their fami l i e s , and who therefore wanted help, or made some e f f o r t to abstain from drinking, were regarded as persons with alcohol problems, whether t h e i r alcohol abuse had the character of alcohol habituation or of periodic excessive drinking. The numbers of Indian persons with self-defined alcohol problems interviewed were as follows: Persons not attending A.A.  24;  Persons with some A.A. experience but no active membership  28;  Active A.A. members  35.  A great deal of information regarding Indian use and abuse of alcohol was gathered i n numerous discussions with participants of Indian c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t i e s , and, above a l l , Indian A.A. meetings.  The  author was often invited to the homes of prominent members of the Indian community for further discussions. Even before commencing the present study, the author was f a m i l i a r with the general A.A. organization i n Eastern Canada and i n B r i t i s h Columbia i n the context of treating non-Indian a l c o h o l i c s . The A.A. meetings attended during the research period were: Meetings of general A.A. groups  18  Meetings of Indian A.A. groups  64.  The A.A. groups involved were as follows:  4  Chilliwack Group:  Convening'at-the Upper Fraser Valley Men-  t a l Health Centre, t h i s i s a non-Indian.A.A. group with meetings (every Friday evening) usually frequented by 20 to 40 members.  The group was  founded about 1950. A few Indians are occasionally present. Sardis Group:  Convening at Sardis Secondary School, i t was  founded about 1955. The majority of i t s members are non-Indians. group used to meet once a week, but has disintegrated.  This  The few remain-  ing members now get together only sporadically. Agassiz Group I: Meeting at the Agassiz Community H a l l , t h i s group was founded about 1963 as a general with Indian p a r t i cipation.  Three years ago Indian members broke away and formed their  own group, moving to another l o c a l i t y (Agassiz Group I I ) . Agassiz Group I I :  Indian A.A. group meeting i n a small b u i l d -  ing which belongs to the Catholic Church, or i n the community h a l l of Seabird Island Indian Reserve.  Attendance varies from 4 to 20 members,  who convene on most Sunday evenings. Wellington Group:  Indian A.A. group meeting i n a small school-  house on Wellington Reserve near Chilliwack, or i n a classroom of St. Mary's School, Chilliwack.  The group was founded about 1962. Meetings,  are usually attended by 20 to 40 members who convene every Thursday. A few non-Indians are usually present. Lummi Group:  Indian A.A. group located near the Lummi Indian  T r i b a l Council O f f i c e , Marietta, Washington; founded 1964. Approximately 40 Indian members. Indian A.A. members.  Usually v i s i t e d by a small group of non-  5  Recording Techniques During A.A. meetings the speeches were recorded in writing as completely as possible. I n i t i a l l y the emphasis was on a correct presentation of content and flavour of the speeches.  It was soon discovered  that Indian and non-Indian A.A. members alike are quite repetitious in their speech-making and i t was therefore possible to write down parts of the speeches verbatim.  Tape-recordings were not made in A.A. meet-  ings by the author, but tapes could be borrowed from A.A. members who openly record during the meetings.  Some of the quotations i n the text  are, therefore, transcriptions of tape-recorded speeches.  During inter-  views exact notes could be taken, whereas conversations and discussions following the A.A. meetings were recorded in writing- immediately wards.  after-  Those quotations i n this paper which might not be exactly ver-  batim are presented under quotation marks within.the text, whereas verbatim quotations are set apart. I wish to thank the members of the Indian A jA. groups for their cordial invitations to attend their meetings and for their readiness to provide me with information.  I have-been impressed by their  honesty in discussing a l l aspects.of the Indian alcohol problem, and hope that this study, which would have been impossible without their cooperation, w i l l draw attention to their efforts and assist in the planning of a future strategy to combat alcoholism.  6  I am e s p e c i a l l y indebted to Mr. and Mrs. A l l a n .Gutierrez of Yarrow, B.C.;  Mr. Alec James of Wellington Reserve, Chilliwack; Mr.  Walker Stogan of Musqueam, B.C.;  Mr. Buck and Mrs. W i l l a f r e d Washington  of Marietta, Washington, for the many hours they w i l l i n g l y spent with me discussing every aspect of the Indian-White  relationship, the Indian  alcohol problem, and the best ways of handling Indian alcohol abuse, i n the future. This thesis was prepared under the supervision of Professor Wilson Duff f o r whose suggestions and encouragement I am e s p e c i a l l y grateful.  I am also indebted f o r the advice I received from Dr. David  F. Aberle and Dr. Pierre Maranda of the Department of Anthropology  and  Sociology, University of B r i t i s h Columbia. North American Indian Groups and A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous There are in A.A.  'few published references to Indian p a r t i c i p a t i o n  organizations throughout North America.  To supplement the  references found i n the l i t e r a t u r e , the author contacted several author-  2 i t i e s and organizations i n North America. impression that A.A. 2.  The data obtained convey the  i s very r a r e l y u t i l i z e d by North American Indians.  J.H. Shore, Chief of Mental Health O f f i c e , Indian Health Service, Portland Area, Oregon, U.S.A.. A.P. Abbott, Zone p s y c h i a t r i s t , Yukon T e r r i t o r y , Canada. R.L. Bergman, Chief of Mental Health Programs, U.S. Indian Health Service. J.D. Bloom, P s y c h i a t r i s t Consultant to Indian Agencies i n Alaska. J.G. Jorgensen, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Univ. of Michigan, U.S.A. R.W. Brown, Director, Ute Tribe Alcoholism Program, Utah, U.S.A. P. MacDonald, Chairman of the Navaho T r i b a l Council, Window Rock, Arizona, U.S.A.  7  Bergman, i n a personal communication states that there never been a Navaho A.A.  group l a s t i n g more than two years and  most such ventures have been even more s h o r t - l i v e d . that the few Indians attending A.A.  His  has  that  observation  groups are mostly quite "accultur-  ated" people not l i v i n g on reservations, had previously been made by Dozier  (1966).  "Alcoholics Anonymous i s perhaps more successful than psychotherapy, but i t appeals again primarily to the i n d i v i d u a l addict. Nevertheless among Indians o f f the. reservation and i n densely populated areas, the idea has caught on. Recently an American Indian A.A. group has been formed i n Santa Clara;• C a l i f o r n i a , and another i s being started i n Oakland, C a l i fornia. A.A.- apparently influences the highly acculturated Indian a l c o h o l i c who has i n t e r n a l i z e d the c u l t u r a l values of the dominant American culture....Individual oriented types of aids provided by psychotherapy.and A.A....are generally unsatisfactory to the less acculturated (Indians)." (Dozier 1966, pp. 85-86) Lemert (1954), who  investigated the use of alcohol among In-  dians of B r i t i s h Columbia, mentioned that although several towns had quite active A.A.  programs i n 1952,  he could only find two Indians  who  were A.A.. members; one a highly educated Metis, the other a d e t r i b a l i z e d Indian woman married to a Finnish logger. Jorgensen sees the main reason for the lack of Indian i n t e r e s t in A.A.  i n the resentment Indians harbour towards the White majority:  " I do not know of any studies of A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous on American Indian reservations. A.A. i s a recent phenomenon on the reservations where I have done most of my work..... As far as the successes of.the A.A. program at Northern Ute, I r e a l l y don't have a very good impression at t h i s point. Some young men on antabuse refused to drink during a major f e s t i v a l — so they were r e s i s t i n g temptation. Some, too, asked me to trot them back to the A.A. house on several  8  occasions so that they would not succumb. My o v e r a l l f e e l ing i s that the context i n which Northern Utes reside i s too oppressive to allow A.A. to resolve the drinking problems of most Indians, and I think drinking problems are nourished by oppression." (Personal communication; l e t t e r to the writer, March 22, 1972) Similar reasons were given by Lemert: "We have a great deal of d i f f i c u l t y i n getting reservation Indians interested i n A.A. because they interpret i t as another form of r e s t r a i n t on their freedom....Our Iroquois member and one other had d i f f i c u l t i e s because i n t h e i r speeches they carried over a sense of i n f e r i o r i t y and emotions of r e sentment against the wrongs done to the Indians, despite the fact that they received unqualified acceptance from our white members." (Lemert.1954, p. 360) Littman (1970), reviewing f i f t y - f i v e references on alcoholism, i l l n e s s and social pathology among North American Indians, a l l o t t e d only the following few l i n e s of h i s publication to A.A.: "Alcoholics Anonymous has by and large, not had much appeal among American Indians, perhaps because of i t s emphasis on the a l c o h o l i c ' s need to admit h i s personal weakness. This very concept, i s I believe, offensive to most Indians. Nor are the r e l i g i o u s overtones of the A.A. program acceptable to many Indian a l c o h o l i c s . Frequently Indians consider t h i s 'a's program' which i s unacceptable to them. I understand, that A.A. has had some success on c e r t a i n reservations when members, including children, were allowed to become involved. A Navaho explained i t to me t h i s way: 'We don't l i k e to be exclusive. When we become exclusive we lose touch with our-people '." (Littman 1970; p.. 1782) 1  Shore (1970) also refers to the Indian d i s l i k e for confessiontype speeches expected i n A.A.: "Few Indian people suffering from the e f f e c t s of alcohol abuse.have been helped by t r a d i t i o n a l medical approach to alcohol r e h a b i l i t a t i o n or through non-Indian chapters of A l coholics Anonymous... .A.A. chapters continue to function on several Indian reservations, although i n general Indian drinkers have reacted by withdrawal when asked to p a r t i c i p a t e i n i n t e grated groups i n which confession of one's drinking behaviour i s of major importance." (Shore 1970)  9,  Shore maintains that non-Indians might at times be successful in including some Indians i n their A.A. groups. • According to Brown (personal communication,  1972) there i s l i t t l e i n d i c a t i o n that Ute  Indians would continue attending A.A. meetings without non-Indian leadership:  "On several occasions there, has been l i t t l e or no  attendance at A.A. meetings when the non-Indian leaders were absent". Most personal communications the  to the author stressed as one of  main reasons for the lack.of Indian p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n A.A. the d i s -  l i k e Indians have for confession-type speeches heard at A.A. meetings and t h e i r d i s i n c l i n a t i o n to talk about themselves, especially when expected to emphasize their personal f a i l u r e s and weaknesses.  Why then  has A.A. been able to gain support and to find members among the Coast Salish Indians? In  t r a d i t i o n a l Coast S a l i s h culture a person's s o c i a l posi-  tion depended to a great extent upon h i s knowledge of the moral code and his  personal conduct.  The moral standing, e s p e c i a l l y of high ranking  persons, was of public concern; vices and virtues of such a person were often p u b l i c l y discussed. Although admission of " s i n s " might o r i g i n a l l y not  have been a feature of.Coast S a l i s h culture, the b e l i e f that the  breaking of c e r t a i n taboos causes misfortune which may be averted or relieved through avowal, seems to be o l d i n some regions df native North America.  According to Suttles (1957) this b e l i e f was found i n many  areas, such as among the Central Eskimos, the Algonquins of the North-  10  east and the Yurok of Northwestern C a l i f o r n i a . that i n d i v i d u a l confession before death was  Suttles further claims  practiced among Plateau  Indians before the influence of C h r i s t i a n i t y .  Spier, reporting on a  separate "confession dance" i n the, SouthernfCkahagon i n response to anxiety caused by "strange natural happenings", writes: "Young and old gathered i n a c i r c l e about a chief within a house,, where they stood rhythmically swaying while he confessed his sins and called on each i n turn to do likewise." (Spier 1935, p. 8). This "confession dance" was  part of the Prophet Dance of the  Plateau, which spread to the lower Mainland and the P a c i f i c Coast before the coming of the f i r s t p r i e s t s .  I t s influence might explain some pe-  c u l i a r practices found among Coast S a l i s h Indians of the lower Fraser Valley, generations 1902).  before the f i r s t contact with Whites ( H i l l - T o u t  Here as i n the Okanagon the occasions  for these r e l i g i o u s cere-  monies were either public calamities such as epidemics, famines, earthquakes, v i o l e n t storms and the l i k e ; or the a n t i c i p a t i o n of some sort of deprivation, such as loss of status and goods, imposed s o c i o - c u l t u r a l changes, conquest by a more powerful group, etc. (Aberle 1959).  The  chief would lead the prayers and confessions of the people to invoke the p i t y of the supernatural position.  forces or to strengthen h i s own  social  At the close of the dancing the chief would "bid them place  their hands on t h e i r breasts and repent of their e v i l deeds and ( H i l l - T o u t 1902).  thoughts"  Suttles (1957) quotes Elmendorf as describing a mar-  riage dance among the Twana Indians, which was  apparently  performed long  11  before the White man by choosing a man.  came:  "The-people danced i n a circle-and married  They confessed.sins."  Both Hill-Tout and Elmendorf  thus concede the element of confession might be of genuinely native o r i gin. The "Dreamers" of the Smohalla* r e l i g i o n had similar r i t u a l s . 1  While people were dancing i n a c i r c l e , clapping.their hands, anyone who wished toe speak could step forward and " t e l l h i s story" (MacMurray  1886)  or h i s dreams which were commented upon by the "high p r i e s t " (Du Bois 1939) . Another form of confession exists i n the Shaker Church of the Coast Salish:  the public announcement of a member's conversion.-  a Sunday ceremony aamember may  During  stand up and v o l u n t a r i l y t e s t i f y to the  regenerative and healing powers of the r e l i g i o n as i t has been d i s closed to him (Barnett 1957). From these references one might conclude that confession-:type public speeches are nothing new or offensive to Coast S a l i s h Indians. Awareness of the danger of further d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of t h e i r aboriginal culture together with the conscious desire to reinforce Indian i d e n t i t y (Suttles 1963), l e t s the Coast S a l i s h Indian of today look favourably on organizations which stress personal improvement and abstinence from alcohol, and which provide f o r t h e regular meeting of people from d i f ferent Indian reserves. The present study also attempts to demonstrate how Indian  A.A.  groups help the Coast S a l i s h people to find continuity with t h e i r t r a d i -  12  t i o n a l culture i n the same way as do the revived s p i r i t dance ceremoni a l , Indian canoe racing, slahal games, the Indian Shaker Church, and other contemporary intergroup a c t i v i t i e s . Coast S a l i s h Indian Culture T r a i t s i n Relation to Socio-Cultural Problems of  Today The period of contact between the S a l i s h Indians and modern  Western society has been r e l a t i v e l y short. ing  whose fathers saw the f i r s t white men  ser  Valley.  There are s t i l l Indians l i v -  coming to s e t t l e i n the Fra-  When studying contemporary Indian.behaviour and accultura-  t i o n d i f f i c u l t i e s i t i s therefore necessary to know the pre^settlement Indian culture. and of importance  In this chapter, culture t r a i t s which are s t i l l present to the Indians  t i e s i n t h e i r adjustment  —  and at the same time cause d i f f i c u l -  w i l l be pointed out.  . The abundance of game and sea-food i n the wide, e a s i l y access i b l e areas of the Coast S a l i s h , allowed for a generous usage of resources.  Although heads of families often had a c e r t a i n right to f i s h i n g  and hunting places (Barnett 1955), usually a whole v i l l a g e -- or c l u s t e r of v i l l a g e s --owned the surrounding t e r r i t o r i e s over which each unit roamed with equal freedom (Smith 1941).  Frequent use by one group of  people of c e r t a i n l o c a l i t i e s , could lead to the view that the place "belonged" to them, but there was  seldom any attempt to exclude f r i e n d l y  members of other communities (Elmendorf 1960). . The v i l l a g e as such was not a self-contained s o c i a l unit; the kinship group was the most important property-holding entity.' The property rights of the k i n  13  groups were spread over large areas and many v i l l a g e s through ties.  marriage  The e a r l i e r White a u t h o r i t i e s , therefore, d i d not comprehend the  nature of Coast S a l i s h i n t e r v i l l a g e relationships and of l o c a l property rights.  When laying out Indian reserves according to old v i l l a g e s i t e s ,  they imposed r e s t r i c t i o n s on the ambilineal descent and ambilocal r e s i dence pattern of native social organization, thereby destroying much of the i n t r i c a t e aboriginal s o c i a l network (Suttles 1963).  The Coast S a l i s h  Indians s t i l l keep track of t h e i r family t i e s and show stronger s o l i darity with t h e i r kindred l i v i n g i n other bands than with other families residing on the same reserve: "Non-kin or remote k i n on the same reserve may see l i t t l e or nothing of each other. Near k i n on d i f f e r e n t reserves may be i n close contact -- made even closer by modern means of transportation and communication." (Suttles 1963, p. 517) This close i n t e r v i l l a g e kinship system i s one of the reasons why true community l i f e i s seldom seen on S a l i s h Indian reserves. to  Due  the fact that families of d i f f e r e n t k i n groups are locating together  on the same reserve, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to organize community cooperation for  reserve projects. A further obstacle to organized progress on the  reserves i s the fact that the Coast S a l i s h did not have v i l l a g e chiefs with authority over the v i l l a g e r s , nor other authority figures with i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d powers; neither did they have clans, phratries, or other larger s o c i a l units.  Barnett has probably given the clearest  d e f i n i t i o n of Coast S a l i s h s o c i a l structure, i n the form of negative statements:  14  "Among the S a l i s h the highest unit of common allegiance was the extended family. . There was no tribe or state; hence there was no offences against or loyalty to either. There were no t r i b a l o f f i c e r s , no council, no bodies for the enactment, adjustment or enforcement of regulations." (Barnett 1955, p. 241) ,. Individual rank and s o c i a l s t r i v i n g was relevant within the extended family.  The "chief" of an extended k i n group among the Coast  S a l i s h corresponded to what Sahlins has described as a "big-man" (Sahl i n s 1962/63, p. 289) who i s not i n s t a l l e d as a p o l i t i c a l  figure.  His  authority derives from personal power and from h i s acknowledged standing i n interpersonal r e l a t i o n s .  The Coast S a l i s h Chief, or si£'m, was  usually one of the oldest men of the family; he was the headman of the household.  Individual knowledge, good behaviour, and the a b i l i t y to  accumulate goods, which then were d i s t r i b u t e d during potlatches, gave the  siE'm prestige and made him respected and. looked upon as a leader  among other household heads.  In times of c r i s i s he was expected to  give advice and guidance (Duff 1952).  The combination of (1) personal  q u a l i t i e s such as wisdom and good behaviour, (2) status within the extended family as household head, and (3) a b i l i t y to r e d i s t r i b u t e goods i n potlatches, was necessary f o r a man to be accepted as group leader. These q u a l i f i c a t i o n s are d i f f e r e n t from those of the p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l authorities with whom the Indians have to deal today.  "No  man  has the right to order me around", i s an angry statement often heard from l o c a l Indians, not only when facing orders by bosses or governmental agents but also when confronted with demands, by leaders of modern Indian organizations.  15  We have numerous descriptions of the huge plank houses i n which the Coast S a l i s h used to l i v e (Hill-Tout 1902; Haeberlin and Gunther 1930; 01 son.1936; Duff 1952; Jenness 1955, and others).  I t was  the pride of the household to have as many r e l a t i v e s and friends as possible l i v i n g under the same roof.  Due to the kinship structure of  the Coast S a l i s h , where paternal and maternal r e l a t i v e s were equated throughout the system, the household could grow very large.  I t con-  sisted of a nucleus of males; a man, h i s brothers, sons and grandsons, their wives and children, around whom were grouped uncles and nephews, grandparents, parents-in-law, widows, orphans and other k i n , not to mention v i s i t i n g friends and other r e l a t i v e s (Duff 1952; Olson 1936). The Indians of today s t i l l keep i n contact with numerous r e l a t i v e s , " l i v i n g i n each other's houses", as one o l d Indian put i t , v i s i t i n g and feasting together frequently.  The houses provided f o r the Indians  today are b u i l t according to modern patterns, meant to house a nuclear family and perhaps also grandparents or a few guests.  But the trend  to gather as many r e l a t i v e s as possible under one roof i s s t i l l entrenched and often causes d i f f i c u l t i e s and f r u s t r a t i o n s .  deeply  This i s  one of the reasons why the small houses are often extremely overcrowded, which again r e s u l t s i n a desperate lack of comfort and hygiene. olden days, r e l a t i v e s are spread over large areas.  As i n  Family t i e s are  strong and there i s a considerable pressure to attend marriages, funerals or other gatherings (Suttles 1960).  This takes time and frequently  c o n f l i c t s with work schedules i n modern society.  The Indian i s confron-  ted with the a l t e r n a t i v e s of either facing the disapproval of h i s r e l a tives or losing h i s job, and both prospects cause tension and anxiety. Friendly, cooperative, and non-aggressive  behaviour,  portant f o r adjustment i n the crowded long-houses of the past, prevails as a highly valued q u a l i t y of a Coast Salish Indian.  so imstill Dis-  approval, gossiping and shaming i s s t i l l more feared than physical coercion.  "We  were taught by our grandparents to respect anybody older  than ourselves, and rather to walk away than to f i g h t " — i s often given as excuse for passive behaviour  today.  Indians trying  to l i v e up to the "Indian ways" w i l l unavoidably be at a i n modern competitive society.  .'  this reason  disadvantage  -  Every Coast S a l i s h Indian, without regard to h i s social standing, would seek supernatural power i n t r a d i t i o n a l times.  Ardent and  vigorous training led to the a c q u i s i t i o n of guardian s p i r i t power, considered essential for success i n l i f e (Hill-Tout 1904; Duff 1952;  and many others).  Barnett  1955;  The r e v i v a l of the Coast S a l i s h S p i r i t  dancing i n recent years demonstrates that C h r i s t i a n i t y i n a l l i t s currently declining forms could never f u l l y substitute for the old r e l i gious system with i t s stress on i n d i v i d u a l s p i r i t power rather than on a distant God  shared by everybody.  No description of Coast S a l i s h culture, and i t s influence on thought and behaviour of contemporary Indians, can be complete without mention of the potlatch. "In the past the major intergroup gathering, the potlatch, was the most spectacular part of an economic system by which the Coast S a l i s h population survived i n a natural environment of fluctuating productivity." (Suttles 1963, p. 523)  16  Everyone would look forward to a potlatch.  Everybody would  be w i l l i n g to work a l i t t l e harder, eat and sleep a l i t t l e l e s s , i n order to produce goods to be used i n the potlatch feasts.  Nothing  spurred ambition and cooperation more than the happy thought of a coming to  potlatch; nowhere was there a better opportunity for becoming known friends and neighbours  than during potlatch-time, and nobody could  acquire s o c i a l prestige without giving a potlatch. tic  Social l i f e ,  artis-  s k i l l s , r i t u a l performances, trade and wealth centered around this  event.  C h r i s t i a n leaders fought the potlatch, and when i t was f i n a l l y  prohibited i n 1884 (LaViolette 1959) , cooperation between the Coast S a l i s h people diminished, the incentive to work was undermined, and the paraphernalia used i n the ceremonies no longer held much meaning. Therefore, when the potlatch disappeared, t r a d i t i o n a l Indian culture rapidly disintegrated.  L i f e on the reserves became d u l l and uninter-  esting and then depression and apathy took hold of the Indian people. The excessive use of alcohol i n reaction to depression, hopelessness and anxiety, described among Indians of our time, i s a frequent topic of discussion i n l i t e r a t u r e (Horton 1943; Hamer 1965; Erikson 1963; Robertson  1970).  Other authors attribute the abuse of  alcohol among Indians to i t s euphoric effects (Lemert 1954; Du Toit 1958)  or t o . i t s a b i l i t y to release pent-up h o s t i l i t y and to make the  i n d i v i d u a l sink into an a l l - f o r g e t t i n g stupor (Devereux 1949; Dozier 1966;  Hamer 1961; James 1961).  17  Lemert (1954; 1958) describes how the. use of alcohol became integrated into Goast S a l i s h culture patterns. outlawed, the whiskey feast took i t s place. were substituted f o r food.  When the potlatch was  Barrels of whiskey and rum  As i n the old r i v a l r y potlatches, singing  of s a t i r i c a l and i n s u l t i n g songs became a more or less i n t r i n s i c feature of.these "challenge feasts".  Old men and women were i n v i t e d to  such parties because of their general status or because they could sing drinking songs and t e l l s t o r i e s .  Again, the Indians could gain prestige  by being generous and giving away wealth, t h i s time i n the form of a l cohol. As we have seen, one of_the norms of Indian behaviour of personal r e s t r a i n t .  i s that  Emotional outbursts, quarrels and fights are  generally avoided and anger i s seldom shown.  No society however, can  function normally without providing e f f e c t i v e outlets f o r aggression. Indian society had a number of such outlets, such as warfare, hunting a c t i v i t i e s , r i v a l r y potlatches, competitive games, accusations of witchc r a f t , etc. (Kluckhohn 1967; Devereux.1949; Dozier 1966).  Most t r a d i -  t i o n a l expressions of aggression have been suppressed i n the course of Westernisation, and new sources of aggressive feelings have been created by the fact that the Goast S a l i s h people have become increasingly deprived and have been made powerless by Western man.  Both these as-  pects, the loss of t r a d i t i o n a l means to channel aggression and the mounting h o s t i l i t y due to outside oppression, have l e f t the Indian people deeply frustrated.  Violent outbursts during drinking bouts have  18  become a regulatory mechanism for the Indian of today:  "Indians fight  among themselves when drunk and seldom remember these a l t e r c a t i o n s when sober," (Hamer 1965). Drunken behaviour;is looked upon with tolerance. sive person i s among drinking friends and r e l a t i v e s who catharsis of h o s t i l i t y to take place (Lemert 1954).  The  permit  aggresthe  The fear and  tol-  erant acceptance of a drunken person, often shown by Indians, is.reminiscent of the awe people f e l t for those possessed by supernatural power. The inebriated person i s obviously not i n control of h i s senses and therefore not to be blamed for h i s v i o l e n t acts.  Drunkenness, especially  during the early period of contact with the White man, the category of the supernatural.  .  was  included i n -  Alcohol gives the Indian the feeling  of personal power he so sorely lacks when dealing with modern society. Through alcohol heihas v i s i o n a r y experiences that take him back to the world of h i s ancestors.  Old people who  s t i l l remember -- or heard about --  the Indians' f i r s t encounter with alcohol, remember the d i f f e r e n t powers at work.  In the words of an Indian'A.A. veteran:  "Indian l i f e was a s p i r i t u a l l i f e . The only way of expressing the Indian way was s p i r i t u a l . Everything was s p i r i t u a l about the.Indian, you see. Before the White man came, they had power within themselves. The priests said Indian power was the Devil's power. They gave us alcohol. Power from outside. . My grandfather said Lt was the d e v i l ' s power. They c a l l e d i t firewater, i t made the poor people f e e l r i c h , the old feel young, they f e l t happy and could dance again. But my grandfather said, throw away that White man's power, the f a l s e s p i r i t of alcoholism." The ways i n which the relationship between Indians and Whites i s influenced by alcohol w i l l be discussed l a t e r (pp. 40-45).  19  Whatever the reason f o r Indian drinking, alcohol abuse has become an increasing factor i n Indian i l l - h e a l t h .  The U.S.  Indian Health  Service Task Force on Alcohol has stamped alcoholism as, "one of the most s i g n i f i c a n t and urgent health problems facing the Indians, today".  A  report by the Director General of.the Medical Services for Indian A f f a i r s i n 1969,  presented some s t a r t l i n g facts regarding B.C. Indians.  Indian  males, aged 25-34 years, died at the rate of 12 per 1,000, compared with only 1.6 per 1,000  of other young Canadian males of the same age i n  B r i t i s h Columbia.  Whereas the mortality rate among, young Indian  females  has always been high, i t appears to be on the increase among young Indian males.  This r i s i n g mortality i n the prime of l i f e i s apparently asso-  ciated with alcohol abuse and attributable to a growing number of f a t a l 3 accidents, v i o l e n t acts and suicides.  Schmitt et a l . (1966) reporting  on accidental deaths among B r i t i s h Columbia Indians, summed up t h i s situation: "A s t a t i s t i c a l and epidemiological review of B r i t i s h Columbia native Indian and non-Indian mortality revealed that accidents were the leading cause.of death among Indians but ranked only fourth among non-Indians. Comparison of accidental death rates by age and sex showed that, without exception, the rates among Indians were considerably higher than the corresponding rates for non-Indians. While the Indians represented some 2%> of the t o t a l population of British.Columbia, they accounted . for over 10% of the t o t a l accident f a t a l i t i e s , 29% of drowning, and 21%.of f a t a l burns. Socio-economic, environmental and psychosocial factors and excessive drinking are considered the chief causes responsible for this rather unusual epidemiological phenomenon."  3.  "The F i r s t C i t i z e n " , November  1969.  20  The abuse of alcohol and the resulting damage to psychological and physical health has long been considered a major health problem by the medical profession.  However, u n t i l recently l i t t l e has been done  to combat these effects i n a comprehensive manner (Shore 1970). It i s i n this context that we studied the functions of Alcoh o l i c s Anonymous among Goast S a l i s h Indians.  The organization of  A.A.  has proven to be an e f f e c t i v e weapon in'the fight against alcoholism i n Western society.  Many authors have found that A.A.,  non-Indians, has l i t t l e appeal to Indians. whether an Indian A.A.  as conducted by  This raises the question of  organization i s better able to help the Indians  solve t h e i r alcohol problems.  21  CHAPTER I I COMPARISON OF NON-INDIAN.AND INDIAN A.A. MEETINGS The Conduct of Non-Indian and Indian A.A. Meetings Upon entering the room where a non-Indian A.A. meeting i s to take place, one i s usually greeted by a member posted at the door f o r that purpose.  New members and v i s i t o r s are asked t h e i r f i r s t name,  their problems and why they come to the meeting. with f r i e n d l y words.  They  areswelcomed  Before the meeting gets underway, people look at  A.A. l i t e r a t u r e on display, and one A.A.. member gives information and encourages those interested to read and to take pamphlets home for further study. At the set time the meeting i s opened by the chairman. Most participants are present by then; only very few a r r i v e l a t e r i n the evening.  Both the chairman and the secretary take an active part i n  the meeting and have d i s t i n c t r o l e s .  The chairman urges members to come  forward to speak. . He takes notes during t h e i r speeches, makes comments, and starts the discussion, cracking jokes and keeping the audience act i v e and interested.  The secretary's job i s to take note of the members  and guests present, write summaries of speeches and discussions, announce further A.A.. meetings and related a c t i v i t i e s , and c o l l e c t and count money. As.a rule there i s a short break a f t e r about an hour.  Everybody helps  himself to the coffee, sandwiches, cakes and other foods brought by the members.  Conversation and discussion i s l i v e l y and general, u n t i l  the chairman c a l l s everybody back and the meeting goes on as before.  22  An A.A. meeting i s supposed to l a s t for about two hours, and as i t gene r a l l y starts at 8 p.m., the chairman w i l l close the meeting at 10 p.m. Sometimes he may have to interrupt the l a s t speakers to keep the schedule, but most participants accept this without d i f f i c u l t y as punctuality i n opening and c l o s i n g a meeting i s appreciated by most members.  Some  people may stay on for a while, looking at A.A.. l i t e r a t u r e or conversing with.friends,.but the majority w i l l leave rather quickly a f t e r the end of the meeting.  I f women are present, they usually clean up the place.  A r r i v i n g at a meeting on time does not seem to be of much importance to Indians attending A.A.  The chairman i n Indian A.A. there-  fore usually opens the meeting.later than announced. only a few members might be present at the s t a r t . during the whole evening,  But even then  People "drop i n "  so that eventually the place i s crowded.  There i s a constant coming and going during an Indian A.A. meeting, and although everybody turns h i s head curiously towards noisy newcomers, few Indians are disturbed by t h i s .  Non-Indians present are annoyed and  often find i t d i f f i c u l t to continue their speeches a f t e r the interruptions.  The chairman and the secretary i n Indian A.A. groups remain  passive during the meeting.  Their duties are not well defined, and they  may decide to switch roles during the meeting.  I f a decision has to be  taken, chairman and secretary w i l l f i r s t discuss i t between themselves, and e i t h e r one may then announce their decision. very important.  The coffee break i s  I t i s held i n the middle of the meeting or at the end,  but sometimes at both times. participants food and coffee.  Women busy themselves with o f f e r i n g the "Anniversary cakes" are very much enjoyed  23  and c a r e f u l l y d i s t r i b u t e d . . During the coffee break Indians do not i n teract as freely with each other as non-Indians do, but tend to gather ' i n small groups, well apart from each other.  I t may take considerable  time before everybody gets seated again and the meeting continues. Seldom^ i s an Indian A.A. meeting closed at the scheduled time. 'To interrupt-a speaker because of time l i m i t s would be bad taste and go unheeded anyway.  People seem to forget keeping track of time, e s p e c i a l l y  i f they enjoy the speeches; u n t i l fatigue makes them r e a l i z e that i t i s late.  Babies cheer up the meeting with their c r i e s ; children run i n and  out; the general atmosphere i s relaxed and f r i e n d l y .  Members and guests  get up and leave whenever they choose. / Few bother to look at A.A.. l i t erature, i f there i s any at a l l .  Only sporadic e f f o r t s are made to  clean up the place. Summary -- Conduct of A.A. Meetings: Non-Indians  Indians  Meetings usually held, from 8 to 10 p.m.;  Meetings opened l a t e r than scheduled;  This schedule adhered to by a l l members;  Members come and go during the meeting; which usually closes ' l a t e r than 10 p.m.  Welcome person at the door.  No welcome person at the door.  A.A. l i t e r a t u r e on display. Chairman and secretary active, t h e i r roles well defined.  A.A. l i t e r a t u r e rarely on display. Chairman and secretary passive, t h e i r roles not well defined.  Coffee-break short; s e l f - s e r v i c e .  Coffee-break long; women serve the others.  Speaking time r e s t r i c t e d .  Speaking time usually unrestricted.  Place cleaned up s u p e r f i c i a l l y .  Place rarelyecleaned up.  24  Views Regarding  Anonymity.  T o l e r a n c e o f drunken b e h a v i o u r and a l c o h o l abuse i s remarka b l e i n N o r t h A m e r i c a , among I n d i a n s and n o n - I n d i a n s a l i k e .  The use  o f a l c o h o l and s o - c a l l e d p e r m i s s i v e d r i n k i n g i s f u l l y accepted and supported by m i d d l e c l a s s N o r t h A m e r i c a n s ; a b s t i n e n c e has become a " n e g a t i v e symbol o f l i f e s t y l e " ( P i t t m a n 1967).  However, i n W e s t e r n  s o c i e t y t h e r e i s a sharp l i n e drawn i n people's  tolerance of drinking  behaviour.  A s l o n g as a p e r s o n d r i n k s and g e t s drunk o n l y o c c a s i o n a l l y  t h i s i s w e l l t o l e r a t e d and o f t e n laughed  at.  But'being  an a l c o h o l i c  i s viewed as shameful and d i s g r a c e f u l t o t h e whole f a m i l y , and a l c o h o l i s m i s d e n i e d and masked f o r a l o n g time.  Under t h e p r e t e x t o f s u f -  f e r i n g from " n e r v o u s n e s s " , " d e p r e s s i o n " , o r o t h e r i l l n e s s e s , treatment  medical  r e s o u r c e s a r e sought; t o suggest h e l p through A.A. i s o f t e n  t a k e n as p e r s o n a l i n s u l t .  Only when a l l treatment  e f f o r t s have f a i l e d  and a l c o h o l a d d i c t i o n has become m a n i f e s t a t home and a t work, w i l l t h e a l c o h o l i c y i e l d t o s o c i a l p r e s s u r e s and c o n s i d e r j o i n i n g t h e A.A. o r ganization.  But even a f t e r h a v i n g made t h i s d e c i s i o n , many a l c o h o l i c s  deny t h e i r membership i n A.A. and go t o g r e a t l e n g t h s t o keep i t a s e c r e t , as A.A. i s h e l d i n . l o w esteem among n o n - a l c o h o l i c s .  The man i n  the s t r e e t l o o k s upon A.A. as a s e c t a r i a n o r g a n i z a t i o n , f r e q u e n t e d by a l c o h o l i c bums, who have no o t h e r means o f e s c a p i n g  the b o t t l e .  m i t y i s t h e r e f o r e o f v i t a l i m p o r t a n c e t o many a l c o h o l i c s .  Anony-  Some w i l l  o n l y a t t e n d A.A. m e e t i n g s f a r from t h e i r p l a c e o f r e s i d e n c e .  A s members  a r e known o n l y t o each o t h e r and r e f e r r e d t o by t h e i r f i r s t , names, they  25  can feel at ease at A.A. meetings in distant places. Outside the meetings, members are supposed to treat each other as strangers. Most Indians attending A.A. meetings seem to show l i t t l e concern about anonymity. Many Indians do not know exactly what i t means and quite frequently the word i s mispronounced, as "amonity"; "amonimity"; "anominity", etc. Calling each other by the f i r s t name i s to them a sign of. friendship and in Indian A.A. is understood as a mere ritual.  It can be side-stepped by announcing:  "I am now breaking the  anonymity.... the man I speak about i s Mr. N.N.", and none of the Indian members seems to object to.that. Often anonymity i s looked upon as something meant specifically for White A.A. members: "It means that White people don't want anybody to know that they were at the meeting." "Amonity (sic) i s something regarding the Whites." "It's an excuse for White people not to greet an Indian on the street." One of the reasons for their lack of concern regarding anonymity i s that most Indians attending A.A. meetings in the Coast Salish region know each other anyway. As one Indian A.A. member explained: "Anonymity does not bother me, i t makes no difference whether i t gets out of this room or not, because most of the community knows i t anyhow...somebody will always know what's going on." Indians who know very well what anonymity means in Western society, often regard i t as a negative principle: "In our .(Indian) group i t seems like a family sharing everything with each.other. Sometimes we take our teenagers along, they come with their parents. We like them to take part in  26  our problems, know about i t . But the Whites don't l i k e that. That's why some of them refused to get up and talk i n our l a s t meeting. The White A.A. i s too anonymous, i t ' s easier that way, but we don't l i k e i t . " There i s no doubt that divergent views on anonymity was one of the factors i n the secession of the Indians from general A.A.  These  divergent views account for differences i n attendance of A.A. meetings i n non-Indian and Indian groups. Who Attends Non-Indian and Indian A.A. Meetings As outlined above, being an a l c o h o l i c and j o i n i n g A.A. i s looked down upon i n Western society.  Most non-Indian a l c o h o l i c s w i l l  therefore deny t h e i r condition and think of themselves as normal persons who have developed some bad drinking habits, for which they need a l i t t l e help.  No wonder therefore that those who f i n a l l y j o i n A.A.,  are hardcore, chronic a l c o h o l i c s , usually i n t h e i r t h i r t i e s or older, who often have l o s t their jobs and also their families and friends; s o l i t a r y drinkers with personality defects or other psychopathology. Some of these a l c o h o l i c s j o i n A.A. because of loneliness and despair, mostly introduced by a friend who has been helped by the organization; others use A.A. for purposes of manipulation. A.A.  The^latter category of  participants are often younger sociopathic i n d i v i d u a l s i n d i f f i c u l t y  with the law, t h e i r employers or family.  Joining A.A. might help them  to obtain milder judgements, to be paroled e a r l i e r and to be viewed 1 more favourably by probation o f f i c e r s or employers. . These members 1.  That non-Indians use A.A. for manipulative purposes more frequently than do Indians, was confirmed by one of the most respected and oldest membersoof non-Indian A.A. i n the region.  27  tend to avoid A.A. meetings as soon as they have achieved t h e i r purpose. The few non-Indian women.seen i n A.A. and mentally deteriorated persons. appear timid and depressed.  are usually physically  They look older than they are and  Their attendance i s only sporadic, unless  they have private interpersonal motives. Outsiders are generally discouraged from attending A.A. meetings.  Non-alcoholic speakers are invited for educational purposes,  and  clergymen, probation o f f i c e r s , s o c i a l workers, physicians or other professionals under o b l i g a t i o n to preserve c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y are welcome to s i t i n on occasion.  Anxious observance of anonymity i s the main reason  for a rather negative attitude towards v i s i t s by non-alcoholics. Due to the Indians' lack of concern for anonymity, r e l a t i v e s and friends are welcome at Indian A.A.  gatherings; mothers may  take  t h e i r babies and small children along and often teenagers crowd i n a corner, p r i v a t e l y having fun together. Lemert (1958) found drinking among three Coast S a l i s h Indian tribes to be "exclusively s o c i a l " , and maintained that Indians drinking excessively could seldom be l a b e l l e d true a l c o h o l i c s , because they did not become s o c i a l i s o l a t e s as a consequence of t h e i r drunkenness. Drunken behaviour with maltreatment  of the family did not usually lead  to marriage break-up or loss of family support.  According to Lemert,  alcohol abuse among Indians was not looked upon as grounds f o r divorce. Lemert also asserted that most Indians did not have enough cash to  28  procure a continuous supply of l i q u o r ; Indian drinking excesses would therefore occur only i n bouts, mostly of short duration. Unfortunately  alcohol abuse among Coast S a l i s h Indians has  developed into a more serious problem since Lemert wrote h i s paper i n 1958.  As we t r i e d to demonstrate above (pp. 18-19) alcoholism --, i f we  use this term according to the d e f i n i t i o n of the World Health Organiza2 tion  —  Indians.  i s on the increase, e s p e c i a l l y among the younger generation of The young Indian a l c o h o l i c has more c o n f l i c t s with White s o c i -  ety than with h i s own people.  Frequent f i n e s , arrests, prison terms,  i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n , etc., i n t e r f e r e with h i s private l i f e , often to such a degree that he j o i n s A.A.. i n an e f f o r t to maintain sobriety to escape further molestation.  Accordingly, one finds that Indian men f r e -  quenting A.A.. meetings are of a younger age group (18 to 30) than their non-Indian counterparts  (30 to 50).  Many young Indian women j o i n t h e i r  brothers, boy-friends or husbands i n drinking sprees, and not a few of these Indian women have alcohol problems.  But since alcohol abuse  i s of greater consequence to the whole family i n the case of women, they are found i n A.A. groups even before becoming true a l c o h o l i c s .  Indian  A.A. meetings are therefore attended by many more women than are general A.A. meetings. 2. A l c o h o l i c s are those excessive drinkers whose dependence upon alcohol has attained such a degree that i t results, i n noticeable mental disturbance, or i n an interference with their bodily and mental health, their interpersonal r e l a t i o n s , their smooth s o c i a l and eco-. nomic functioning, or those who show the prodromal signs of such developments.  29  Due  to the aggressiveness of intoxicated Indian males, many  of them are constantly i n and out of prison. the Lower Mainland  Prison "camps situated i n  are frequented by Indians from outside who attend  A.A. meetings i n the prison because they very often have friends or r e l a t i v e s doing terms for alcohol-connected offences.. allowed to attend A.A.  Inmates are  meetings i n the communities i f outside A.A.  members stand b a i l for them.  Indian A.A.  members are eager to do so,  and as they tend to sympathize with prisoners i n general, they frequently b a i l out non-Indian prisoners, too.  At Indian A.A.  meetings held i n  the v i c i n i t y of correctional camps, the few non-Indian males attending are therefore nearly without exception prisoners on leave for that evening.  Guests, non-Indians and Indians a l i k e , are always welcome i n an  Indian A.A.  group and are often encouraged to come.  Summary:  Attendance at non-Indian and Indian A.A.  meetings.  Non-Indian A.A.  Indian A.A.  Mostly long term male alcoholics i n their late 30's or older. Few, i f any,"women.  Mostly young men and women with alcohol problems i n the age group of 20 to 40 years.  Ratio of men to women approx. 7:1.  Ratio of men to women approx. 1:1.  Non-alcoholic r e l a t i v e s or friends very rarely seen.  Many non-alcoholic r e l a t i v e s and friends present.  Guest speakers.occasionally i n v i t e d .  Guests welcome.  Few, i f any, prisoners even at A.A. meetings i n l o c a l i t i e s close to prison camps.  Few non-Indians, most of them p r i soners on leave at Indian A.A. meetings located close to prison camps.  30  Content of A.A. Speeches The strength of A.A.. l i e s i n the group support i t renders and i n the fact that the alcoholics themselves contribute through speeches.  their  A newcomer i s never told that he might be an a l c o h o l i c , or  what w i l l be expected of him as a member.  The problems created i n a  person's l i f e by alcohol abuse do not vary greatly from one drinker to the other.  Listening to their speeches, the newcomer w i l l soon i d e n t i f y  with the members.  Forgetting h i s defiance and resistance and hearing  about the disastrous e f f e c t s alcohol has had i n other people's he cannot help drawing h i s own conclusion:  lives,  " I t i s as i f the speaker  talks about me, these are my problems too, that's exactly what happened to me, i f he says he i s an a l c o h o l i c , I must be one too."  This shocking  experience during the f i r s t contact very often discourages the newcomer from attending further A.A. meetings f o r a while.  He might even increase  his drinking " j u s t to show them that I am not an a l c o h o l i c " .  But, as  many A.A. members l a t e r confess, indulgence i s never again the same. A "softening-up stage", as A.A. c a l l s i t , has begun and the drinker i s heading for a c r i s i s .  Sooner or l a t e r , most drinkers who have gone  to an A.A. meeting once, w i l l return f o r a second time.  Some, of  course, never come back, but many only need a few exposures to A.A. before they are ready to j o i n , although they may need an A.A. friend to take them along.  Few are those who w i l l not sooner or l a t e r y i e l d to  the s p i r i t of A.A. and r e s i s t the urge to stand up and confess:  "My  31  name i s N. and an a l c o h o l i c " .  The novice i s then made f a m i l i a r  with the teachings of A.A., the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions (vide appendix), and encouraged to t e l l the other members of h i s own history of sufferings.  The experience of having a sympathetically l i s -  tening audience, of being accepted and offered help i n spite of revealing  one's weaknesses and f a u l t s , has a profound healing e f f e c t upon  the a l c o h o l i c .  I t helps the alcoholic to overcome the loneliness and  i n f e r i o r i t y f e e l i n g which accompanies h i s drinking l i f e .  Since the  speeches are personal confessions, they vary with the speaker's ience and h i s r e l i g i o u s and social background. to  exper-  An observer l i s t e n i n g  speeches i n general A.A. as well as i n Indian A.A.  groups, i s able  to distinguish c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c features of Indian speeches as compared to those of non-Indians. Non-Indian A.A. members have a tendency to keep their presentations impersonal and to handle problems t h e o r e t i c a l l y .  The l e v e l of  sophistication, of course, varies with the speaker s education, but 1  expressions such as "ego strength", "neurotic patterns", "my super-ego", and other psychological terms are popular and often used to explain misconduct or to excuse relapses into drinking. Another tendency of nonIndians, i n order to avoid "getting too serious", i s to talk i n grim humour about their own shortcomings.  When mentioning God, this i s often  done i r o n i c a l l y , such as by c a l l i n g him the "big boss upstairs", or i n the form of s u p e r f i c i a l jokes l i k e t h i s :  32  . " I used to get r e a l l y drunk, so bad I could not stand any more. I d i d not want A.A. But now I enjoy staying sober. Now every morning when I wake up I say 'Good morning God' -- but when I was s t i l l . d r i n k i n g i t was: 'Good God, morningl" Non-Indian speakers s t r i v e to entertain; t h e i r speeches are often spiced with h i l a r i o u s wit.  Comments from the audience are quick  to follow and volleys of laughter may be heard.  Once gaiety has taken  hold of the audience, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to c a l l the meeting to order again. Feelings of, gratitude towards A-.A. and c e r t a i n A.A. members may be expressed, but this i s also often done i n the form of jokes; e.g.: "My sponsor used to be Father McKennan and each time I had been drunk I would say, _'0h Father forgive me'. I used to c a l l him 'Father Forgiv'im', .because he always said, 'Well, I ' l l forgive him". Some White members admitted they are keeping up the same h i l arious mood they found i n the pubs before: laugh together.  "I l i k e A.A. because we can  Just be happy together and s t i l l be sober".  are present at a general A.A. meeting, non-Indian  I f Indians  speakers may refer to  them as "our Indian friends"-, but w i l l never elaborate on the IndianWhite relationship as this i s hardly of any concern to them. i n sharp contrast to Indian A.A. speakers.  This i s  They betray a strong pre-  occupation with non-Indian A.A. members and with the Indian-White  rela-  tionship i n general; when speaking at non-Indian A.A. meetings as well as i h t h e i r own groups.  This preoccupation may be revealed merely i n  short remarks: "My great White father helped me stay sober."  33  "I f i r s t hated the White people i n A.A., me i n spite of our backward ways."  but they put up with  "She was a Whitawoman, but she was as much a s i s t e r as the Indian people to me." "I hated that A.A.  group because I never saw an Indian around."  "There i s an old saying. 'The Indians never win . . Well take a good look; here i s one Indian.that never won. But I slowly learnt to stick with the winners." 1  In many Indian speeches the theme of Indian feelings towards White society i s paramount. demonstrate  The following passages from Indian speeches  the speakers' adroitness at s e l f - s c r u t i n y .  blaming the White man Western society.  Instead of only  the Indians also look into t h e i r own problems with  An Indian woman pleaded:  "I know there are also White people i n the audience, but please do not discriminate against them. I hated the A.A. because I saw so few Indians there. My heart bleeds for them. But somehow we are extremely d i f f i c u l t to reach. I do not know what i t i s about us. Maybe we f e e l we have been d i s criminated against, i t ' s a l l i n our minds." A male Indian alcoholic expressed the same insight: "I hated a l l the White men except for one man because he never turned me down. I thank God and this White man for myysobriety. I f i t was.not for him and the A.A. I would probably s i t down i n some dark a l l e y , f u l l of booze.and s e l f p i t y , and blame the damned world and the White man for bending my arm. I did not want to go to the White alcoholics for help, because I did not want to degrade myself to their l e v e l . I hated myself and used the White man excuse." Some Indians display ambivalent feelings towards White and Indian society: "I made a real mess out of my l i f e . I was more Indian than the Indians themselves. But my husband could not tolerate my drinking. He. kicked me out of h i s house with the words, 'You are not. f i t f o r a human being to l i v e with.  34  - Why don't you go back to the Indians,maybe they can help you.' But I said: 'Who drink? I will not go back to the.Indians now, because they would not want me even on a silver platter'." One Indian woman even ventured to make a joke out of her misery: "I took my last drink in May 1967. Canada was 100 years old, and I like to think that was my centennial project." But then she continued full of anger: "A hundred years of what? They took my country away from me, and look what happened to me. I was a chief's daughter ...and look at me now, nothing but a no-good drunken slut! Who wants me now?" Indian women usually display a milder attitude towards non-Indians than do Indian men. They stress the virtue of being humble; of being able to understand and forgive instead of showing hate ("To me one of the most dreadful diseases of humanity is hatred towards self and others"). Their A.A. speeches reflect character traits a n d b e h a v i o u r p a t t e r n s h i g h l y v a l u e d i n women i n t r a d i t i o n a l I n d i a n c u l t u r e: "It was A.A. that made me talk and helped me to take care of my family. I have learnt many things in A.A. I have learnt to respect my husband. I have learnt that he is the boss -- not me. I must obey. I was taught to obey my superior, obey anyone that is ahead of you, even if they are's obedience that counts in your life. I used to say to my husband 'I hate you, you old bugger!' -n o w A . A . made m e s a y - - 'Come o n , D a r l i n g ' . T h i s i s a b i g change in me." A timid Indian girl in her "sobering-up phase" in A.A., was incapable of giving a talk.  She would stand in front of the audience,  shivering and mumbling, then return to her seat with tears in her eyes.  35  Two years-later she was able to speak at Indian A.A. meetings, but s t i l l , said very l i t t l e i n non-Indian A.A. groups.  As could be gathered from  her statements, she had come to the conclusion that extreme p a s s i v i t y and i n a b i l i t y to speak up for h e r s e l f , were the main reasons f o r her alcohol abuse: "I can't see my way to f i g h t . I get hurt but I can't f i g h t . I am not a person to express myself. I am that sort of a person that cannot get angry. I could not make conversation without booze, because I was ashamed to admit that I was an Indian. A.A. has taught me to get r i d of my Indian ways. I have been i n A.A. for two years and I think I am beginning to.become civilized." In another speech she talked more about the "Indian f e e l i n g " : "We have f e l t discrimination for a long, long time. That's why we close our minds to a l l what these people ("in A.A.) t r y to do for us. I t i s pretty hard for my people to follow the program. I t ' s hard to get them out of t h e i r s h e l l . Once i n a while we s l i d e back, into that.old f e e l i n g . I think I ' l l use that word 'Indian f e e l i n g ' , you know. I t ' s that f e e l i n g : . , getting back into that s h e l l , i t ' s kind of hard to get but. It's very sad." Steps 4 to 9 i n the "Ladder of Complete Sobriety" of A.A.  en-  courage the member to take "personal inventory", and c a l l for a fearless review of h i s wrongs towards others.  Indian women are usually quite ready  to take these steps, and their speeches often take on the flavour of s e l f accusation:"The degradation a woman goes through (when alcoholic) i s very p i t i f u l . The White men abuse Indian women when they are drinking, more than Indians would abuse White women. I have done a l o t of bad things to the White man, too. We used to get the White men down to the reserve and then we would chase them away and take t h e i r beer. I did a l o t of things that was hard on the family. I neglected my children and my grandchildren were ashamed of their grandmother."  36  Indian men also blame themselves i n their A.A. speeches, but by exaggerating their own badness they turn selfs-accusatibn into bragging: "I was i n a l l prisons from Canada to Seattle. I f I should t e l l you my whole drinking story i t would take me the whole night. I was a wife-beater, a l i a r , a t h i e f , a cheat; you name i t , I was i t . " Another Indian man refers to h i s past i n these terms: "I used to be r e a l bad when I drank. Fighting with the wife, breaking into homes, scaring the daylight out of people. Going to j a i l a l l the time and fines and fines and f i n e s . I missed 13 years i n j a i l and I think I put i n less than I deserved." One way of i n d i r e c t boasting by an e l d e r l y Indian man, was to name the professionals and i n s t i t u t i o n s with f u t i l e involvement i n h i s sobering-up process over the years: "That was poor old me, you know. The house burned down, I l o s t my wife through booze. I was two years on skid-row, seve r a l times i n the bucket, i n Oakalla, i n Chilliwack camps. I am trying to f i n d a camp where I have not been yet. I always did everything the hard way; hard work, hard drinking. I was torturing myself mentally. I went through a mental i n s t i t u t i o n ; the doctors thought I would lose my mind completely. But I s t i l l have a l i t t l e brain l e f t , just enough to stay sober i n A.A. Any man who has been through a l l these i n s t i t u t i o n s and j a i l s learns something. I t might be hard, but i t i s u s e f u l . " Sometimes Indian men brag about t h e i r drinking l i f e i n a colorf u l and amusing fashion: "I went through 18 years of h e l l . I am sure I know every door and gate down at skid-row. I know what i t i s l i k e to stand i n the soup-line, I know what i t i s l i k e to sleep on the dry dock or to go down and look for an empty box-car to sleep i n . I once f e l l asleep i n a box-car i n Vancouver and sobered up i n Kamloops. I sure made b i g eyes when I looked out. That was quite an experience." Listening to Indian men speaking i n A.A. l e t s one think of them as great "alcohol heroes", instead of picturing them as the great  37  warriors they were i n former days, when their own culture provided them with adequate outlets f o r aggressive and adventurous impulses. j o i n i n g A.A.,  Indian men have to give up t h e i r alcoholic feats.  When  They  have to make great e f f o r t s to turn aggression and hate into charity and love. A.A.  The alcoholic Indian thus becomes extremely dependent upon the group and i t s support.  In fact Indian," much more than  non-Indian  A.A. members, constantly assure each other of their love, and t e l l  every-  body of their thankful appreciation for the help they receive i n A.A. It i s a custom i n A.A. an a l c o h o l i c " .  Indians often begin with:  grateful a l c o h o l i c " . of  to begin speeches by saying, "My  name i s N., I am  "My name i s N., and I am a very  Their dependency upon the group, and on the feelings  love and gratitude, i s expressed by Indian A.A. members: "The love I needed, I found i t here i n "I need you here. you people i n A.A.  A.A."  I need you now, every day of my l i f e I need Show me, t e l l me, watch me."  "Here i n A.A. we r e a l l y learn what i t means to l i v e together. The love and compassion i s beyond any description i n the Engl i s h language as f a r as I am concerned." "Deep down i n my heart I have the l i t t l e b i t I have i s this love you a l l and I want you. You must allow me to love you one day at a time." Young Indian men sion.  so l i t t l e . I do know t h i s , that wonderful fellowship i n A.A. I The fellowship i s a l l I want. i n order for me to stay sober,  are not always able to love away t h e i r aggres-  After times of abstinence and eager p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n A.A.,  come r e s t l e s s and unable to "stay on the program".  they be-  Periods of excessive  drinking and exceptionally aggressive outbursts then follow. Indian p r i v a t e l y excused h i s " f a l l i n g o f f the wagon" thus:  A young  38  "I r e a l l y am somebody when drunk. I can pick a fight with any strong guy without being scared. Many times I have landed i n prison f o r manhandling. There have been times when I nearly k i l l e d a man i n drunken f i g h t s . I am known and feared a l l over the place when drinking. Now, nobody knows about me when I'm sober." This man speaking i n A.A. during times of abstinence sounds quite d i f f e r e n t l y : "I owe my sobriety to you people each time I have i t . There i s no way I can thank you, no way I can pay you back. No matter how much money you have, you can't buy t h i s . When I need you, I need you a l l the time. I f I don't go and get you, I might just as well go to a beer parlor. I come here f o r myself. I have not drunk f o r f i v e months. These have been the f i v e happiest months of my l i f e . To come here, to see you a l l , happy, smiling and not s i c k . " A p l a c i d Indian man who has been f i g h t i n g liquor successfully for years, refers i n A.A. speeches to h i s feelings of aggression as "garbage".  He i s able to get r i d of h i s h o s t i l i t y towards A.A. i n h i s own  way: "There are times when you can go and go u n t i l you run out of gas yourself, and then you have to go back to A.A. and get r e f u e l l e d j you know. A l l this garbage I have got i n here, you guys can have i t ! I ' l l leave i t with you so you can think about i t , so I ' l l not have to carry i t along. This i s what A.A. i s ; kind of l i k e a garbage disposal, for me anyhow. I t seems that t h i s garbage c o l l e c t s and c o l l e c t s and c o l l e c t s , and then that s t i n k ing thinking comes back, you know. Me, ugly me s t a r t s coming out, that J e k y l l and that Hyde, as they say. I dump the garbage right here. You can do with i t whatever you want!" Summary:  Content of Speeches i n A.A.  Non-Indians  Indians  Tendency to be general instead of personal. Frequent use of psychological terms.  Personal speeches, mostly i n simple terms.  39  Non-Indians  Indians  Strong emotions rarely displayed. God often referred to i n h a l f joking manner.  Strong emotions often shown. jokes about God.  H i l a r i o u s gaiety and cameraderie. Former drinking buddies get t o gether, drinking coffee instead of alcohol.  Love and gratitude,-'towards A.A. members expressed.  Sometimes confession-type speeches, but r a r e l y with self-accusations.  Confession-type speeches the rule. Self-accusation often turned into bragging (Indian men).  Indian-White relationship hardly ever mentioned.  Indian-White relationship i n foreground of concern.  No  40  CHAPTER I I I CULTURE CONFLICT AND ALCOHOL ABUSE  Alcohol and the Indian-White Relationship When Simon Fraser descended the r i v e r which bears h i s name, i n 1808, he was banks.  the f i r s t White man  ever seen by the Indians along the r i v e r  During the f i r s t years of sporadic White-Indian  men were appreciated because of the wonderful new s i l s they traded.  contact, White  tools and other uten-  They were often received with courtesy and h o s p i t a l i t y :  "These Indians showed us every possible mark of kindness; having taken up our quarters with them f o r the night, they gave us plenty to eat and entertained us with a variety of songs, dances, etc. during the evening." (Simon Fraser 1808, p. 210) But the good relationship deteriorated as soon as White s e t t l e r s encroached  upon Indian.lands i n increasing numbers.  and especially the onslaught of thousands of unscrupulous who  Settlement gold seekers  flooded the Fraser Valley after the middle of the 19th century,  threatened the Indians' existence.  Any attempt to r e s i s t the strangers  was hampered by the Indians' confusion and bewilderment as to how  to  handle the intruders and by the rapid decline of the Indian population. The remaining Indians r e a l i z e d that they could not fight the everincreasing number of s e t t l e r s .  The Coast Salish Indians were not given  the opportunity to withdraw on large reserves l i k e many other Indian groups i n Canada.  Their reserves were small but numerous and scattered  among the White population.  They have ever since had to l i v e i n close  41  proximity to the White man, been —  and s t i l l i s —  and the relationship between the two  complex and d i f f i c u l t .  has  Confusion about the d i f -  ferences between t r a d i t i o n a l native and modern "Christian" ethics and b e l i e f s i s s t i l l f e l t , and the high loss of Indian l i v e s through smallpox and other epidemics  i s s t i l l believed to be due to the e v i l 1  of Whites who wished to see the Red man  perish.  doings  The Indians' attitude  towards the Whites remains therefore colored by suspicion, d i s t r u s t , fear and b i t t e r n e s s . But since the Indian people for two  generations  have been unable to exist without the cooperation and help of Western man,  they have t r i e d to forget these negative feelings and s t r i v e n to  obtain the friendship of t h e i r new  neighbours.  Alcohol has played a decisive r o l e i n these e f f o r t s , as the liquor used and offered by the White man became a symbol of friendship and equality to the Indians. observed  I d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Whites can e a s i l y be  i n Indian drinking, as i t became symbolic of attaining White  status and prerogatives (Honigmann 1944).  The taking and giving of a l -  cohol represented to the Indian h i s acceptance i n a White environment which barred him from most other forms of s o c i a l contact (Lemert Robertson 1970).  1954;  The White labourers, loggers and fishermen l i v i n g and  working among the Coast Salish Indians, set the pattern of heavy rapid 1.  "The most t e r r i b l e single calamity to b e f a l l the Indians of B r i t i s h Columbia was the smallpox epidemic which started i n V i c t o r i a i n 1862 ...and within two years i t had reached p r a c t i c a l l y a l l parts of the province and k i l l e d about one-third of the native people....Smallpox was not the only disease that cut deeply into the Indian population. Epidemics of measles, influenza, tuberculosis and others took t h e i r heavy t o l l s . " (Duff 1964; pp. 42-43)  42  drinking, drinking f o r the purpose of becoming drunk (Hawthorn 1960; Lemert 1958; Buckley 1968). Indians and Whites.  Alcohol f a c i l i t a t e d communication between  I t worked both ways:  "Once long ago, I got drunk with an Indian....It's an awful proposition, but that might have been the most r e a l thing I've ever done with an Indian." (Fry 1970, p. 145) Drinking alcohol thus f a c i l i t a t e s communication between the partners; White and Indian f e e l they are on equal footing when becoming drunk together.  H o s t i l i t y , which Indians harbour towards Whites but  which they rarely show towards them when sober, comes out h a l f - j o k i n g l y when both meet over a glass of l i q u o r .  Even f i g h t i n g with words or  f i s t s i s then possible without ruining the newly established friendship. Thus alcohol i s used to "bribe the t r a n s i t i o n from a h o s t i l e r o l e to that of a f r i e n d " (Szwed 1966).  To the dismay of the Indian, alcohol  turned out to be a dubious helper.  While taking him closer to the Whites  liquor soon led to unhappiness i n h i s own family and to the disruption of friendship t i e s with h i s k i n . Before long the Indian found himself i n trouble with alcohol.  He saw h i s money disappear, h i s family break up,  his e t h i c a l standards lowered and himself j a i l e d and despised by the very people whose recognition he wanted to win.  Naturally, he came to  see the e v i l s of l i q u o r as an additional calamity brought upon him by the White man (Lemert 1954; Dailey 1968), and this reinforced h i s o l d suspicion that the White man was out to destroy him —  now with alcohol!  It i s a common b e l i e f among Coast Salish Indians even today, that R.C.M.P o f f i c e r s enrich themselves through fines collected from drunken Indians.  43  Some older Indians i n this area go so f a r i n their suspicious attitude as to believe that alcohol sold to Indians i s i n some way and to them this explains why  poisoned,  the Indians become more quickly addicted  and more disturbed than non-Indians.  That such a b e l i e f , as absurd as  i t might sound today, has i t s roots i n h i s t o r i c a l facts, i s accounted f o r i n s t o r i e s of the f r o n t i e r days.  The so-called "Indian whiskey" of the  past has been described as a v i l e potion that was drugged and d i l u t e d with water before i t was handed to the Indians: "Solutions of camphor and tobacco with a l i t t l e whiskey flavoring quite often were sold as l i q u o r . Mixtures containing bluestone v i t r i o l , a copper compound, and n i t r i c acid.... V a n i l l a extract and Jamaica ginger, as well as F l o r i d a water and cologne, proved highly popular drinks with natives i n some areas (around V i c t o r i a during the Gold Rush of 1858-1864) ....The frequency of death and the great disorganization of behaviour caused by drinking also i s understandable i n the l i g h t of the highly toxic and poisonous q u a l i t i e s of the beverages the Indians drank with gusto." (Lemert 1954, p. 307) This indicates how unscrupulous White traders were i n the 2 choice of their means of cheating Indians,  and the memory of this must  have been kept a l i v e among Coast Salish Indians to account f o r their suspicion even towards the liquor bought at government stores. How  intimately Indian alcohol abuse i s related to the Indian-  White relationship, i s usually not revealed to the non-Indian  investiga-  tor. When d i r e c t l y asked, "Why do you drink?" most Indians w i l l give 2. Cheating Indians by s e l l i n g them toxic liquors was a going joke i n the days of the Old West: "You take one barrel of Missouri River water, and two gallons of alcohol. . Then you add two ounces of strychnine...and three plugs of tobacco to make them sick...and f i v e bars of soap to give i t a bead, and half a pound of red pepper, and then you put i n some sagebrush and b o i l i t u n t i l i t ' s brown." (Abbott, c i t . Winkler 1968, p. 430)  44  i n s i g n i f i c a n t answers l i k e :  "I don't know"; "Because I l i k e i t " ; or,  "How can I t e l l you when I don't know i t myself?".  These are e s s e n t i a l l y  avoidance, responses masking the strong emotions s t i r r e d up by such questions.  Most Indians for many reasons do not want to reveal the negative  feelings provoked by such i n q u i r i e s .  By giving non-informative  answers  they are able to keep up a f r i e n d l y a t t i t u d e towards the non-Indian questioner. In a psychotherapeutic setting, however, when an Indian patient comes for help regarding h i s alcohol-connected disturbances, the s i t u a tion i s d i f f e r e n t .  I f the therapist maintains t o t a l acceptance of, and  empathy with, his Indian patient, the l a t t e r w i l l forget h i s usual concern about making a good impression upon h i s White counterpart and reveal his core complex, i . e . the cluster of socio-eultural ideas charged with strong emotions resulting from the Indian-White c o n f l i c t ; h o s t i l i t y t o wards the Whites who are looked upon as oppressors; anger about perceived discriminations; f r u s t r a t i o n because of i d e n t i t y c o n f l i c t s ; shame over the moral confusion and material poverty of the Indian people; despair over the destructive effects of the "White man's firewater", and g r i e f because 3 of the disappearance  of "Indian ways" and Indian languages.  Inquiry  into the reasons for drinking touches upon the core complex and this at 3.  Core complex,as defined above, i s the author's concept. The term complex was taken from C.G. Jung who introduced i t to designate "groups of feeling-toned ideas i n the unconscious" (Jung 1906). The presence of a complex points to something "unfinished", to weak spots i n the personality. According to Jung, complexes originate i n traumatic experiences, emotional shocks and unresolved c o n f l i c t s i n the individual's remote or recent past, by which a fragment of the psyche i s s p l i t - o f f or incapsulated (Jacobi 1968; p. 38).  45  f i r s t causes a reaction of anger and defeat which then gives way expression of shame and depression.  to the  One old Salish Indian with a l i f e -  long history of alcoholic problems put i t this  way:.  "Well, f i r s t they r e a l l y put the fear of the Lord i n them, the priests that came west. They were r e a l s t r i c t . I t was the D e v i l , the practice of Indian dancing. As punishment i t was H e l l . The Indians believed them and were t e r r i f i e d about H e l l and a l l that. With this kind of s t r a i n there was a s p l i t . Some became enfranchised. That's a big thing. Enfranchisement i s just a name for surrender, a l l hope of l i v i n g as an Indian was gone and the man that surrendered l o s t his pride. Others withdrew on the reserves. No work on the reserves, d r i f t i n g down to town. . Disappointments down there. White man offered drink. Old alcohol says 'You'll be a l r i g h t . You come with me I ' l l f i x you up.' Bitterness against the White man and what he has done to us, hatred and defeat, that's what makes the Indian drink. Even today the White man w i l l come to the r i v e r when we f i s h and offer us 2 or 3 b o t t l e s of whiskey for our salmon. Whiskey makes the poor man f e e l r i c h , the old f e e l young, so we smile and take the whiskey with hate i n our heart, and give him the salmon." As we have demonstrated, Indian use and misuse of alcohol i s closely related to the i n t e r a c t i o n between Indians and Whites.  In order  to solve his alcohol problem, the Indian has to resolve h i s core complex; be i t through a new  e f f o r t to gain, the friendship of non-Indians and to  forget the past, or by rejecting White culture i n a constructive attempt to  find a separate Indian i d e n t i t y .  Alcoholics Anonymous has become a  forum for this struggle.  Alcoholics Anonymous and the Indian-White Relationship Indians with alcohol problems turning to churches, h o s p i t a l s , c l i n i c s and other Western i n s t i t u t i o n s are often disenchanted, not only because of the p a t e r n a l i s t i c attitudes they encounter, but also because  46  the atmosphere i n these i n s t i t u t i o n s i s foreign to them.  The Coast Salish  Indians, with t h e i r c u l t u r a l bias against authority ("I don't want to be pushed around" —  "Nobody has the right to t e l l me what to do"), found  in Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) an attitude which they.could accept better. "The only requirement for A.A. membership i s a desire to stop drinking.... Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do.not govern" (from the Twelve Traditions of A.A.).  One's s o c i o - c u l t u r a l or r a c i a l background i s sup-  posed to be irrelevant i n this organization. In A.A. the Indian meets nonIndians, who l i k e him, have been unhappy, impoverished, lonely, mentally and physically impaired because of the common enemy, alcohol.  Here he  sees a chance to re-establish friendship on a more equal basis.  This  time the relationship takes on a d i f f e r e n t character as alcohol i s only i n d i r e c t l y involved. An ex-alcoholic Indian woman expressed i t this way: "When you go through that door (to the A.A. meeting) you're not an Indian or a White man, you're just a person. 'You're a drunken Indian so we . don't want to have anything with you' the White man says, but i t i s not that way i n A.A. I t takes a long time u n t i l an Indian can r e a l l y trust the White . man but i n A.A. there are times when he can say — 'this i s r e a l l y my f r i e n d ' . We a l l help each other to stay sober. To me alcoholism i s one of the i l l n e s s e s that can bring people together and people to have compassion. There i s something i n A.A. that you get a f t e r being remember the kind of guy you were before, then you f e e l that you want to t e l l the whole damned world about i t , not just your people, not just the neighbour, you want to t e l l everybody and you want to get everybody sober." The intensive pre-occupation with the Indian-White ship manifested i n the Indians' A.A. speeches  relation-  (vide supra, pp. 30-38)  indicates that they are working towards a c o n f l i c t solution.  Indians  even venture to express h o s t i l e feelings towards Whites without experi-  47  encing anxiety, as when an Indian g i r l shouted "You-:: White buggers got me a l l drunk, now you can bloody well sober me up A.A.-wise," and reaped hearty laughter from the non-Indian members. When interviewed regarding their motivation for j o i n i n g A.A., many Indians stress that they l i k e the personal freedom and the f e e l i n g of being their own master there.  They highly appreciate the fact that  anybody can be chosen to chair a meeting, which to them indicates that they count just as much as the non-Indians.  Here are some t y p i c a l com-  ments: "In A.A. there i s no must." "If you become the chairman you can make the meeting l i k e you want i t . " "Anybody can come i n and s i t down." " I f you want to express yourself you are free to give a speech; i f you prefer to keep quiet nobody w i l l bother you." That acceptance by Whites i s an important motive f o r many Indians who j o i n A.A., can be seen from the following "The White people also have (alcoholic) problems. them to understand us better."  answers: A.A. helps  "In a l o t of A.A. places I went to, White people are f r i e n d l y with Indians; not a l l of. them but l o t s , i t works both ways." "When I came to A.A. they told me that I was equal to them and they treated me so good." Why then have numerous Coast Salish Indians chosen to form separate Indian A.A. groups, and why d i d that result i n a sharp increase i n Indian A.A. attendance?  48  For reasons already mentioned, Indians with serious drinking problems come to A.A. meetings f i l l e d with resentment man.  against the White  However, without the d i s i n h i b i t i n g effect of liquor, they remain  timid and quiet i n the meetings.  White alcoholics coming to A.A. are,  as a r u l e , completely unaware of the Indians' feelings,,and do not d i s play any s p e c i a l interest i n the Indians present.  Indian participants  are mostly too i n h i b i t e d to i n i t i a t e contact; they are therefore, e a s i l y overlooked by the. others, which i s readily interpreted by the oversens i t i v e Indians as d i s l i k e or discrimination.  Actually there is_ a certain  amount of discrimination against Indians even i n A.A. i n spite of this organization's stress upon equality "regardless of race and creed", and this can e a s i l y be e l i c i t e d i n interviews with non-Indian A.A. members. There i s the stereotyped b e l i e f by non-Indian members that Indians have a harder time attaining sobriety because they are "more irresponsible"; "weaker" and "less able to f i g h t " than other members. senior A.A. member:  Grumbled a  "In my humble opinion anybody who undertakes to  sober up a bunch of Indians have got an almost impossible job on t h e i r hands."  Typical of prejudice i n general were the angry complaints of a  White woman:  "The Indians hardly ever contribute anything, they don't even  bring coffee or sandwiches to the meetings....well, of course the majority of the White members would not eat their foods anyhow, because they are not as clean as they could be."  Another objection was that Indians bring  t h e i r friends to the meetings only for the purpose of giving them a chance to eat sbime good food:  "They'll eat everything regardless whether any-  body else gets anything or not. had as f a r as I am  concerned."  I t ' s a habit they've got and always have  49  Some non-Indian members display an ambivalent'attitude of t o l erance and resentment to  towards Indian p a r t i c i p a n t s :  "Well, i t ' s a l l r i g h t  have them i n the meeting, but I don't have to l i v e with them."  e r a l Indians b i t t e r l y complained  Sev-  that non-Indians do not greet Indian  A.A. members outside the meetings, but behave as i f they do not know them at  all.  Such behaviour of White A.A. members i s . i n keeping with their  desire to preserve anonymity, for which the Indians have very l i t t l e understanding. Generally speaking, most White A.A. members, i f at a l l aware of  having Indians among them, are tolerant and f r i e n d l y i n c l i n e d , showing  great willingness to help the Indian alcoholics i n their struggle f o r sobriety.  A high proportion of Indians have non-Indian A.A. sponsors.  Many of the d i f f i c u l t i e s encountered between Indians and Whites i n A.A. are due to thoughtlessness on the part of the non-Indians, and to hypers e n s i t i v i t y on the part of the Indians.  Any disparaging remark from a  non-Indian A.A. member, hardly noticed by anybody else,.might s u f f i c e to  shatter the good w i l l and confidence the Indian has b u i l t up. An  impressive example was an elderly Indian woman who confessed with tears in her eyes: "A White guy called us (Indians) 'bloodsuckers' because we always are asking for car rides to the meetings. I t affected me so much, the f e e l i n g I had of hatred, my thinking went right back to the o l d Indian way because the White man has caused us so much trouble, spoiled everything for us.... I have s t i l l got my old ways and my temper and my hang-ups about the o l d days and how we were treated. I don't know whether I ' l l ever get over i t . . . i t took me 8 years to come out of i t in A.A. and i t took just one White man to take me back again just where I started."  50  An Indian man who had joined the general A.A. several years ago and who has many friends among non-Indian members, gave the following  incident as a reason for the formation of a separate Indian A.A.  group: "When A.A. started, i t was very good. But now a l l went wrong. I think i t was an Indian-White s p l i t . One White man said to an Indian woman, 'There are several reasons why y o u ' l l never make i t : you are lazy, you have no. consistency, and you are an Indian.' I t was said as a joke, but he had no right to give her points l i k e that." So far we have quoted some of the reasons usually given f o r the s p l i t i n A.A.  There are other forces at work, which one can observe as  an outsider, but of which few of the A.A. members are aware. In Western society, male alcoholics are far better tolerated than female a l c o h o l i c s .  Women who i n spite of strong s o c i a l sanctions be-  come alcoholics are usually emotionally or mentally disturbed and are, as a r u l e , channelled to other treatment resources at an early date. e r a l A.A. meetings, men therefore, far outnumber women.  In gen-  I t i s rare to  see more than two or three women i n a meeting with twenty or more men. In Coast S a l i s h Indian culture far less stigma i s attached to being drunk, even i n the case of women, and i t i s quite usual that both men and women indulge i n heavy drinking.  Obviously i t i s more disruptive  for a family when the mother drinks and neglects her children, who might be removed by s o c i a l agencies.  Indian women with alcohol problems are  therefore i n general more eager to seek help than are men. As a r e s u l t , when Indians attend general A.A. meetings,.there  i s an i n f l u x of women  51  into a prevalent White male milieu.  Whereas Indian males tend to be  overlooked i n general A.A. meetings, this i s not so with Indian women. The old pattern of White men seducing Indian women with the help of a l cohol i s d i f f i c u l t to break for both partners, even when alcohol i s only talked about instead of being consumed.  One can observe Indian men hav-  ing a hard time to display "brotherly love" for their non-Indian A.A. r i v a l s , and i t i s therefore not surprising that i t i s mainly Indian men who propagate separate Indian A.A.  groups.  Most of them want the meetings  to be held on the reserves, probably i n part to keep their women away from former White drinking buddies.  Indian women more often prefer mixed  groups, or are at least more tolerant towards Whites.  However, some of  them admitted to d i f f i c u l t i e s i n coping with White male members: "Some White guys get ideas i n A.A. They don't understand that i t i s d i f f e r e n t ; that i n A.A. we are supposed to have a clean innocent love for each other." "I love him A.A.-wise, not otherwise." "It's  hard to keep an A.A.  relationship with them."  Since i t i s incompatible with general A.A.  policy to divide  groups along r a c i a l l i n e s , the Indians had to find plausible reasons for the formation of Indian A.A.  groups.  They w i l l , e.g., r a t i o n a l i z e the  move by stating that i t i s more "convenient" and that they get more Indians to attend meetings located on the reserves.  This i s only p a r t l y  true, since the reserves are small and widely scattered, and most Indians have to t r a v e l f a r to attend meetings on other reserves.  More commonly  the blame i s put on the non-Indians by c r i t i c i z i n g the atmosphere i n gene r a l A.A.  meetings:  52  "The White A.A. group i s very proud, they don't want us there." " I t ' s too b i g , a snobbish b i g group of Whites." "White groups are too s o c i a l , i t ' s l i k e a s o c i a l club, too much joking, especially about Indians and about God." "I sat f o r four years i n A.A. f e e l i n g that these White people didn't want me, so I said to myself, I am not going there any more." Then perceived discrimination i s turned into voluntary segregation: "Lots of people, especially Indians, don't want to go up there and talk about themselves and t e l l a l l people what he did and what he did not do. Most Indians are reluctant to express their innermost feelings when there are White people present." "It's not so warm i n the White A.A. i s not so strong as i n our group."  The feeling of belonging  "We had to be r e a l l y careful^with anonymity there. More s t r i c t than i n our group. Indians don't care f o r that, we l i k e to have our children there and l o t s of friends." Summary:  The d i a l e c t i c process of Indian-White interactions i n  the context of drinking. Phase one: acceptance of alcohol  Phase two: abuse of alcohol  Phase three: r e j e c t i o n of alcohol  Alcohol used i n i t i a l l y to f a c i l i t a t e Indian-White i n t e r a c t i o n . Friendship based on common enjoyment of l i q u o r . Alcohol used to a l l e v i a t e the anxiety and f r u s t r a t i o n generated i n IndianWhite i n t e r a c t i o n . Resulting poverty and misery leads to r e j e c t i o n of the "drunken Indian" by Whites. Resentment instead of friendship.  Alcohol again.the context of IndianWhite i n t e r a c t i o n i n A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous Renewal of friendship on the basis of common struggle against l i q u o r .  53  Phase four: abstinence from alcohol  Solving of problems regarding IndianWhite i n t e r a c t i o n a) acceptance of the White man by the Indian: attempt at integration — mixed A.A. groups; b) rejection of the White man by the Indian: emphasis on Indian i d e n t i t y — Indian A.A. groups.  Is the Indian A.A. Developing Into a N a t i v i s t i c Movement? We have seen how turning for help to A.A. has given Indians with alcohol problems an opportunity to probe into their relationship  with  the White man and to gain more knowledge about non-Indians and about a l coholism i n general.  For many Indians-the better understanding of their  own and other A.A. members' problems has made them more tolerant of others and has enabled them to entertain good relationships also with members.  non-Indian  But many Indians have f e l t the c o n f l i c t deepen through the close  contact with Whites i n the general A.A. and have chosen the alternative approach f o r solving t h e i r problems, reacting to their own feelings of being d i s l i k e d and discriminated against, by a voluntary return into i s o l a t i o n ; hence the forming of separate Indian A.A. groups.  According to .  Schwimmer (1970), minority groups have a tendency to withdraw from the majority group i f the l a t t e r i s perceived as unfair or threatening.  This  does not necessarily mean that the minority group remains i n apathy, rather i t i s "an attempt by the withdrawing group to resolve i n t e r n a l contradictions a r i s i n g out of external impact."  Schwimmer's hypothesis  applied to our example suggests that although the Indians avoid direct  54  confrontation with the majority group i n A.A. by forming their own  A.A.,  they are s t i l l dealing with the internal c o n f l i c t s a r i s i n g from the external impact of Western society, i . e . with t h e i r bitterness, i n f e r i o r i t y feelings and resentments, and their hate for the White man. vations tend to confirm t h i s .  Our obser-  Preoccupation with Indian-White  relation-  ships does not i n the least diminish as one could have expected, but i s rather i n t e n s i f i e d i n Indian A.A. meetings.  Open discussion of these  c o n f l i c t s i s f a c i l i t a t e d by the fact that the Indians are among themselves.  Not having to be a f r a i d of offending anybody, they can a i r c r i -  ticism of Whites and compare their own virtues with the others' f a u l t s . This attempt at self-healing leads the Indians to look for something • within themselves, which i s better than they can get from non-Indian A.A.:  they turn to their elders and to their half-forgotten culture for  new resources.  What Schwimmer c a l l s symbolic competition i s now coming  into play: "Certainly, the key to the understanding of ethnic minorit i e s i s the history of oppression and .exploitation they have experienced at the hands of the dominant group... theorists have been i n c l i n e d to under-estimate the richness of the symb o l i c e d i f i c e s that oppressed peoples b u i l d out of the facts of their oppression...the symbolic systems that thus emerge ...are opposition ideologies... the p r i n c i p a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of these ideologies i s that they contain.the i d e a l i s e d image of a culture." (Schwimmer 1970, p. 5) What on the surface might look l i k e the t r a d i t i o n a l system with i t s r i t u a l s and b e l i e f s i s , according to Schwimmer, i n r e a l i t y an opposition ideology.  I t i s aimed:directly at competition with the White  man on economic or p o l i t i c a l grounds, or purely on a symbolic l e v e l which  55  leaves the actual power relationship unchanged, but which gives the oppressed people a b e l i e f i n t h e i r own superiority.  An abstract of  some pamphlets which a group of active Indian A.A. members wrote f o r d i s t r i b u t i o n i n A.A. meetings w i l l i l l u s t r a t e the a p p l i c a b i l i t y of Schwimmer's theory to processes going on i n Coast Salish Indian A.A. groups: "Indian culture i s one of S p i r i t u a l l i v i n g i n harmony with. Nature, a way of l i f e with respect and concern, giving and sharing....We are a mystical people, believing i n equality, l i v i n g for the present with patience and silence (nonaggressiveness to our White brother with no apparent awareness of time). The Indian culture provided consistency i n love and understanding with honesty. Yes, the Indian l i v e d with i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y with a f e e l i n g of worth which gave him pride....The land i s c a l l e d 'Mother Earth', the sun i s c a l l e d the 'Father' and the moon our 'Sister', while the r i vers and ocean are our witnesses. We believe that water, forest, land and a l l creatures belong to a l l , and that they were given as a g i f t from the Great S p i r i t as a way of l i f e to l i v e . . . . " . To these alleged Indian values the same authors see the "White values" as diametrically opposed: "The White man...came looking for r e l i g i o u s freedom, yet converting others to h i s p a r t i c u l a r r e l i g i o n which seems but a segment of h i s l i f e . He came with a s p i r i t of competitiveness and a concern for s e l f , saving, acquiring and impatient for wealth, noisy and aggressive....We see you as greedy, destroying nature, such as land, water and forests and yet attempting to acquire them as your private domain. We see you as people with their eyes i n the future, speeding toward space l i v i n g and so aware of time that you are missing the beauty of the present. In your inconsistency of love and understanding, and by your dishonesty i n not giving the Indian equal opportunity for education or employment without prejudice, you have created mistrust. We have l i v e d i n your world of dominance and paternalism and have reaped a harvest, created and perpetuated by you, of a poor self-image of ourselves." ^ 4.  Quoted by permission of Mrs; Willafred Washington, Lummi T r i b a l Alcoholism Program 1970.  56  The value system of the majority group i s no longer accepted but presented as something bad per se, i n a binary opposition to the values of Indian culture which now are perceived as good per se. C r i t i c i s m of non-Indians and their A.A. Indians and their way  groups i n contrast to  of conducting A.A. meetings i s r e f l e c t e d i n many  answers given to the question of why  separate Indian groups are preferred:  "When the Indian speaks i t i s the truth and very humble. The non-Indians w i l l t e l l you what they think, but they do not t e l l you what they f e e l . S "Our people i n our culture have expressions of love and concern for each other. We love and need each other i n A.A. In the White A.A. they are more concerned about anonymity. They're not very honest." "The White A.A. Indians who  i s cold, they use too big words." frequent general A.A. meetings and make friends  among non-Indian A.A. members, experience considerable stress when mixing with fellow Indians who  are s t i l l drinking. When refusing to give  or take a drink, they are accused of "acting l i k e a White man",of "thinking they are better than we are".  I t i s d i f f i c u l t enough for In- ,  dians to accept the teaching of A.A. which i s based on concepts of White middle class culture, representing the very value system they c r i t i c i z e or reject.  The Indians who want to be successful i n t h e i r fight against  alcohol through A.A. must find ways out of this unpleasant dilemma. way  i s to assure each other that the philosophy of A.A.  Indian culture rather than i n Western c i v i l i z a t i o n . vocate of separate Indian A.A. put i t :  One  originated i n  As one ardent ad-  57  "The fellowship of A.A. was here long before the White man came along, because we had t h i s fellowship. We had t h i s Indian healing and we firmly agree that i t works. I t works as well as A.A." Another Indian stated b l u n t l y "the A.A. way of l i f e i s the Indian way of l i f e " , and i n the pamphlet of the Lummi T r i b a l Alcoholism Program we read: "Alcoholics Anonymous as group therapy provides the needs or basic p r i n c i p l e s of Indian culture....In t h i s type of group therapy he (the Indian) finds himself and begins to grow with a better image of self.and finds a way of l i f e as i t was taught to him i n the Lummi Indian Culture....The basic p r i n c i p l e s of A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous.are those same basic p r i n c i p l e s taught by the Lummi Indian Culture." The desire to find l i n k s between the teaching of A.A.. and o l d Indian culture runs l i k e a red thread through Indian A.A.  The recent'  emphasis on Indianness explains many peculiar features.of Indian A.A. meetings.  Viewing Indian A.A. i n this l i g h t , we r e a l i z e how important,  i t i s to the. Indians to stress differences rather than to adjust t h e i r way of conducting meetings to that of the general A.A.  One of the reasons  for the Indians' objection to anonymity i s their desire to keep the meetings open for anybody to attend, as was the custom when Coast S a l i s h Indians had gatherings i n the past.  Whereas non-alcoholics attending a  general A.A. meeting are usually ignored, they w i l l be treated as honoured guests i n an Indian A.A. meeting, as they would have been at a potlatch i n former days.  Sometimes during the meeting one of the members who knows  the guest, w i l l ask him to stand up for everybody to "witness" h i s presence and w i l l say a few f r i e n d l y words of introduction. The group responds with handclapping  and f r i e n d l y smiles.  The Indian group w i l l see to i t that  58  a l l guests are greeted this way, even i f this takes up considerable time.  ; To encourage members i n t h e i r struggle against alcoholism, i t  i s customary i n A.A. to have a small celebration each time a member has an anniversary of sobriety.  The celebrated member i s praised for h i s ab-  stinence and presented with a cake which i s then eaten during coffee break. In the Indian A.A. an anniversary i s a big event.  A l l relatives,  members and non-members a l i k e w i l l . t r y to show up, bringing with them cakes and other foods.  One of the A.A. members w i l l give a long speech i n h i s  honour and during coffee break the r e l a t i v e s w i l l take great cutting the cake and d i s t r i b u t i n g i t among the guests.  At one occasion an  Indian father distributed cigars to a l l men and cookies to a l l women present, p u b l i c l y announcing the b i r t h of a son (an i n t e r e s t i n g mixture of Western and Indian culture elements). Feasting sometimes continues at a member's home a f t e r the A.A. meeting i s closed.  Indians may refer to such A.A. celebration as "a b i g  do", or a "potlatch". I f the group i s small, an Indian A.A. meeting sometimes takes on the character of a family court, where members with grudges "shame" each other, or defend themselves i n front of the other participants. Said an Indian woman when asked why she had not attended a certain meeting: "I don't l i k e to go to meetings on that reserve, i t ' s always about the N.N. family."  59  The only requirement f o r membership i n A.A. i s a desire t o stop drinking. Instead o f rules, A.A. has t h e so-called "Twelve Steps 5  in the Ladder of Complete Sobriety." The first step i s f o r the alcoholic to admit that he i s powerless over alcohol and that, as a result of this, h i s life has become unmanageable. There a r e eleven more steps which have to be taken before tackling the last, a "spiritual awakening" enabling the alcoholic to live a life o f sobriety. To the Coast Salish Indians this procedure echoes themes of their o l d culture. The steps are rituals which t h e A.A. member h a s t o go through i n order t o change from his miserable drinking self t o a completely new person, ready t o partic i p a t e i n t h e "A.A. way o f l i f e " . T h i s i s t h e t h e m e o f i n i t i a t i o n w h i c h we f i n d i n t h e C o a s t S a l i s h g u a r d i a n s p i r i t c e r e m o n i a l w h e r e s u f f e r i n g and "death" have t o precede the novice's "rebirth" as a completely changed person, now ready t o live a n "Indian way o f life". This myth o f death and rebirth i s mirrored i n mahy Indian A.A. speeches: "I was so f a r down as I think n o t many people have t o go b e fore I joined A.A." " I w a s a t t h e e n d o f my r o p e . " "I was so sick I was nearly dying." "I felt like I was going t o kill myself." These and similar phrases parallel the "death" of the initiate. There a r e vivid accounts o f t h e "ordeals" they have t o go through before f i n d i n g a "new l i f e " i n A.A., s u c h a s i l l n e s s e s , i n c a r c e r a t i o n o r i n s t i t u tionalization. A n elderly Indian who h a d been a heavy drinker b u t joined A.A. many years ago and then became one o f t h e founders o f an Indian A.A. group, remembered h i s salvation i n the framework of this myth. According 5. V i d e A p p e n d i x .  60  to h o s p i t a l r e c o r d s t h i s man was once admitted because of s l i g h t i n j u r i e s when f a l l i n g out of bed i n a drunken state.  He was kept over-  night i n the h o s p i t a l , but released the next day after having up since no major pathology was found. when taken to h o s p i t a l .  sobered  In h i s story he was "deadly i l l "  For four days he could neither eat nor drink  (corresponding to the four days fasting period i n the s p i r i t  ceremonial);  he was staying i n a bed with curtains a l l around (corresponding to the smokehouse cubicle); friends from A.A. came to guard him ("baby s i t t e r s " i n the ceremonial).  At f i r s t he could only s i p milk ( i n i t i a t e s are  "babies") and h i s friends took turns i n feeding him and talking to him about A.A. (teaching of lore during i n i t i a t i o n ) .  When better, he de-  cided to s t a r t a new l i f e i n A.A. The Indians c a l l their anniversary celebrations i n A.A. "birthday p a r t i e s " and sometimes refer to new members as "babies" and to their sponsors, i f these are Indians, as "baby sitters".  "I was only 6 months old when we started a group on the r e -  serve", said an Indian g i r l , indicating that she had been abstinent through A.A. f o r the l a s t half year.  ^  The second of the twelve steps of A.A. states "We came to bel i e v e that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." When non-Indians are asked what this "Power greater than ourselves" means, they usually reply that i t i s just a non-denominational expression for  God, or they refer to this Power as the group s p i r i t which develops  within A.A. (secularization).  Indian answers to this question, as well  as passages i n their speeches, provide further clues as to how f a r the integration of Coast S a l i s h culture elements and Indian A.A. concepts has progressed.  61  In Coast Salish culture each person had to acquire h i s own s p i r i t power.  I t was  with great secrecy. program as "my  conceived as an i n d i v i d u a l power and  Indians often refer to the higher Power i n the A.A.  higher Power".  Whereas the A.A. program speaks about  "God as we understand him", Indians usually say, "My understand him".  surrounded  higher Power as I  I t i s perceived as a personal power similar to the  s p i r i t power of the Winter ceremonials i n their own  culture:  "I take my higher Power wherever I go, I don't have to go to A.A. for that. I take him and talk to him when I work." "I c a l l i t my higher Power because you see i t the way i t comes to you. It's your own Power, you don't have to share i t with somebody else." To many Indians who nominally belong to the Catholic Church, the "Power greater than ourselves" i n A.A. has become a syncretization of the Christian God and the Indian s p i r i t power: "I f e e l that the s p r i t u a l way i n A.A. i s a good way, because s p i r i t u a l l i f e i s the Power within ourselves. He t e l l s you what to do, your great Power. That's what the Indians bel i e v e d . Sya'wan6 i s the great S p i r i t . Now when we learn i n English i t i s God. So I take i t either way, God or my Higher Power, I don't know the difference." In recent years some Indians with alcohol problems have not only joined A.A.,  but are also taking active part i n the revived Coast  S a l i s h Winter dance ceremonials. concepts i s complete. been active i n A.A.  Among them, the fusion of the Power  A newly i n i t i a t e d S p i r i t dancer who  already had  f o r years, explained:  "I have my s p i r i t because I have found my s p i r i t through the fellowship of A.A., the s p i r i t as I know him. I had my s p i r i t already when I went i n there (winter dance i n i t i a t i o n ) , I a l ready had i t i n A.A." 6.  Sya'wan (Halkomelem d i a l e c t , Coast Salish area): Power conferred by the guardian s p i r i t ; s i g n i f i e d by, and expressed i n , the songs and dances of Coast Salish Indian winter s p i r i t dance ceremonial.  62  When this man was asked who wered:  "My  sponsor i s sya'wan.  sponsored him i n A.A.,  he ans-  My higher Power gave me my song ( f o r  the s p i r i t dance), he i s my sponsor throughout the year" ( i n contrast to the t r a d i t i o n a l sy 'w^n power i s only active during winter sea9  son) . In  the words of an Indian A.A.  sponsor who  also sponsors s p i -  r i t dance i n i t i a t e s : "There i s a fellowship i n dancing i n the same way as i n A.A.; i t ' s the same thing. In the dancing they teach you to be compatible with everybody. The Power you get i n the dancing i s the same higher Power as you have i n A.A." The s p i r i t dances can be viewed as a treatment, for alcohol abuse complementary to A.A.:  "A.A.  i s a round the year treatment.  Sy 'w n i s from November to March only", or as a woman dancer jokingly a  a  remarked: "In a sense we have an insurance policy, we have taken out two insurances; the more insurance I havefcthe better I ' l l be and the longer I ' l l maintain sobriety. I don't only bel i e v e i n my sya'wan, I always have the fellowship and my higher Power i n A.A.". An old Indian, who  i n his younger days had a severe alcohol  problem, but has been abstinent for many years and i s a leading figure both i n the Indian A.A.  and at Indian ceremonials, expressed t h i s opin-  ion: "The s p i r i t dancers don't use A.A. as a resource, they can be members of A.A. and of winter dancing at the same time, because both A.A. and s p i r i t dancing i s a basic s p i r i t u a l way of l i f e . Their philosophies are the same, but they do i t d i f f e r e n t l y . The philosophy of A.A. i s the old Indian way only to a c e r t a i n extent. Indian dancing is' our heritage."  63  Linton (1943) defines a n a t i v i s t i c movement as "any conscious organized attempt on the part of a society's members to revive or perpetuate selected aspects of t h e i r culture".  The Coast S a l i s h Indians  who have started separate Indian A.A. groups are too few i n number to be c a l l e d a n a t i v i s t i c movement. The fusion of the Indian concept of s p i r i t power with the concept of a Higher Power i n A.A. as demonstrated above, i s one of the' indicators that Indian A.A. may develop into a n a t i v i s t i c movement. According to Aberle (1966) ,A.A. would be c l a s s i f i e d as a redemptive movement whose symbolism i s s y n c r e t i s t i c with some n a t i v i s t i c overtones. I t aims at a t o t a l change i n i n d i v i d u a l s .  In t h i s category are many  sectarian movements, aiming at a state of grace.  The A.A. members ex-  press this ideal change by r e f e r r i n g to "being reborn" and " s t a r t i n g a new l i f e " .  The Coast S a l i s h concept of sya'wan, i s a culture element  d i s t i n c t l y Indian, and not shared, or even understood, by the non-Indian members.  According to Linton such an occurrence i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of  n a t i v i s t i c movements: "Certain current or remembered elements of culture are selected f o r emphasis and given symbolic value. The more d i s t i n c tive such elements are with respect to other cultures with which the society i s i n contact, the greater t h e i r potential value as symbols of the society's unique character." (Linton 1943, p. 231) .. Reviewing  our material, we find the following elements of  "nativism" i n Indian A.A.: 1)  the emphasis on death and r e b i r t h i n the individual history of A.A. members; patterned a f t e r the t r a d i t i o n a l concepts of i n i t i a t i o n into the winter dance ceremonial;  64  2)  the emphasis on entering a "new l i f e " i n A.A. i n contrast to the l i f e outside A.A.;  3)  the reference to the new members as "babies", to their  sponsors  as "baby s i t t e r s " and t h e i r anniversaries as "birthdays", as customary i n the Coast S a l i s h winter dance ceremonials; 4)  the potlatch-type of feasting i n Indian A.A. groups;  5)  the fusion of the universal C h r i s t i a n God and the personal Coast S a l i s h s p i r i t power to "my Higher'Power" i n A.A. According to Linton (1943) the phenomena to which the term  n a t i v i s t i c i s applied, have i n common the factors of selection of c u l ture elements and deliberate, conscious e f f o r t s to perpetuate  such ele-  ments, i . e . r e v i v a l i s t i c nativism; the forming of separate Indian A.A. groups i s an attempt to compensate by psychological means for f r u s t r a t i n g experiences and perceived discrimination i n the general A.A.  Certain  elements of t r a d i t i o n a l Coast S a l i s h culture are revived and become symbols of a Golden Age when Indian society in.retrospect appears to have been happy and free.  The memory of a great past helps to re-establish  and maintain the self-respect of the group members even though they have to accept c e r t a i n aspects of Western culture which are obviously superior to aboriginal equivalents. of  This i s precisely .what the leader  the above mentioned Lummi group expresses:  "The White members t r a i n  us i n A.A. and give us knowledge, then we adapt i t to our own culture."  65  The Future of A.A.  Among the Coast S a l i s h Indians .  From the very f i r s t contact with alcohol, Indians have sensed i t s danger, but t h e i r pleading with the Whites not to s e l l them liquor mostly went unheeded. own  We  therefore know very l i t t l e about the Indian's  e f f o r t s i n the fight against alcohol, e s p e c i a l l y during the period  of early White-Indian contact.  A passage from Thwaites (1896) "The  J e s u i t Relations", i s of i n t e r e s t , as i t r e f l e c t s feelings regarding alcohol similar to those expressed today by Coast S a l i s h Indians (vide, p. 43): "...and say to them (the English), that a l l the a l l i e d Savages dwelling on the r i v e r Kenebek hate fire-water or brandy.i.and that i f they have any more of i t brought hither to s e l l to the Savages, the l a t t e r w i l l believe that the English wish to exterminate them." ( C i t . Dailey 1968, p. 53) The  famous pledge by Chief L i t t l e T u r t l e , asking the  States president  United  to guard the Indians against the " f a t a l poison",  alco-  h o l , promoted the introduction of l e g i s l a t i o n to control l i q u o r t r a f f i c with the Indians, which became e f f e c t i v e i n America i n the early century.  19th  Some Indian t r i b e s formed councils to decide on penalties,  for drunkenness, sometimes forcing the drunkards to leave t h e i r v i l l a g e s and l i v e i n the woods (Dailey 1968), and Shore (1970) informs us that a number of Coast S a l i s h Indian reservations i n Washington state maintain l o c a l p r o h i b i t i o n laws of t h e i r own,  still  either forbidding sale of  l i q u o r or imposing control on i t s d i s t r i b u t i o n . The ways i n which non-Indian i n s t i t u t i o n s , such as r e l i g i o u s groups and law-enforcement agencies have influenced Indian drinking, w i l l  66  be dealt with&in the l a s t part of t h i s paper. Religious sects, growing out of Indian culture and the Indians' own actions against alcohol abuse have been, and. s t i l l are, more e f f e c tive than e f f o r t s by Western agencies. Four North American Indian r e l i g i o u s movements are here presented as examples of active Indian concern with alcohol and other vices: The Peyote Religion; the New  Religion or the Longhouse People; the Ghost  Dance or Dreamer Religion, and the Indian Shaker Church. The Peyote cult d i f f e r s from the three other movements insofar as i t uses a hallucinogenic drug to induce an altered state of consciousness during the ceremony, whereas i n the other cults possession states are attained without such device. The mescaline-containing cactus peyote was drugs of pre-Columbian Mexico.  one of the magic  I t was elevated to the rank of a deity  and surrounded with r e l i g i o u s and shamanistic.ritual much of which i s s t i l l preserved i n the ceremonial of the Mexican Huichol Indians (Benzi 1969).  From Mexico peyotism spread to many Indian t r i b e s i n North America,  f i n a l l y encompassing an area which extends from Canada's p r a i r i e provinces to the Southwestern states, and from the Midwest to the Rockies. Today the peyotist movement i s organized i n the Native American Church of North America.  Aberle (1966) has with a comprehensive  analysis of the peyote r e l i g i o n as i t i s practiced among Navaho Indians. In the context of h i s c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of s o c i a l movements, Aberle defines peyotism as a redemptive movement with s y n c r e t i s t i c C h r i s t i a n , n a t i v i s t i c , and n a t i o n a l i s t i c pan-Indian  aspects:  67  "Peyotism, then, i s a redemptive movement, a r e l i g i o n of Indians involved i n , but not f u l l participants i n the White world. I t provides a v a l i d a t i o n of their p a r t i a l separation and i d e n t i t y , an ethic adaptive to t h e i r s o c i a l position, and a set of compensations f o r their most pressing deprivations." (Aberle 1966, p. 337) Members of t h i s church believe that peyote was given by God to the American Indians i n order that they might communicate more d i r e c t l y with Him.  Ritual and l i t u r g y i s the product of a s y n c r e t i s t i c amalga-  mation of Christian forms with the ceremonial symbolism and practices of many Indian t r i b e s .  The songs e n t a i l C h r i s t i a n ideas expressed i n  Indian languages and t r a d i t i o n a l Indian melodies.  Bergman (1971), who  i s the f i r s t p s y c h i a t r i s t to write on peyotism, reports that few of the 200 peyotists he interviewed experienced.true hallucinations during the peyote service; pleasant v i s i o n s occur at times.  High e t h i c a l standards  are emphasized and s t r i c t abstinence from alcohol i s required. Many observers agree that peyotism i s very helpful to Indians with drinking problems.  Menninger c a l l e d peyotism "a better antidote to alcohol than  anything the missionaries, the white man, the American Medical Association, and the Public Health Service have come up with" (Bergman 1971). However, i t i s not the hallucinogenic cactus i t s e l f which i s the a n t i dote, i t i s rather the p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the psychotherapeutic r i t u a l of the peyote c u l t .  Comparable r e s u l t s have been achieved without the use  of psychotropic agents i n other r e l i g i o u s movements with a strong sense of belonging and group s o l i d a r i t y . , Examples are provided by the New Religion, the Ghost Dance, and the Indian "Shaker Church.  68  The s p i r i t u a l leaders of these movements had to f u l f i l l the myth of "death and r e b i r t h " i n order tofebe accepted as teachers by the Indians.  Handsome Lake of the New  Religion and John Slocum of the In-  dian Shakers were sick and "died",whereas fight.  Smohalla was " k i l l e d " i n a  They a l l returned from, heaven or from the s p i r i t world a f t e r  having received t h e i r revelation.  They returned to t h e i r people; were  "reborn" to teach their followers what they had heard and seen i n the other world.  Handsome Lake and John Slocum had both been heavy drinkers  before they "died", and both s t r i c t l y forbade t h e i r followers to indulge i n alcohol and other vices, stressing complete abstinence — A.A.  today.  just like  John Slocum taught that those who had received the Shaker  s p i r i t would die i f they as much as tested one drop of alcohol.  They  would then be refused entrance into heaven as was John Slocum himself, before he was allowed to return to earth to warn h i s people and teach them a new and better l i f e (Barnett 1957, Mooney 1896).  Handsome Lake  in his gruesome revelation depicted how the drunkards had to drink molten metal which made them scream i n pain, vapor steaming from their throats. This was the eternal punishment awaiting those who persisted i n drinking  "firewater" a f t e r having received the prophet's warning (Morgan 1851;  Wallace 1952; 1959).  Handsome Lake's movement became established as a  church sometime between 1800 and 1850.  This r e l i g i o u s doctrine,  called Gaiwiio, has changed somewhat over the years, combining of  now  elements  Iroquois culture with Handsome Lake's o r i g i n a l version; i t i s s t i l l  practiced by thousands of Iroquois Indians.  The two other movements men-  69  tioned above originated among Indians of the West.  They never became  as i n f l u e n t i a l among the Western Indians as did the Gaiwiio r e l i g i o n i n the East.  Slocum's r e l i g i o n was established as the Indian Shaker Church  i n 1910. The Ghost Dance followers never reached the status of a church, but according to Mooney (1896) they strongly influenced the Shaker Church, e s p e c i a l l y i t s healing practices. , The Indian Shaker Church reached the peak of i t s influence i n the 1920's, acquiring members among Indians of Northern C a l i f o r n i a , Oregon and the Coast Salish Indians of Washington and B r i t i s h Columbia (Collins 1950).  How e f f e c t i v e the Shakers have  been i n their control of alcohol abuse has been reported from the very beginning:  "They practice the s t r i c t e s t morality, sobriety and honesty.  Their 500 or 600 members are models, and i t i s beyond question that they do not drink whiskey, gamble or race, and are more free from vice than any other church"  (Mooney 1896).  Like the peyote c u l t , the ceremonials of the three Indian r e l i g i o u s movements mentioned above also contain elements of C h r i s t i a n i t y combined with t r a d i t i o n a l Indian r i t u a l s .  Possession states are sought;  the experience of in-group feelings and s o l i d a r i t y i s of great to the p a r t i c i p a n t s . Indians.  importance  Peyotism has not yet reached the Coast Salish  The Indian Shaker Church,has been quite active u n t i l a few  decades ago, and there have been small congregations of Shakers i n the Chilliwack and Agassiz area.  The Shaker Church i s on i t s decline,  however, and many of the older Indians with alcohol problems who formerly attained sobriety i n the Shaker Church, have now switched their allegiance  70  to the A.A. organization.  They found much the same philosophy towards  liquor there as they knew i t from the Shakers; although the sanctions against " f a l l i n g o f f the wagon" are less severe i n A.A. Among young Indian people, attendance at A.A. aappears to be preferred; but there are  s t i l l Indians who frequent both Shaker Church services and A.A.  meetings. The following schema attempts to represent the d i f f e r e n t i n fluences a f f e c t i n g Coast S a l i s h Indian A.A. Aboriginal Influences  Western Influences _ Roman Catholic Church // s / M i l i t a r y Pageantry  Prophet Dance of the Plateau V- — ~~  *  y  —_ /•"  —Mormon  /  Church  Ghost Dance or Dreamer ^ ^ ^ _ _ ^ J . •— Kr ~~ ~~ / ^Methodist Church Religion of Smohalla / ^ / ^ P r e s b y t e r i a n Church ^ Indian Shaker Church ^  /^^^-^  ^  ..  __ __ Pentecostal Church 7 ~ "~ — E n g l i s h Shaker Church  \  T r a d i t i o n a l Coast S a l i s h Culture  Oxford Group (Evangelistic)  ^  A.A. Indian A.AK  To many Indians, A.A. has become a substitute f o r the established Churches.  In aboriginal r e l i g i o n . i t was the guardian s p i r i t ("my  power") which helped a person i n d i f f i c u l t l i f e situations.  spirit  In the  Shaker Church i t was the shak'ing ("my shake") which gave a person the power to heal and to l i v e a wholesome l i f e , and i n A.A. i t i s the  7.  Cf. Barnett (1957), pp. 333-336.  71  "Power greater than ourselves" ("my coholic Indian to sobriety.  Higher Power") which guides the a l -  How Indians compare A.A.  to a Church, and  the a c t i v i t y during an A.A. meeting to a r e l i g i o u s service, can e a s i l y be demonstrated. 8 prayer !*) 1  For instance, when saying.the so-called "serenity  (which Indians often c a l l "sobriety prayer") at the end of the  meeting, they w i l l stand up, t h e i r heads bent, eyes closed and hands folded as i n church.  They also end this prayer with a loud "Amen",  although this i s not the custom i n non-Indian  A.A.  In many speeches Indians express t h e i r r e l i g i o u s attitude towards A.A.: "It's l i k e r e l i g i o n . You confess l i k e to the p r i e s t , only i t ' s better because there i s no p r i e s t t e l l i n g you what to do." "It was through words from the Bible that I came to A.A. We have our own Bible i n A.A., the Big Book, and the twelve steps are. our commandments.". "You have your own b e l i e f and I have mine. This A.A. way of l i f e f o r me i s my Church. A l l I want i s my A.A. because i t means my l i f e andsmy sobriety.". From the turn of the century u n t i l the 1930's, the Shaker Church, more than other Churches, represented a b a r r i e r against alcohol abuse among the Coast S a l i s h Indians.  Currently the influence of  Churches has diminished and for Indians with alcohol problems the  A.A.  organization seems to have taken over many of their functions. When trying to predict the future of Indian A.A.  i t might be  useful to explore the reasons for the decline of the Indian Shaker 8.  So-called serenity prayer i n A.A.: "God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference."  72  Church.  At f i r s t the Shakers were an amorphous group without formal  leadership.  Shakerism was a form of personal salvation, anybody could  come and go to ceremonies and whoever impressed through personal q u a l i t i e s was looked upon as a leader.  Persecution and b i t t e r personal  experiences taught the followers that no Indian r e l i g i o u s movement could survive without the approval of the White majority.  In 1910 the Shakers,  therefore, asked to be given the status of a Church "under the Laws of the.State", and consequently needed the support of a White lawyer. One of the main weaknesses of the now legal Indian Shaker Church, was that i t s h i e r a r c h i c a l s t r u c t u r e — bishops,, ministers, elders and missionaries —  "has been superimposed upon a native r e l i g i o u s movement  by a White man whose model was a generic Protestant Church" (Barnett 1957, p. 124). The Coast S a l i s h Indians had other than l e g a l i s t i c  cri-  t e r i a f o r leadership, and the Shaker congregations found i t impossible to accept a bishop or minister as a leader, just because he had been nominally elected.  The consequence was that several congregations had  d i f f e r e n t bishops.  B i t t e r quarrels evolved among them about the doctrines  of the Church.  Rather than facing controversial issues by a demand f o r  unity, the alternative of avoiding f r i c t i o n by d i v i d i n g the group was preferred, as this was custom i n Coast Salish culture.  In the 1930"s  came a f i n a l s p l i t into two factions; those who wanted to emulate Christ i a n Churches (long ceremonies with Bible reading "White" hymns, piano music and English language) and those who wanted to keep the Indian t r a d i t i o n (short services with more shaking and dancing, use of indigenous  73  languages and strong emphasis on healing p r a c t i c e s ) .  The former group  has f r i e n d l y r e l a t i o n s with the Pentecostal Church and other-Western evangelical sects.  They i n v i t e White members of these sects to their  church and often attend White services.  This branch of the Shakers w i l l  soon disappear as a s p e c i f i c Indian Church ( C o l l i n s 1950). branch subscribes to anti-White attitudes.  The other  There i s a pronounced  feel-  ing among these Shakers that t h e i r r e l i g i o n belongs to the Indians; i t i s regarded as a special dispensation by God. f o r the benefit of the Indians.  But currently even t h i s brand of Shakerism i s losing adherents.  Indians who want to stress their Indianness are apt to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the revived s p i r i t dance ceremonials which hold more prestige among the Indians of today than the Shaker Church.  Some Shakers with alcohol  problems-have joined Indian A.A. groups.  The o r i g i n a l Indian Shaker  Church as well as the s p i r i t dance ceremonials are rooted i n t r a d i t i o n a l Indian culture and are conceived as s p e c i f i c a l l y Indian; Whites are d i s couraged from p a r t i c i p a t i o n .  Involvement i n these ceremonials i s f o r  the Indian therefore- a way of solving the White-Indian c o n f l i c t by segregation. A.A. i s an organization which stresses, integration, and as we have demonstrated, i t increases i n t e r a c t i o n between Indians and Whites. Even i n Indian A.A., White members are welcome to p a r t i c i p a t e , i . e . Indians involved i n A.A. are s t r i v i n g to solve the White-Indian .conflict by i n t e r a c t i o n rather than i s o l a t i o n .  Indians might f e e l uncomfortably  aware of their minority status when attending non-Indian A.A. meetings.  74  In the Indian A.A., however, they f e e l at home.  There the s i t u a t i o n i s  reversed; they are i n the majority and the Whites form the minority. Here i s a c o n s t e l l a t i o n resembling the s i t u a t i o n when the Indian culture was i n i t s zenith, when the Indians as proud hosts i n v i t e d the White men as t h e i r guests.  In Indian A.A. they can again o f f e r the White  man a helping hand and meet with him on an even footing.  The behaviour  of the non-Indian guests strengthens the Indian!s f e e l i n g of equality or even superiority, as most Whites frequenting Indian A.A. meetings do so for a positive reason.  They confirm the Indian view that there i s  more "warmth", "honesty" and "friendship" i n the Indian A.A. group. A t y p i c a l example of t h i s attitude was a young seemingly depressed White a l c o h o l i c , addressing an Indian A.A. meeting on a reserve: "I used to go to our own A.A. meetings for years. I would l i s t e n to the speeches and despise the speakers. I.would c r i t i c i z e everyone of them from my seat. I f e l t lonely even i n A i A . and I could not stop drinking. When I came to your groupit was d i f f e r e n t . I f e e l accepted here.. I f e e l I have friends. Your talks r e a l l y sink i n . I f e e l that say i s honest. Through you people I have gained sobriety. You have taught me to be honest within myself. I s t i l l have to f i g h t , but your friendship has kept me from k i l l i n g myself many times....I thank every© one of you f o r my sobriety." White alcoholics f e e l i n f e r i o r to other persons i n their own society.  As t e e t o t a l l e r s they are often either r i d i c u l e d or accused of  " s p o i l i n g the fun" for the others; as drunkards they are shunned and despised by their fellow men.  Thus they are more ready to accept people  of a d i f f e r e n t culture; many White alcoholics i n contact with Indian A.A. groups, might recognize a c e r t a i n superiority i n the "Indianness" of their new friends.  The Indians on the other hand, have gained s e l f -  75  respect and a f e e l i n g of pride i n their A.A. group.  They w i l l f e e l  superior to some wretched White a l c o h o l i c s , and find the values of t h e i r own culture superior when comparing i t with c e r t a i n features of White c i v i l i z a t i o n . As long as the Indian-White c o n f l i c t i s strongly f e l t by the Indians, they w i l l continue to form separate Indian A.A. groups.  In  them they strengthen their self-image through resources within their aboriginal culture.  With a regained self-respect they can face the  non-Indian A.A. members who come to the Indian groups.  Because of the  p o s i t i v e views these Whites hold of the Indians, true friendships develop.  The Indian alcoholic has the chance to solve h i s core-complex,  i . e . the White-Indian  conflict.  Now he can proceed to p a r t i c i p a t e i n  mixed A.A. groups and from there he may reach the basis of a more r e warding l i f e i n modern society.  Those Coast Salish Indians who s t i l l  prefer to preserve their c u l t u r a l heritage have the option to take part 1  i n s p i r i t dance ceremonials, Indian competitive sports, a r t s , and other Indian a c t i v i t i e s which require abstinence, from alcohol.  Indian A.A.  groups w i l l most l i k e l y continue to exist as an intermediate stage f o r Indian alcoholics on their way to sobriety.  When an Indian A.A. group  dissolves, i t s members can again j o i n the non-Indian A.A., u n t i l a new Indian group i s formed.  The general A.A. organization as such i s f a i r l y  stable and w i l l most l i k e l y continue to exist as long as the alcohol problem has not found better solutions i n Western society.  Coast Salish  Indians w i l l most probably continue to seek help f o r their alcohol problems  76  inA.A., as this organization i s r e l a t i v e l y inoffensive to them. I t appeals to Indians because p a r t i c i p a t i o n i s completely voluntary.  There  i s no nominated leader i n A.A. and therefore no competition f o r p o s i t i o n s . A.A. provides an outlet f o r i n d i v i d u a l emotions and gives each member the p o s s i b i l i t y to interpret the "Higher Power" according to his personal inclination.  I t can be viewed as a form of non-organized  Shakerism before 1910.  religion like  The following schema was derived,by analysis of  the development of the Shaker Church and of A.A., and may provide us with clues to the future of Indian A.A.:  "Modern" branch;conflict solved through a s s i m i l a t i o n Protestant sects and Churches  Indian-White conflict Indian Shaker Church  Alcohol problems  "Conservative" branch; c o n f l i c t solved through segregation v  Indian A .A.- "  Rehabilitation through: eneral A.A. Organization "C _  — —Mixed A . A . — ^ c o n f l i c t solved through integration Integration i s understood  as adaptation to modern society  without givingup s p e c i f i c Indian culture t r a i t s .  Through resolving" •  the Indian-White c o n f l i c t , Indians can hope to solve t h e i r alcohol problems by taking a s e l f - a s s e r t i n g stand i n modern society and f e e l free to f l u c tuate between s p e c i f i c Indian c u l t u r a l . a c t i v i t i e s and Western forms of social participation.  Whether Indian A.A. groups w i l l f i n a l l y reunite  77  with the general A.A. to form mixed A.A. groups, or withdraw into ethnic segregation, depends mainly upon non-Indian attitudes and upon the development of Indian-White relationship i n general.  78  CHAPTER IV METHODS OF COMBATING INDIAN ALCOHOL ABUSE  Western Methods of A s s i s t i n g Indians With Alcohol Problems White American society has not yet succeeded i n c o n t r o l l i n g alcohol abuse, either i n i t s own members or i n the Indians.  The d i -  lemma i s partly due to c o n f l i c t s between , co-existing value systems within the society i t s e l f .  At one extreme are ascetic protestant .  groups banning any use of alcohol as s i n f u l ,  and at the other extreme  are  people who become alienated from their r e l i g i o u s group and who then  act  out their f r u s t r a t i o n through excessive drinking.  to them becomes the symbol of revolt and of freedom.  Alcohol abuse Most Americans  who are i n between these two extremes, have an ambivalent,cultural a t t i tude towards the use of alcohol (Pittman 1967).  Pittman maintains  that only cultures with a completely negative attitude towards alcoh o l i c beverages and with s t r i c t p r o h i b i t i v e laws against any type of alcohol intake f o r their own people, can e f f e c t i v e l y impose liquor proh i b i t i o n laws upon a minority group within the larger society.  Wes-  tern laws forbidding Indians to purchase or drink a l c o h o l i c beverages, and imposing fines and prison terms upon drunken behaviour i n Indians have never been very successful and have been viewed by the Indians as manipulative measures to subdue them.  Moral indignation towards "the  drunken Indian" i s interpreted as discrimination since the same drunken behaviour among non-Indians does not produce the same disapproval.  79  Western law enforcement against alcohol abuse by Indians has only i n creased Indian h o s t i l i t y towards the Whites.  Indian drinking and  drun-  ken behaviour often becomes a symbol of defiance towards White authority. Hawthorn et a l . (1960) i n their study of the B r i t i s h Columbia Indians, observed that a high proportion of law v i o l a t i o n s f o r which Indians were apprehended, such as aggressive behaviour, burglary, robbery and theft, were d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y alcohol-connected. prison bears no stigma among many Indian groups.  Being sent to  On the contrary,  Indians returning from prison are often looked upon with a certain admiration f o r having dared to annoy and oppose White authority.  Indians  j a i l e d for alcohol offences do not view themselves as criminals and deeply resent being imprisoned together with non-Indian having to obey orders from rude White prison guards.  criminals and  The  experiences  they gain during confinement only increase the pre-existing h o s t i l i t y towards White authority and reinforce the Indian drinking pattern.  Law  enforcement agencies f a i l i n preventing Indian alcoholism and i n rehabi l i t a t i n g a s i g n i f i c a n t number of Indians already addicted to alcohol. More success i n r e h a b i l i t a t i n g Indian alcoholics and i n preventing a l coholism must be credited to the various C h r i s t i a n Churches working among the Coast Salish Indians.  Among Protestant groups the Methodist  Church has played a major role i n the fight against alcohol abuse. Best known i s Thomas Crosby, an ardent a n t i - a l c o h o l i c Methodist minister who  gained great influence and numerous followers among Indians around  Nanaimo and i n the Fraser Valley i n the early 1860's.  In recent years  80  the Pentecostal Church has increased i t s a c t i v i t y among the Indians, and their s t r i c t sanctions against any form of alcohol use have made converts among Indian a l c o h o l i c s .  The Salvation Army, with larger con-  gregations among the northern Indian tribes of B r i t i s h Columbia, has a more i n d i r e c t function among the Coast Salish Indians, helping impoverished Indian alcoholics find food and shelter i n the bigger c i t i e s , and o f f e r i n g r e h a b i l i t a t i o n centers to those who wish to f i n d sobriety through Christian b e l i e f s . Conversions  of Indian excessive drinkers to evangelistic  Churches have an unfortunate tendency to follow the same pattern; at f i r s t the converts are deeply involved i n the church practices and gladly reject the use of alcohol.  But with time the new enthusiasm decreases.  Disappointments, either with r e l i g i o u s practices or because of some r e a l or imagined s o c i a l s l i g h t or r e j e c t i o n by non-Indians, d i s i l l u s i o n the Indians.  They retreat from the Church and sooner or l a t e r return to t h e i r  former drinking habits, probably even more resentful and b i t t e r than before. One of the most interesting forms of p r o s e l y t i z a t i o n among the Coast Salish Indians was the so-called "Indian State", created by the Oblate Fathers under the leadership of Bishop Durieu among the Sechelt Indians and adjacent Indian communities during the period from 1868  to 1910. Bishop Durieu was convinced that i n order f o r an imposed  s o c i a l control system to work, i t was necessary to incorporate a b o r i ginal culture t r a i t s and to teach natives to control their own people.  81  By ascribing important new roles to members from high ranking f a m i l i e s , Durieu allowed pre-existing status differences to continue.  Chiefs and  sub-chiefs with Indian "watchmen" reported on the people's behaviour to the p r i e s t s .  Old Coast Salish taboos and r i t u a l s were respected insofar  as they did not d i r e c t l y compete with Catholic dogma and church practices. Those Indian r i t u a l s which offended Catholic b e l i e f s were substituted by c o l o r f u l Church f e s t i v i t i e s . was a great success.  For decades Bishop Durieu's Indian state  The congregations were described by independent ob-  servers as consisting of honest, i n d u s t r i a l people of high morale, free of alcoholism or other vices (Lemert 1955; Duff 1964). But the Oblate Fathers misjudged  the i n t e n s i t y of the Coast  Salish Indians' aversion to imposed authority and the d i f f e r e n t the Indians had of s i n and crime.  concepts  As the l o c a l Chief and h i s helpers  could not well suppress behaviour which neither they nor the people r e garded as wrong, the punishment f o r infractions tended to pass d i r e c t l y into the hands of the Oblate p r i e s t s .  The strangers therefore became  the executive authority, i n spite of the t h e o r e t i c a l l y autonomous system. The p r i e s t s constantly decreed musts, which the Indians resented, such as:  You must give up Indian dancing; you must shun the shamans; you must  stay away from potlatches; you must give up alcoholic beverages and gambling. Latent h o s t i l i t y plagued Bishop Durieu's Indian state, and punishments became increasingly unpopular and i n the eyes of the Indians, out of proportion, especially f o r drunkenness, non-attendance of Church services, and.adultery (Lemert 1955).  By 1910 the system f e l l apart, as the Indians  had become acquainted with English-speaking Whites who at best laughed at  82  the Catholic p r i e s t s and taught the Indians the rough but freer manners of loggers and fishermen.  At the same time the French-speaking  Oblate  Fathers withdrew from the region, and the younger English-speaking p r i e s t s were less ascetic. ings.  The Indians quickly l o s t respect f o r Catholic teach-  Their allegiance turned into disappointment  against the clergy.  and b i t t e r accusations  The young Indians who saw their parents' f r u s t r a t i o n ,  rebelled against them and the p r i e s t s .  Pointedly refusing to obey Church  regulations, they started to drink alcohol and break the moral code of the Catholic Church. The majority of Coast S a l i s h Indians are s t i l l nominally Catho l i c , but few attend mass regularly or go to confession.  The Catholic  r e s i d e n t i a l schools face grave d i s c i p l i n a r y problems and can exert only l i t t l e control.over alcohol abuse among the young.  The Catholic Church 1 '  at present has few means to help Indians with alcohol problems.  Chari-  table organizations help impoverished Indians, and the "Legion of Mary" succeeds from time to time i n forming* groups of. abstinent, members, mostly women, who are sent out to work on the reserves.. These courageous ladies make a pledge to v i s i t Indian families, preaching against alcohol abuse and i n v i t i n g them to attend mass; but disenchanted by.their unpopularity among the Indians.they soon give up. Some Indians with alcohol problems w i l l go to the p r i e s t , confess and "take the pledge", i . e . sign a paper promising God and the p r i e s t to stay sober for a certain length of time. Catholic p r i e s t s are often seen at Indian A.A. meetings and they lend 1.  According to personal communications by Catholic p r i e s t s .  83  Church-owned l o c a l i t i e s to the Indians for their A.A.  gatherings.  Through  these and other s i m i l a r a c t i v i t i e s , Catholic p r i e s t s are again gaining i n popularity, not as authority figures imposing rules on the Indians, but through f r i e n d l y assistance i n times of trouble and sorrow. As chronic alcohol abuse sooner, or l a t e r leads to accidental i n j u r i e s , i n t e r n a l diseases, and p s y c h i a t r i c disorders, the a l c o h o l i c w i l l also need medical halp .throughout his drinking l i f e .  But even though  physicians for centuries have been w e l l aware of the bad e f f e c t s of alcohol  and have declared alcoholism an i l l n e s s , they have not been able to  find a cure for this a f f l i c t i o n .  While the treatment of physical ailments  r e s u l t i n g from alcohol abuse i s steadily improving, i t i s the emotional and mental disturbances which cause the greatest suffering to the a l c o h o l i c himself and to his whole family.  Already 19th century p s y c h i a t r i s t s were  able to diagnose any type of p s y c h i a t r i c disorder r e s u l t i n g from acute and chronic i n t o x i c a t i o n (Morel 1860;  Griesinger 1867).  Attempts at healing  alcoholism with p s y c h i a t r i c methods have resulted i n cures of the occasional patient, but have not solved the epidemiologic problem of alcoholism.  On  the whole, Western medicine has contributed l i t t l e to the treatment of a l coholism among Whites and Indians a l i k e .  Those physicians who  have looked  into the work of Alcoholics Anonymous, unanimously agree that A.A. far  i s by  the most e f f e c t i v e method i n helping a l c o h o l i c s . It i s therefore of importance to look again at A.A.,  c i a l l y at Indian A.A.,  and espe-  when discussing the most e f f e c t i v e methods of helping  Indians with alcohol problems.  84  Indian A.A.  groups among the Coast Salish population are compar-  a t i v e l y small, and attendance varies with the seasons.  In winter during  the s p i r i t dance season and i n summer during the time of salmon f i s h i n g and berry picking, few Indians attend A.A.  meetings.  Turn-out for meetings  I! varies seasonally from a mere 10 people to more than 40 i n the same l o c a l i t y . The small group of f a i t h f u l attenders become well acquainted with each other.  Their speech-making tends to become monotonous; gossip, family  s t r i f e and animosity between certain members tend to disturb the functioning of the group.  Active members t r y to overcome these.tendencies by i n -  v i t i n g non-alcoholics to the meetings, by arranging big "birthday" parties and by organizing t r i p s to other Indian and non-Indian A.A. But the lack of funds always hampers Indian i n i t i a t i v e . fact about Indian A.A. Indians have i n A.A.  gatherings.  Another disturbing  i s the type of contact with non-Indians which the As mentioned above, non-Indian alcoholics use  A.A.  as their l a s t resource, and they are, therefore, usually much more impaired than most of the Indians i n A.A.  Needless to say many of these  old alcoholics as well as the young sociopaths gathered from the prison camps to attend Indian A.A. ions.  meetings, are anything but i n s p i r i n g compan-  Since Indians today lack any form of cheerful recreation without  alcohol intake, the abstinent Indians have few sources of besides their A.A.  meetings.  entertainment  Because df f i n a n c i a l r e s t r i c t i o n s Indian  A.A. meetings are held at small, unattractive places with few  facilities,  often d i r t y and poorly heated, with beer bottles and other left-overs from parties scattered around.  No wonder that Indians who  have f a i t h f u l l y  85  attended A.A. meetings over long periods of time get a somewhat narrow, dim view on l i f e , become bored and depressed and e a s i l y " f a l l o f f the wagon", i f f o r no other reason than to again have some fun with t h e i r fellow Indians i n a lush, warm beer parlour. Summary:  Western Methods of a s s i s t i n g Indians with alcohol  problems. Law-enforcement agencies  Temporary r e l i e f from alcohol abuse, through removal from alcohol sources. Relapse as a rule upon return to community. Alcohol problem often increases rather than improves through these methods.  Evangelical sects Protestant Churches  At f i r s t followers convert to an a b s t i nent new way of l i f e . Disappointments about r e l i g i o u s practices or White church members return the Indian to h i s former l i f e style and drinking habits.  Catholic Church  Temporary success. Too authoritarian to suit the majority of Coast S a l i s h Indians. Generally i n s u f f i c i e n t emphasis on.abstinence to help Indians with severe alcohol problems.  Medical Profession  Helping i n physical and mental c r i s i s s i t uations caused by alcohol abuse. No general solution of the alcoholism problem.  A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous  Hitherto most e f f i c i e n t approach to alcoholism. Many Indians remain suffering from boredom and depression. Only p a r t i a l solution to Indian alcohol problem.  New Trends i n Approaching the Indian Alcohol Problem  Realization that few Indians suffering from the consequences of alcohol abuse have been helped by the t r a d i t i o n a l medical or r e l i g i o u s approach, or through non-Indian chapters of A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous, has i n  86  the United States led to a closer cooperation between agencies involved with these problems.  Funds for research and for pioneer multi-professional  projects have been made available and an Indian Health Service Task Force on Alcoholism has been established. the urgency of the task:  .  I t s recent statement c l e a r l y shows  .  "The Indian Health Service considers alcoholism to of the mostvsignificant and urgent health problems facing the Indians and Alaska Native people today. Probably no other condition adversely affects so many aspects of Indian l i f e . . . . " (Indian Health Service 1969) As a result of cooperation between the medical profession, the Indian Health Service, University s t a f f (anthropologists, psychologists, p s y c h i a t r i s t s , sociologists and s o c i a l workers), correctional and public health services, a new approach to the Indian alcohol problem i s developing, and the organization of t r i b a l alcohol treatment projects i s a recent result.  Their programs emphasize i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Indian culture, In-  dian involvement  i n planning and operation, and the u t i l i z a t i o n of Indian  counselors for individual and family counselling. An Indian t r a i n i n g center has been established at the University of Utah to t r a i n counselors, many of whom are former Indian alcoholics (Shore 1970). Let us take as examples of this new approach.the " Community Treatment Plan for Navaho Problem Drinkers" (Ferguson 1968; 1970) and the "Indian T r i b a l Alcohol Treatment Programs" (Shore 1970).  The Navaho program  87  2 i s medically oriented, using d i s u l f i r a m therapy.  The treatment program  includes h o s p i t a l i z a t i o n with detoxication, d i s u l f i r a m administration, group therapy, i n d i v i d u a l and family counselling.  In the f i r s t  18  months of follow-up, Navaho community alcoholism f i e l d workers a s s i s t by supervising intake of medication,  report to the Center on the patient  progress and help the Indians to find jobs or obtain welfare a i d .  Many  of these former a l c o h o l i c s are encouraged to attend the Native American Church (Peyote Cult) as this Church has proven to be p o s i t i v e l y e f f e c tive i n helping Indians to become abstinent (Aberle 1966; Two years a f t e r i n i t i a t i o n of treatment i t was  recorded  Bergman 1971).  that drunkenness  arrests were reduced by 767o during the treatment period (Ferguson 1968) . The Center had best r e s u l t s with older Indians who drinkers for years, but who  had been excessive  had few acculturation problems.  Their drink  ing pattern had been of the recreation type, i . e . , they were drinking i n bouts within a peer group.  They responded well to p r a c t i c a l measures  such as structuring and regulating t h e i r daily l i f e , and they quickly found new  friends and new  f i e l d s of a c t i v i t y among non-alcoholic fellow  Indians. The Indian t r i b a l alcohol treatment programs ( J i c a r i l l a Apache Ute, and Nevada i n t e r t r i b a l ) as described and discussed by Shore (1970)  2.  Disulfiram or Antabuse i s a medication to be taken d a i l y as long as the treatment l a s t s . I t produces an extremely unpleasant reaction with nausea, hot flushes and headaches as soon as a l c o h o l i c beverages are ingested. A f t e r repeated experiences of this kind the a l c o h o l i c develops an aversion against the taste and even the . smell of alcohol.  88  evolved within the Indian communities with o f f i c i a l t r i b a l government sponsorship.  The programs combine the principles of A l c o h o l i c s Anony-  mous f o r readjustment  to a non-drinking l i f e with family counselling,  vocational r e h a b i l i t a t i o n , alcohol education and youth  involvement;  employing non-drinking Indian alcoholics as individual case workers, and respecting the special c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of each c u l t u r a l group. The three programs had i n 1970 reached a t o t a l of 642 cases.  The Apache  program had been i n operation for.four, the Nevada for three, and the Ute program for one year, when the following r e s u l t s were published: D e f i n i t e improvement i n 567° of a l l cases; 177o of cases l o s t to followup, and only 277o c l a s s i f i e d as unimproved.  This i s an astoundingly  high success rate and a clear i n d i c a t i o n that the broad, multi-professional approach to the solution of the Indian alcohol, problem i s a_step i n the right direction. The A l c o h o l i c Foundation of B r i t i s h Columbia, which has. f a c i l i t i e s f o r group therapy, family counselling and medical treatment f o r a l l a l c o h o l i c s , has no programs s p e c i f i c a l l y designed to meet the needs of Indian a l c o h o l i c s ; neither have the few detoxication centers and h a l f way houses available to alcoholics i n B r i t i s h Columbia.  The only s i g n i -  ficant i n i t i a t i v e s seem to come from a few Indians themselves, from active members of Indian A.A. groups.  mostly  As f a r as i s known to this  investigator, only three Coast Salish Indians have part-time employment with the A l c o h o l i c Foundation of B r i t i s h Columbia.  They are supposed to  89  investigate alcohol problems on Indian reserves, but neither of them has received any education or training concerning alcoholism and the a v a i l a b i l i t y of f a c i l i t i e s .  A few Indian A.A. members are presently  approaching government agencies and other sources for grants i n order to start Indian-sponsored  r e h a b i l i t a t i o n programs for Indian a l c o h o l i c s .  The history of Western and Indian e f f o r t s to f i g h t Indian a l cohol abuse t e l l s us that any program which i s organized and run by non-Indians,  i s doomed to f a i l u r e even i f i t . a t f i r s t evokes c u r i o s i t y  and a c e r t a i n cooperation from the Indians.  Since Indians perceive the  dominant Western society as oppressive, and since Indian drinking problems are nourished by the White-Indian  c o n f l i c t , i t i s psychologically  d i f f i c u l t for the Indians to have confidence i n any therapeutic a s s i s tance organized and administered by the very society which they f e e l oppresses them.  This dilemma applies also to the organization of A l c o -  h o l i c s Anonymous when run by non-Indians,  as has been reported by sev-  eral observers and again confirmed, i n a personal communication by  R.W.  Brown, Director of Ute Tribe Alcoholism Program: "In response to your inquiry for information regarding A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous groups on t h i s reservation, I would b r i e f l y state that p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n A.A. here seems to be.determined by the work of my (White) s t a f f members who are members of A.A. themselves. I believe that i f these people were to d i s appear the meetings would discontinue. A.A. does not seem to be an integrated pattern of l i v i n g for those (Indians) who attend the.meetings nor does i t seem to have, become . established with Indian leadership as an important meeting or program through which many Indians here maintain sobriety." The non-Indian dian i n i t i a t i v e here.  leadership appears to have again drowned In-  Since the A.A. meetings on the reservation did  90  not result from their own efforts, A.A. did hot become "an integrated pattern of living for those Indians who attend the meetings". From the example of the Coast Salish, we have seen how the Indians have to re-organize A.A. and to re-shape its philosophy to suit their own concepts, before A.A. develops into a successful device in their fight against alcohol abuse. Any assistance by governments, or other Western sources, to combat alcohol abuse among Indians, should therefore be made available to Indian organizations; in the case of the Coast Salish, to the nucleus already evolved, namely the Indian A.A. groups. Even modest financial support for Indian A.A. groups would greatly improve their functioning. With small funds they could hold their meetings in more attractive and spacious rooms, where they could then arrange for more enjoyable non-alcoholic parties, and allow their members to visit other A.A. groups and conventions more frequently, thus giving new impulses to disenchanted participants. Ideally Indian A.A. meetings should be held at Indian community centers where A.A. members would have an opportunity to interact with the non-alcoholic population. Such an Indian community center should consist of: 1) a "drop-in" center for Indians with facilities for individual and family counselling, legal and job opportunity advice and public health consultation. 2) A library and museum which emphasizes and furthers interest in Indian culture, language, history and arts, around which should be  91  centered educational programs, such as Indian language courses and Indian arts and c r a f t s work shops. 3)  Conference  f a c i l i t i e s f o r A.A.  and other group meetings, and f o r  educational programs concerning alcoholism and drug abuse, i t s prevention and 4)  treatment.  Cafeteria and other f a c i l i t i e s for social gatherings and recreation. Indian community centers of this type would greatly reduce the  boredom Indians suffer, especially on r u r a l reserves. \  The young Indians  would have a place to go for fun without having to resort to beer parlours and liquor parties.  Oldtimers with knowledge of Coast S a l i s h  culture should be encouraged to teach the younger generation the t r a d i t i o n a l behavioural norms of emotional r e s t r a i n t , personal dignity and self-respect so contrary to drunken behaviour.  Through training i n  arts and c r a f t s young Indians learning the s k i l l s of their elders and ancestors would arouse the admiration and respect of t h e i r peers.  non-Indian  Sports and games open to non-Indians and Indians a l i k e , would  provide the basis f o r peaceful competition between ethnic groups.  As  host at prestigious social events the Indian's self-esteem would be increased so that he can dispense with the chemically induced transient ego-boosting  effects of l i q u o r .  Non-Indian professionals involved' i n any type of assistance to Indians have a tendency to take over and then leave a f t e r a limited period of time.  No program concerned with Indian problems has a  chance to be implemented i f the organizational, administrative and  92  executive functions are not left in the hands of the local people themselves with non-Indian assistance mainly in the fonmof consultation. Only under the conditions outlined above w i l l an organized effort to combat alcoholism and to help Indians solve their drinking problem, have a chance to succeed.  93  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Aberle, D.F.: The Prophet Dance and reactions to White contact. western Journal of Anthropology L5: 74-83 (1959). Aberle, D.F.: 1966)..  South-  The Peyote r e l i g i o n among the Navaho (Aldine, Chicago ' „  Alcohol Symposium, E d i t o r i a l Preview. 343 (1964).  American Anthropologist 66_: 341-  Barnett, H.G.: The Coast S a l i s h of B r i t i s h Columbia (University of Oregon Press, Eugene 1955). Barnett, H.G.: Indian Shakers -- a messianic c u l t of the P a c i f i c Northwest. 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Hill-Tout, C.: Ethnological report on the S t s e e l i s and Skaulits t r i b e s of the Halkomelem d i v i s i o n of the S a l i s h of B r i t i s h Columbia. Journal, of the Royal Anthropological I n s t i t u t e of Great B r i t a i n and Ireland 34: 311-376 (1904). Honigmann, J . J . and Honigmann, I.: Drinking i n an Indian-White community. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 5_: 575-619 (1944). Honigmann, J . J . : Dynamics of drinking i n an Austrian v i l l a g e . logy 2: 157-169 (1963).  Ethno-  95  Horton, D.: .The functions of alcohol i n primitive societies: a crossc u l t u r a l study. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 4: 199320 (1943). Jacobi, J . : The psychology don. 1968) .  of.C^G. Jung (Routledge and Kegah Paul, Lon..  J i l e k - A a l l , L.: Alcohol and the North American Indian. Paper presented at the F i r s t Plenary. Conference of the Canadian Psychiatric Assoc i a t i o n .Sub-Committee on Indian Mental Health, Calgary, September 1971. Mimeograph 31 pp. . Jung, C.G.: Diagnostische Assoziationsstudien. zig 1906).  Vol. I (Barth, Leip.  LaViolette, F.E.: The struggle for survival — Indian cultures and the Protestant ethic i n B r i t i s h Columbia (University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1961). Lemert, E.M.: Alcohol and the Northwest Coast Indians. University of C a l i f o r n i a Publicationsi&n Culture and Society,.vol. 2, pp. 303406 (University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, Berkeley 1954). Lemert, E.M.: The l i f e and death of an Indian state. tion 13: 23-27 (1955).  Human organiza-  Lemert, E.M.: Alcoholism and the socio-cultural s i t u a t i o n . Journal of Studies on Alcohol 306-317 (1956).  Quarterly  Lemert, E.M.: The use of Alcohol i n Three S a l i s h Indian Tribes. t e r l y Journal of Studies on Alcohol 19: 90-107 (1958).  Quar-  Lemert, E.M.: Form and pathology of drinking i n three Polynesian s o c i e t i e s . American Anthropologist 66: 351-374 (1964). Linton, R.: N a t i v i s t i c movements. 240 (1943).  American Anthropologist 45:  230-  Littman, G.: Alcoholism, i l l n e s s , and social pathology among American Indians i n t r a n s i t i o n . American Journal of Public Health 60_: 17691787 (1970). MacMurray, J.W.: The "Dreamers" of the Columbia River Valley i n Washington T e r r i t o r y . Transactions of the Albany I n s t i t u t e of History and A r t 11: 241-248 (1887). Mooney, J . : The Ghost-Dance r e l i g i o n and the Sioux outbreak of 1890; i n Fourteenth Annual Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, 1892-1893 (Government Printing O f f i c e , Washington 1896).  96  Morel, B.A.:  T r a i t e des maladies mentales (Masson, Paris 1860).  Pittman, D.J.: International overview: s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l factors i n drinking patterns, pathological and nonpathological; i n D.J. P i t t man, (ed.), Alcoholism, pp. 3-20 (Harper and Row, New York 1967) . Robertson, H.: 1970)..  Reservations are for.Indians (Lewis and Samuel, Toronto  Sahlins, M.D.: P o l i t i c a l power and the economy i n primitive society; in G.E. Dole and R.L. Garneiro (eds.), Essays i n the Science of Culture T- i n Honor.of L e s l i e A. White, pp. 390-415 (Crowell, New York 1960). . Sahlins, M.D.: Poor man, r i c h man, big-man, chief: p o l i t i c a l types i n Melanesia and Polynesia. Comparative Studies i n Society and History 5: 285-303 (1962/63). Savard, R.J.: E f f e c t s of d i s u l f i r a m therapy on relationships within the-Navaho drinking group. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 29: 909-916 (1968). Schmitt, N.; Hole, L.W. and Barclay, W.S.: Accidental deaths among B r i t i s h Columbia Indians. . Canadian Medical Association Journal 94: 228-234 (1966). Schwimmer, E.G.: Symbolic competition. Paper presented at a Symposium on Canadian Indian Social•Organization, Winnipeg, May 1970. Mimeograph 47 pp.. Shore, J.H.; Kinzie, J.D.; Hampson, J.L. and Pattison, E.M.: Psychiat r i c epidemiology of an Indian v i l l a g e (abstract). Transcultural Psychiatric Research Review 7_: 195-198 (1970). .. Shore, J.H. and Von Fumetti, B.: Three alcohol programs£<£or American Indians -- 642 cases. Mimeograph 14 pp. (1970). Smith, M.W.: The Coast S a l i s h of Puget Sound. 43: 197-211 (1941).  American Anthropologist  Spier, L.: The Prophet Dance of the Northwest and i t s derivatives: the source of the Ghost Dance (Banta, Menasha, Wise. 1953). Szwed, J.F.: Gossip, drinking, and s o c i a l control: consensus and communication i n a Newfoundland parish. Ethnology 5: 434-441 (1966) . Suttles, W.: The plateau Prophet Dance among the Coast S a l i s h . western Journal of Anthropology 13: 352-396 (1957).  South-  97  Suttles, W.: . A f f i n a l t i e s , subsistence, and prestige among the Coast S a l i s h . American Anthropologist 62: 296-305 (1960). Suttles, W.: The persistence of i n t e r v i l l a g e t i e s among the Coast S a l i s h . Ethnology 2: 512-525 (1963). Thompson, G.N.: Acute and chronic alcoholic conditions; i n S. A r i e t i (ed.) American Handbook of Psychiatry, v o l . I I , pp. 1203-1219 (Basic Books, New York. 1959). Thwaites, R.G. (ed.): The Jesuit Relations and a l l i e d documents, 73 v o l s . (Burrows, Cleveland 1896). Voget, F.W.: The American Indian i n t r a n s i t i o n : reformatism modation. American Anthropologist 58: 249-263 (1956).  and acco-  Wallace, A.F.C.: Handsome Lake and the great r e v i v a l i n the West. American Quarterly 4: 149-165 (1952). Wallace, A.F.C.: R e v i t a l i z a t i o n movements. 58: 265-281 (1956).  American Anthropologist  Washington, W.L.: Lummi t r i b a l alcoholism program. mimeograph 4 pp. (1971). Winkler, A.M.: Drinking on the American f r o n t i e r . of Studies on Alcohol 29: 413-445 (1968).  Unpublished notes,  Quarterly Journal  98  APPENDIX  Guidelines of the A.A.  Organization  A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous i s a fellowship of men share their experience,  and women who  strength and hope with each other that they  may  solve t h e i r common'problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership i s a desire to stop drinking.  There are no dues or fees for A.A.  supporting through our own  membership; we are s e l f -  contributions. A.A.  i s not a l l i e d with  any  sect, denomination, p o l i t i c s , organization or i n s t i t u t i o n ; does not wish to engage i n any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes.  Our primary purpose i s to stay sober and help other a l c o h o l i c s  to achieve sobriety.  The 12 Steps of  1.  A.A.  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our l i v e s had become unmanageable.  2.  Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.  3.  Made a decision to turn our w i l l and our l i v e s over to the care of God as we understood  4.  Him.  Made a searching and f e a r l e s s moral inventory of ourselves.  99  5.  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human" being the exact nature of our wrongs.  6.  Were e n t i r e l y ready to have God remove a l l these defects of character.  7.  Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.  8.  Made a l i s t of a l l persons we had harmed, and became w i l l i n g to make amends to them a l l .  9.  .  -  '  Made d i r e c t amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.  10.  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted i t .  11.  Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His w i l l for us and the power to carry that out.  12.  Having had a s p i r i t u a l awakening as the r e s u l t of these steps, we t r i e d to carry this meassage to a l c o h o l i c s , and to practice these p r i n c i p l e s i n a l l our a f f a i r s .  The 12 Traditions of A.A. 1.  Our common welfare should come f i r s t ; personal recovery depends upon A.A.  unity.  2. . For our group purpose there i s but one ultimate authority — ing God as He may express Himself i n our group conscience.  a lov-  Our  leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern. 3.  The only requirement for A.A.' membership i s a desire to stop drinking.  100  4.  Each group should be autonomous except i n matters a f f e c t i n g other groups or A.A.- as a whole.  5..  Each group has but one primary purpose — the alcoholic who s t i l l  6.  to carry i t s message to  suffers.  An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related f a c i l i t y or outside enterprise, l e s t problems of  v. money, property and prestige d i v e r t us from our primary purpose. 7.  Every A.A. group ought to'be f u l l y self-supporting, declining outside contributions.  8.  A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.  9.  A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees d i r e c t l y responsible to those they serve.  10.  A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.  11.  Our public r e l a t i o n s p o l i c y i s based on a t t r a c t i o n rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the l e v e l of press, radio, and films.  12.  Anonymity  i s the s p i r i t u a l foundation of our t r a d i t i o n s , ever r e -  minding us to place p r i n c i p l e s before p e r s o n a l i t i e s . Questionnaire Used as Guideline i n Structured Interviews with Indian A.A. Members 1.  Do you think you have an alcohol problem?  2.  Can you explain the reasons for your drinking  problem?  101  3.  What i s A l c o h o l i c s Anonymous?  4.  What does "Anonymous" mean?  5.  When —  6.  Discuss the Twelve Steps and,the Twelve T r a d i t i o n s .  7.  Is i t sometimes d i f f i c u l t for you to attend meetings? —  and how —  did you become a member of A.A.?  And i f yes  why?  8. What has helped you the most, in-A.A. ? 9.  Why did some Indians s t a r t an A.A. group f o r themselves?  10.  What do you prefer, a mixed or an Indian A.A. meeting?  11.  What do you prefer, a White or an Indian sponsor?  12.  What do you think i s d i f f e r e n t i n the Indian A.A. from the general A.A.?  13.  Is i t easier for you to speak up i n the Indian A.A. group than i n the general A.A.?  14.  Do you mind t e l l i n g your l i f e - s t o r y ?  15.  Is i t l i k e a confession to give your A.A. speech?  16.  What does "a Power greater than ourselves" mean to you?  17.  How do you go about .it to help other Indians with alcohol problems?  18.  What do you think i s the most e f f e c t i v e way i n helping an alcoholic?  19.  What d i f f i c u l t i e s are facing the Indian A.A. groups?  20.  What f a c i l i t i e s would you l i k e to have for alcoholics i n your community?  Do you d i s l i k e i t ?  


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