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Alcohol and the Indian-White relationship: the function of Alcoholics Anonymous in Coast Salish society 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 in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1972 In present ing th is - . thes is in pa rt i al ,fu 1 f i lrnen t:-o f the- requ i remen t s for an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y sha l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e for reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree that permission for extensive copying of th is t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h is representa t ives . It is understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s thes is fo r f i n a n c i a l gain sha l l not be allowed without my wr i t ten permiss ion . Louise M. J i l e k - A a l l Department of Anthropology and Sociology The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date - S ^ p t " . 2.5 j, \97£. ABSTRACT This paper aims at demonstrating the close association of In- dian alcohol abuse with.the Indian-White relationship as i t has developed throughout the contact period. The author became aware of this associa- tion in 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 in A.A. is reported for most Indian groups of North America. The author reviews Coast Salish culture traits with regard to their relevance to the socio-cultural problems of the Indian population today, and explores the relationship between pat- terns of alcohol use and abuse and Westernization. Alcohol abuse among British Columbia Indians has become a major factor i n social, physical, and mental pathology according to st a t i s t i c a l evidence, and i t is in this context that the function of A.A. and i t s efficacy in combating alcoholism i s investigated. Alcoholics Anonymous maintains that a l l members are equal, regardless of raci a l , ethnic or religious background. But Indians with alcohol problems find i t d i f f i c u l t to speak openly among non-Indians in A.A. Alleged or real discriminations led to the formation of Indian A.A. groups among the Coast Salish some ten years ago, and participation in them has been steadily growing. Patterns of traditional social structure and behaviour are reflected in the way the Coast Salish conduct their A.A. meetings, and this clearly sets their groups apart from other A.A. or- ganizations. Indian A.A. meetings are important social events on the reserve; sometimes they take the form of a family court, the participants having to justify their behaviour towards kinsmen in front of the whole A.A. group. Considerable discussion i s devoted to Indian-White relations, a fact which demonstrates the importance of this conflict area to Indians with alcohol problems. There is a strong emphasis on rebirth through A.A. The "power greater than ourselves" in the A.A. programme is to the local Indian member a syncretic amalgamation of the Christian God with the spi r i t power of the Salish winter ceremonials. Many Indian A.A. members also attend the revived s p i r i t dances, and the same building is used for both purposes on a local reserve. The author discusses the social movement-aspects of Indian A.A. and the possibility of its devel- opment into a nativistic movement. Abstinence from alcohol has been ex- tolled by many religious 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 in the context of Indian efforts to combat alcoholism. The inefficiency of purely Western methods of helping Indians with alcohol problems i s the basis of the author's conclusion that any assistance Western agencies, in order to be effective, must •rely on Indian initi a t i v e s a.nd actively involve the local Indian popula- tion. Only anti-alcoholic programmes integrating Indian A.A. groups with Indian community centres and professional consultation services in an or- ganized effort, w i l l have a chance to meet with success. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter I: Introduction 1 Purpose 1 Data and Methods 1 Recording Techniques 5 North American Indian Groups and Alcoholics Anonymous 6 Coast Salish Indian culture traits in relation to socio-cultural problems of today 12 Chapter II: Comparison of Non-Indian and Indian A.A. Meetings 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 Conflict and Alcohol Abuse 40 " " ' r') Alcohol and the White-Indian relationship 40 Alcoholics Anonymous and the White-Indian relationship 45 Is the Indian A.A. developing into a nativistic movement? 53 The future of A.A. among the Coast Salish Indians 65 Chapter IV: Methods of Combating Indian Alcohol Abuse 78 Western methods of assisting Indians with alcohol problems 78 New trends in 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 in structured interviews CHAPTER- I INTRODUCTION Purpose The purpose of this paper i s to explore the alcohol problem of.Coast Salish Indians in i t s relationship to White-Indian contact; to review the measures taken against Indian alcohol abuse, and primarily to evaluate the function of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) among contemporary Coast Salish 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. The logical consequence was to ask.the Indian patients what they themselves consi- dered the reasons for, and the most effective treatment of, their alco- hol problems. The answers encouraged a more thorough analysis of the psychological factors operating in Indian alcohol abuse and fi n a l l y led to a study of Indian participation in the organization of Alcoholics Anonymous. Data and Methods \ The study is based on investigations made during,five years of close contact with the native Indian population of the Upper Fraser Valley of British 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 Salish Indian socio-cultural background, of the- specific situation of Coast Salish Indians i n contemporary Canadian society, and of factors potentially 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 and sociological literature on a) Coast Salish Indian aboriginal cultures, 1 b) alcohol use and abuse among North American Indians, c) religious and other movements with anti-alcoholic programs operating among Northwest Coast Indians; 2) literature on A.A. organizations and their function in Western society; 3) literature on A.A. organizations working among North American Indians. In the following three years, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings were visited, Indian participation 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 their people. The use and abuse of alcohol i s widespread among the Indian population as well as among non-Indians in North America, and cannot be 1. The historical development of alcohol use and abuse and the changes in drinking patterns among North American Indians have been dis- cussed elsewhere by this author (Jilek-Aall 1971). 3 regarded as a specifically Indian problem. Only Indians who fe l t that alcohol abuse had, created major troubles for themselves and their fam- i l i e s , and who therefore wanted help, or made some effort to abstain from drinking, were regarded as persons with alcohol problems, whether their alcohol abuse had the character of alcohol habituation or of periodic excessive drinking. The numbers of Indian persons with self-defined alcohol prob- lems 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 in numerous discussions with participants of Indian cultural 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 familiar with the general A.A. organization in Eastern Canada and in British Columbia in the context of treating non-Indian alcoholics. 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- tal Health Centre, this is 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. This group used to meet once a week, but has disintegrated. The few remain- ing members now get together only sporadically. Agassiz Group I: Meeting at the Agassiz Community Hall, this group was founded about 1963 as a general with Indian parti- 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 II: Indian A.A. group meeting in a small build- ing which belongs to the Catholic Church, or in the community hall 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 in a small school- house on Wellington Reserve near Chilliwack, or in 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 Tribal Council Office, Marietta, Washington; founded 1964. Approxi- mately 40 Indian members. Usually visited by a small group of non- Indian A.A. members. 5 Recording Techniques During A.A. meetings the speeches were recorded in writing as completely as possible. Initially the emphasis was on a correct pre- sentation 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 in 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 after- wards. Those quotations in this paper which might not be exactly ver- batim are presented under quotation marks within.the text, whereas ver- batim 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 readi- ness 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, will draw attention to their efforts and assist in the plan- ning of a future strategy to combat alcoholism. 6 I am especially indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Allan .Gutierrez of Yarrow, B.C.; Mr. Alec James of Wellington Reserve, Chilliwack; Mr. Walker Stogan of Musqueam, B.C.; Mr. Buck and Mrs. Willafred Washington of Marietta, Washington, for the many hours they willingly spent with me discussing every aspect of the Indian-White relationship, the Indian alcohol problem, and the best ways of handling Indian alcohol abuse, in the future. This thesis was prepared under the supervision of Professor Wilson Duff for whose suggestions and encouragement I am especially grateful. I am also indebted for the advice I received from Dr. David F. Aberle and Dr. Pierre Maranda of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of British Columbia. North American Indian Groups and Alcoholics Anonymous There are 'few published references to Indian participation in A.A. organizations throughout North America. To supplement the references found i n the literature, the author contacted several author- 2 i t i e s and organizations in North America. The data obtained convey the impression that A.A. is very rarely u t i l i z e d by North American Indians. 2. J.H. Shore, Chief of Mental Health Office, Indian Health Service, Portland Area, Oregon, U.S.A.. A.P. Abbott, Zone psychiatrist, Yukon Territory, Canada. R.L. Bergman, Chief of Mental Health Programs, U.S. Indian Health Service. J.D. Bloom, Psychiatrist Consultant to Indian Agencies in 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 Tribal Council, Window Rock, Arizona, U.S.A. 7 Bergman, in a personal communication states that there has never been a Navaho A.A. group lasting more than two years and that most such ventures have been even more short-lived. His observation that the few Indians attending A.A. groups are mostly quite "accultur- ated" people not living on reservations, had previously been made by Dozier (1966). "Alcoholics Anonymous is perhaps more successful than psy- chotherapy, but i t appeals again primarily to the individual addict. Nevertheless among Indians off the. reservation and in densely populated areas, the idea has caught on. Recently an American Indian A.A. group has been formed in Santa Clara;• California, and another i s being started i n Oakland, Cal i - fornia. A.A.- apparently influences the highly acculturated Indian alcoholic who has internalized the cultural 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 British Columbia, mentioned that although several towns had quite active A.A. programs in 1952, he could only find two Indians who were A.A.. members; one a highly educated Metis, the other a detribalized Indian woman married to a Finnish logger. Jorgensen sees the main reason for the lack of Indian interest in A.A. in the resentment Indians harbour towards the White majority: "I do not know of any studies of Alcoholics Anonymous on American Indian reservations. A.A. is 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 really don't have a very good impression at this point. Some young men on antabuse refused to drink during a major festival — so they were resisting 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 overall feel- ing i s that the context in 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; letter 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 in getting reservation Indians interested in A.A. because they interpret i t as another form of restraint on their freedom....Our Iroquois member and one other had d i f f i c u l t i e s because in their speeches they carried over a sense of inf e r i o r i t y and emotions of re- 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, illness and social pathology among North American Indians, allotted only the following few lines of his 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 alcoholic's need to admit his personal weakness. This very concept, i s I believe, offensive to most Indians. Nor are the religious overtones of the A.A. program acceptable to many Indian alcoholics. Frequently Indians consider this 'a's program' which i s unacceptable to them. I under- stand, that A.A. has had some success on certain reservations when members, including children, were allowed to become involved. A Navaho explained i t to me this way: 'We don't like to be exclusive. When we become exclu- sive we lose touch with our-people1'." (Littman 1970; p.. 1782) Shore (1970) also refers to the Indian dislike for confession- type speeches expected in A.A.: "Few Indian people suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse.have been helped by traditional medical approach to alcohol rehabilitation or through non-Indian chapters of A l - coholics Anonymous... .A.A. chapters continue to function on several Indian reservations, although in general Indian drinkers have reacted by withdrawal when asked to participate in inte- grated groups in 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 in their A.A. groups. • According to Brown (personal communication, 1972) there is l i t t l e indication 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 to the author stressed as one of the main reasons for the lack.of Indian participation in A.A. the dis- like Indians have for confession-type speeches heard at A.A. meetings and their disinclination to talk about themselves, especially when expected to emphasize their personal failures and weaknesses. Why then has A.A. been able to gain support and to find members among the Coast Salish Indians? In traditional Coast Salish culture a person's social posi- tion depended to a great extent upon his knowledge of the moral code and his personal conduct. The moral standing, especially of high ranking persons, was of public concern; vices and virtues of such a person were often publicly discussed. Although admission of "sins" might originally not have been a feature of.Coast Salish culture, the belief that the breaking of certain taboos causes misfortune which may be averted or relieved through avowal, seems to be old in some regions df native North America. According to Suttles (1957) this belief was found in many areas, such as among the Central Eskimos, the Algonquins of the North- 10 east and the Yurok of Northwestern California. Suttles further claims that individual confession before death was practiced among Plateau Indians before the influence of Christianity. Spier, reporting on a separate "confession dance" in the, SouthernfCkahagon in response to anxi- ety caused by "strange natural happenings", writes: "Young and old gathered in a c i r c l e about a chief within a house,, where they stood rhythmically swaying while he con- fessed his sins and called on each in 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 Pacific Coast before the coming of the f i r s t priests. Its influence might explain some pe- culiar practices found among Coast Salish Indians of the lower Fraser Valley, generations before the f i r s t contact with Whites (Hill-Tout 1902). Here as in the Okanagon the occasions for these religious cere- monies were either public calamities such as epidemics, famines, earth- quakes, violent storms and the like; or the anticipation of some sort of deprivation, such as loss of status and goods, imposed socio-cultural changes, conquest by a more powerful group, etc. (Aberle 1959). The chief would lead the prayers and confessions of the people to invoke the pity of the supernatural forces or to strengthen his own social position. At the close of the dancing the chief would "bid them place their hands on their breasts and repent of their e v i l deeds and thoughts" (Hill-Tout 1902). Suttles (1957) quotes Elmendorf as describing a mar- riage dance among the Twana Indians, which was apparently performed long 11 before the White man came: "The-people danced in a circle-and married by choosing a man. 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*1 religion had similar r i t u a l s . While people were dancing in a c i r c l e , clapping.their hands, anyone who wished toe speak could step forward and " t e l l his story" (MacMurray 1886) or his dreams which were commented upon by the "high priest" (Du Bois 1939) . Another form of confession exists in the Shaker Church of the Coast Salish: the public announcement of a member's conversion.- During a Sunday ceremony aamember may stand up and voluntarily testify to the regenerative and healing powers of the religion as i t has been dis- closed to him (Barnett 1957). From these references one might conclude that confession-:type public speeches are nothing new or offensive to Coast Salish Indians. Awareness of the danger of further disintegration of their aboriginal culture together with the conscious desire to reinforce Indian identity (Suttles 1963), lets the Coast Salish Indian of today look favourably on organizations which stress personal improvement and abstinence from alcohol, and which provide for the 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 Salish people to find continuity with their tradi- 12 tional culture in the same way as do the revived s p i r i t dance ceremon- i 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 Salish Indian Culture Traits in Relation to Socio-Cultural Problems of Today The period of contact between the Salish Indians and modern Western society has been relatively short. There are s t i l l Indians l i v - ing whose fathers saw the f i r s t white men coming to settle in the Fra- ser Valley. When studying contemporary Indian.behaviour and accultura- tion d i f f i c u l t i e s i t is therefore necessary to know the pre^settlement Indian culture. In this chapter, culture traits which are s t i l l present and of importance to the Indians and at the same time cause d i f f i c u l - ties in their adjustment — w i l l be pointed out. . The abundance of game and sea-food i n the wide, easily acces- sible areas of the Coast Salish, allowed for a generous usage of re- sources. Although heads of families often had a certain right to fishing and hunting places (Barnett 1955), usually a whole village -- or cluster of villages --owned the surrounding territories over which each unit roamed with equal freedom (Smith 1941). Frequent use by one group of people of certain 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 friendly members of other communities (Elmendorf 1960). . The village as such was not a self-contained social unit; the kinship group was the most important property-holding entity.' The property rights of the kin 13 groups were spread over large areas and many villages through marriage ties. The earlier White authorities, therefore, did not comprehend the nature of Coast Salish intervillage relationships and of local property rights. When laying out Indian reserves according to old village sites, they imposed restrictions on the ambilineal descent and ambilocal r e s i - dence pattern of native social organization, thereby destroying much of the intricate aboriginal social network (Suttles 1963). The Coast Salish Indians s t i l l keep track of their family ties and show stronger s o l i - darity with their kindred living in other bands than with other families residing on the same reserve: "Non-kin or remote kin on the same reserve may see l i t t l e or nothing of each other. Near kin on different reserves may be in close contact -- made even closer by modern means of transportation and communication." (Suttles 1963, p. 517) This close intervillage kinship system i s one of the reasons why true community l i f e i s seldom seen on Salish Indian reserves. Due to the fact that families of different kin 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 Salish did not have village chiefs with authority over the villagers, nor other authority figures with institutionalized powers; neither did they have clans, phratries, or other larger social units. Barnett has probably given the clearest definition of Coast Salish social structure, in the form of negative statements: 14 "Among the Salish 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 tribal officers, no council, no bodies for the en- actment, adjustment or enforcement of regulations." (Bar- nett 1955, p. 241) ,. Individual rank and social striving was relevant within the extended family. The "chief" of an extended kin group among the Coast Salish corresponded to what Sahlins has described as a "big-man" (Sah- lins 1962/63, p. 289) who is not installed as a pol i t i c a l figure. His authority derives from personal power and from his acknowledged standing in interpersonal relations. The Coast Salish 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 distributed 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 qualities 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 redistribute goods in potlatches, was necessary for a man to be accepted as group leader. These qualifications are different from those of the p o l i t i c a l and social authorities with whom the Indians have to deal today. "No man has the right to order me around", is an angry statement often heard from local 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 in which the Coast Salish used to liv e (Hill-Tout 1902; Haeberlin and Gun- ther 1930; 01 son.1936; Duff 1952; Jenness 1955, and others). It was the pride of the household to have as many relatives and friends as possible living under the same roof. Due to the kinship structure of the Coast Salish, where paternal and maternal relatives were equated throughout the system, the household could grow very large. It con- sisted of a nucleus of males; a man, his brothers, sons and grandsons, their wives and children, around whom were grouped uncles and nephews, grandparents, parents-in-law, widows, orphans and other kin, not to mention v i s i t i n g friends and other relatives (Duff 1952; Olson 1936). The Indians of today s t i l l keep i n contact with numerous relatives, " l i v i n g i n each other's houses", as one old Indian put i t , v i s i t i n g and feasting together frequently. The houses provided for the Indians today are built 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 relatives as possible under one roof i s s t i l l deeply entrenched and often causes d i f f i c u l t i e s and frustrations. This i s one of the reasons why the small houses are often extremely overcrowded, which again results in a desperate lack of comfort and hygiene. As in olden days, relatives are spread over large areas. Family ties are strong and there i s a considerable pressure to attend marriages, funer- als or other gatherings (Suttles 1960). This takes time and frequently conflicts with work schedules in modern society. The Indian i s confron- ted with the alternatives of either facing the disapproval of his rela- tives or losing his job, and both prospects cause tension and anxiety. Friendly, cooperative, and non-aggressive behaviour, so im- portant for adjustment in the crowded long-houses of the past, s t i l l prevails as a highly valued quality of a Coast Salish Indian. Dis- approval, gossiping and shaming is s t i l l more feared than physical co- ercion. "We were taught by our grandparents to respect anybody older than ourselves, and rather to walk away than to fight" — this reason is often given as excuse for passive behaviour today. Indians trying to live up to the "Indian ways" w i l l unavoidably be at a disadvantage i n modern competitive society. . ' - Every Coast Salish Indian, without regard to his social stand- ing, would seek supernatural power in traditional times. Ardent and vigorous training led to the acquisition of guardian s p i r i t power, con- sidered essential for success in l i f e (Hill-Tout 1904; Barnett 1955; Duff 1952; and many others). The revival of the Coast Salish Spirit dancing in recent years demonstrates that Christianity in a l l i t s cur- rently declining forms could never fu l l y substitute for the old r e l i - gious system with i t s stress on individual s p i r i t power rather than on a distant God shared by everybody. No description of Coast Salish 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 Salish population survived in a natural environ- ment of fluctuating productivity." (Suttles 1963, p. 523) 16 Everyone would look forward to a potlatch. Everybody would be willing to work a l i t t l e harder, eat and sleep a l i t t l e less, i n order to produce goods to be used in the potlatch feasts. Nothing spurred ambition and cooperation more than the happy thought of a com- ing potlatch; nowhere was there a better opportunity for becoming known to friends and neighbours than during potlatch-time, and nobody could acquire social prestige without giving a potlatch. Social l i f e , a r t i s - t i c s k i l l s , r i t u a l performances, trade and wealth centered around this event. Christian 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 Salish people diminished, the incentive to work was undermined, and the paraphernalia used in the ceremonies no longer held much meaning. Therefore, when the potlatch disappeared, traditional Indian culture rapidly disintegrated. Life on the reserves became dull 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, is a frequent topic of discussion in literature (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 to.its a b i l i t y to release pent-up h o s t i l i t y and to make the individual sink into an all-forgetting stupor (Devereux 1949; Dozier 1966; Hamer 1961; James 1961). 17 Lemert (1954; 1958) describes how the. use of alcohol became integrated into Goast Salish culture patterns. When the potlatch was outlawed, the whiskey feast took i t s place. Barrels of whiskey and rum were substituted for food. As in the old rivalry potlatches, singing of s a t i r i c a l and insulting songs became a more or less intrinsic fea- ture of.these "challenge feasts". Old men and women were invited to such parties because of their general status or because they could sing drinking songs and t e l l stories. Again, the Indians could gain prestige by being generous and giving away wealth, this time i n the form of a l - cohol. As we have seen, one of_the norms of Indian behaviour i s that of personal restraint. Emotional outbursts, quarrels and fights are generally avoided and anger i s seldom shown. No society however, can function normally without providing effective outlets for aggression. Indian society had a number of such outlets, such as warfare, hunting ac t i v i t i e s , rivalry potlatches, competitive games, accusations of witch- craft, etc. (Kluckhohn 1967; Devereux.1949; Dozier 1966). Most tradi- tional expressions of aggression have been suppressed in the course of Westernisation, and new sources of aggressive feelings have been created by the fact that the Goast Salish people have become increasingly deprived and have been made powerless by Western man. Both these as- pects, the loss of traditional 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 altercations when sober," (Hamer 1965). Drunken behaviour;is looked upon with tolerance. The aggres- sive person i s among drinking friends and relatives who permit the catharsis of h o s t i l i t y to take place (Lemert 1954). The fear and t o l - erant acceptance of a drunken person, often shown by Indians, is.remin- iscent of the awe people f e l t for those possessed by supernatural power. The inebriated person i s obviously not in control of his senses and . therefore not to be blamed for his violent acts. Drunkenness, especially during the early period of contact with the White man, was included i n - the category of the supernatural. Alcohol gives the Indian the feeling of personal power he so sorely lacks when dealing with modern society. Through alcohol heihas visionary experiences that take him back to the world of his 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 different powers at work. In the words of an Indian'A.A. veteran: "Indian l i f e was a spiritual l i f e . The only way of expres- sing the Indian way was sp i r i t u a l . Everything was spiritual 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 devil's power. They called i t firewater, i t made the poor people feel rich, 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 false s p i r i t of alcoholism." The ways in which the relationship between Indians and Whites is influenced by alcohol w i l l be discussed later (pp. 40-45). 19 Whatever the reason for Indian drinking, alcohol abuse has become an increasing factor in 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 significant and urgent health problems facing the Indians, today". A report by the Director General of.the Medical Services for Indian Affairs in 1969, presented some startling 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 in British 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 rising mortality in the prime of l i f e i s apparently asso- ciated with alcohol abuse and attributable to a growing number of fatal 3 accidents, violent acts and suicides. Schmitt et a l . (1966) reporting on accidental deaths among British Columbia Indians, summed up this situation: "A s t a t i s t i c a l and epidemiological review of British 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 total population of British.Columbia, they accounted . for over 10% of the total accident f a t a l i t i e s , 29% of drowning, and 21%.of fatal burns. Socio-economic, environmental and psychosocial factors and excessive drinking are considered the chief causes responsible for this rather unusual epide- miological phenomenon." 3. "The First Citizen", 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, until recently l i t t l e has been done to combat these effects in a comprehensive manner (Shore 1970). It i s in this context that we studied the functions of Alco- holics Anonymous among Goast Salish Indians. The organization of A.A. has proven to be an effective weapon in'the fight against alcoholism in Western society. Many authors have found that A.A., as conducted by non-Indians, has l i t t l e appeal to Indians. This raises the question of whether an Indian A.A. organization i s better able to help the Indians solve their alcohol problems. 21 CHAPTER II 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 for that purpose. New members and visitors are asked their f i r s t name, their problems and why they come to the meeting. They areswelcomed with friendly words. Before the meeting gets underway, people look at A.A. literature on display, and one A.A.. member gives information and encourages those interested to read and to take pamphlets home for fur- ther study. At the set time the meeting i s opened by the chairman. Most participants are present by then; only very few arrive later in the evening. Both the chairman and the secretary take an active part in the meeting and have distinct roles. The chairman urges members to come forward to speak. . He takes notes during their speeches, makes comments, and starts the discussion, cracking jokes and keeping the audience ac- tive 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 collect and count money. As.a rule there is a short break after 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 calls everybody back and the meeting goes on as before. 22 An A.A. meeting i s supposed to last for about two hours, and as i t gen- erally 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 last speakers to keep the sche- dule, but most participants accept this without d i f f i c u l t y as punctuality in opening and closing a meeting i s appreciated by most members. Some people may stay on for a while, looking at A.A.. literature or conversing with.friends,.but the majority w i l l leave rather quickly after the end of the meeting. If women are present, they usually clean up the place. Arriving at a meeting on time does not seem to be of much importance to Indians attending A.A. The chairman in Indian A.A. there- fore usually opens the meeting.later than announced. But even then only a few members might be present at the start. People "drop in" during the whole evening, 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 his head curiously towards noisy newcomers, few Indians are disturbed by this. Non-Indians present are annoyed and often find i t d i f f i c u l t to continue their speeches after the interrup- tions. The chairman and the secretary in 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. If a decision has to be taken, chairman and secretary w i l l f i r s t discuss i t between themselves, and either one may then announce their decision. The coffee break i s very important. It i s held in the middle of the meeting or at the end, but sometimes at both times. Women busy themselves with offering the participants food and coffee. "Anniversary cakes" are very much enjoyed 23 and carefully distributed. . During the coffee break Indians do not in- teract as freely with each other as non-Indians do, but tend to gather ' in small groups, well apart from each other. It 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 limits would be bad taste and go unheeded anyway. People seem to forget keeping track of time, especially i f they enjoy the speeches; until fatigue makes them realize that i t i s late. Babies cheer up the meeting with their cries; children run in and out; the general atmosphere i s relaxed and friendly. 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 efforts are made to clean up the place. Summary -- Conduct of A.A. Meetings: Non-Indians Indians Meetings usually held, from 8 to Meetings opened later than sche- 10 p.m.; duled; This schedule adhered to by a l l Members come and go during the members; meeting; which usually closes ' later than 10 p.m. Welcome person at the door. No welcome person at the door. A.A. literature on display. A.A. literature rarely on display. Chairman and secretary active, Chairman and secretary passive, their roles well defined. their roles not well defined. Coffee-break short; self-service. Coffee-break long; women serve the others. Speaking time restricted. Speaking time usually unrestricted. Place cleaned up superficially. Place rarelyecleaned up. 24 Views Regarding Anonymity. Tolerance of drunken behaviour and a l c o h o l abuse i s remark- able i n North America, among Indians and non-Indians a l i k e . The use of a l c o h o l and s o - c a l l e d permissive d r i n k i n g i s f u l l y accepted and supported by middle c l a s s North Americans; abstinence has become a "negative symbol of l i f e s t y l e " (Pittman 1967). However, i n Western s o c i e t y there i s a sharp l i n e drawn i n people's t o l e r a n c e of d r i n k i n g behaviour. As long as a person d r i n k s and gets drunk only 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 oft e n laughed a t . 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 to the whole f a m i l y , and alcoho- l i s m i s denied and masked f o r a long time. Under the pretext of suf- f e r i n g from "nervousness", "depression", or other i l l n e s s e s , medical treatment resources are sought; to suggest help through A.A. i s o f t e n taken as personal 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 manifest at home and at work, w i l l the a l c o h o l i c y i e l d to s o c i a l pressures and consider j o i n i n g the A.A. o r - g a n i z a t i o n . But even a f t e r having 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 to great lengths to keep i t a s e c r e t , as A.A. i s hel d in.low 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 looks 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 , frequented by a l c o h o l i c bums, who have no other means of escaping the b o t t l e . Anony- mity i s t h e r e f o r e of v i t a l importance to many a l c o h o l i c s . Some w i l l o nly attend A.A. meetings f a r from t h e i r place of residence. As members are known only to each other and r e f e r r e d to 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 meet- ings, members are supposed to treat each other as strangers. Most Indians attending A.A. meetings seem to show l i t t l e con- cern about anonymity. Many Indians do not know exactly what i t means and quite frequently the word is mispronounced, as "amonity"; "amoni- mity"; "anominity", etc. Calling each other by the first name is 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 is Mr. N.N.", and none of the Indian members seems to object to.that. Often anonymity is looked upon as some- thing 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) is 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 anony- mity is 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 commun- ity 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 every- thing 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 like that. That's why some of them refused to get up and talk in our last meeting. The White A.A. is too anonymous, i t ' s easier that way, but we don't like i t . " There i s no doubt that divergent views on anonymity was one of the factors in the secession of the Indians from general A.A. These divergent views account for differences in attendance of A.A. meetings in non-Indian and Indian groups. Who Attends Non-Indian and Indian A.A. Meetings As outlined above, being an alcoholic and joining A.A. i s looked down upon in Western society. Most non-Indian alcoholics w i l l therefore deny their condition and think of themselves as normal per- sons 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 join A.A., are hardcore, chronic alcoholics, usually in their thirties or older, who often have lost their jobs and also their families and friends; solitary drinkers with personality defects or other psychopathology. Some of these alcoholics join 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. The^latter category of A.A. participants are often younger sociopathic individuals in d i f f i c u l t y with the law, their employers or family. Joining A.A. might help them to obtain milder judgements, to be paroled earlier and to be viewed 1 more favourably by probation officers 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. in the region. 27 tend to avoid A.A. meetings as soon as they have achieved their pur- pose. The few non-Indian women.seen in A.A. are usually physically and mentally deteriorated persons. They look older than they are and appear timid and depressed. Their attendance is only sporadic, unless they have private interpersonal motives. Outsiders are generally discouraged from attending A.A. meet- ings. Non-alcoholic speakers are invited for educational purposes, and clergymen, probation officers, social workers, physicians or other pro- fessionals under obligation to preserve confidentiality are welcome to s i t in on occasion. Anxious observance of anonymity is 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, relatives and friends are welcome at Indian A.A. gatherings; mothers may take their babies and small children along and often teenagers crowd in a corner, privately having fun together. Lemert (1958) found drinking among three Coast Salish Indian tribes to be "exclusively social", and maintained that Indians drinking excessively could seldom be labelled true alcoholics, because they did not become social isolates as a consequence of their 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 for divorce. Lemert also asserted that most Indians did not have enough cash to 28 procure a continuous supply of liquor; Indian drinking excesses would therefore occur only in bouts, mostly of short duration. Unfortunately alcohol abuse among Coast Salish Indians has developed into a more serious problem since Lemert wrote his paper i n 1958. As we tried to demonstrate above (pp. 18-19) alcoholism --, i f we use this term according to the definition of the World Health Organiza- 2 tion — is on the increase, especially among the younger generation of Indians. The young Indian alcoholic has more conflicts with White soci- ety than with his own people. Frequent fines, arrests, prison terms, institutionalization, etc., interfere with his private l i f e , often to such a degree that he joins A.A.. in an effort to maintain sobriety to escape further molestation. Accordingly, one finds that Indian men fre- 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 join their brothers, boy-friends or husbands in drinking sprees, and not a few of these Indian women have alcohol problems. But since alcohol abuse is of greater consequence to the whole family in the case of women, they are found in A.A. groups even before becoming true alcoholics. Indian A.A. meetings are therefore attended by many more women than are gen- eral A.A. meetings. 2. Alcoholics are those excessive drinkers whose dependence upon alco- hol has attained such a degree that i t results, in noticeable mental disturbance, or in an interference with their bodily and mental health, their interpersonal relations, their smooth social 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 in and out of prison. Prison "camps situated i n the Lower Mainland are frequented by Indians from outside who attend A.A. meetings in the prison because they very often have friends or relatives doing terms for alcohol-connected offences.. Inmates are allowed to attend A.A. meetings in 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 in general, they frequently b a i l out non-Indian prisoners, too. At Indian A.A. meetings held in 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 even- ing. Guests, non-Indians and Indians alike, are always welcome in 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 Mostly young men and women with in their late 30's or older. Few, alcohol problems in the age group i f any,"women. of 20 to 40 years. Ratio of men to women approx. 7:1. Ratio of men to women approx. 1:1. Non-alcoholic relatives or friends Many non-alcoholic relatives and very rarely seen. friends present. Guest speakers.occasionally invited. Guests welcome. Few, i f any, prisoners even at A.A. Few non-Indians, most of them p r i - meetings in loca l i t i e s close to soners on leave at Indian A.A. prison camps. 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 in the fact that the alcoholics themselves contribute through their speeches. A newcomer i s never told that he might be an alcoholic, 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 identify with the members. Forgetting his defiance and resistance and hearing about the disastrous effects alcohol has had in other people's lives, he cannot help drawing his own conclusion: "It 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 alcoholic, 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 for a while. He might even increase his drinking "just to show them that I am not an alcoholic". But, as many A.A. members later confess, indulgence i s never again the same. A "softening-up stage", as A.A. calls i t , has begun and the drinker i s heading for a c r i s i s . Sooner or later, most drinkers who have gone to an A.A. meeting once, w i l l return for a second time. Some, of course, never come back, but many only need a few exposures to A.A. before they are ready to join, although they may need an A.A. friend to take them along. Few are those who w i l l not sooner or later yield to the s p i r i t of A.A. and resist the urge to stand up and confess: "My 31 name i s N. and an alcoholic". The novice i s then made familiar 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 his own history of sufferings. The experience of having a sympathetically l i s - tening audience, of being accepted and offered help in spite of reveal- ing one's weaknesses and faults, has a profound healing effect upon the alcoholic. It helps the alcoholic to overcome the loneliness and inferio r i t y feeling which accompanies his drinking l i f e . Since the speeches are personal confessions, they vary with the speaker's exper- ience and his religious and social background. An observer listening to speeches in general A.A. as well as in Indian A.A. groups, i s able to distinguish certain characteristic features of Indian speeches as compared to those of non-Indians. Non-Indian A.A. members have a tendency to keep their presen- tations impersonal and to handle problems theoretically. The level of sophistication, of course, varies with the speaker1s education, but expressions such as "ego strength", "neurotic patterns", "my super-ego", and other psychological terms are popular and often used to explain mis- conduct or to excuse relapses into drinking. Another tendency of non- Indians, in order to avoid "getting too serious", i s to talk i n grim humour about their own shortcomings. When mentioning God, this is often done ironically, such as by calling him the "big boss upstairs", or in the form of superficial jokes like this: 32 . "I used to get really drunk, so bad I could not stand any more. I did 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 still.drinking i t was: 'Good God, morningl" Non-Indian speakers strive to entertain; their speeches are often spiced with hilarious 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 certain A.A. members may be ex- pressed, but this is 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 ca 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 in the pubs before: "I like A.A. because we can laugh together. Just be happy together and s t i l l be sober". If Indians are present at a general A.A. meeting, non-Indian speakers may refer to them as "our Indian friends"-, but w i l l never elaborate on the Indian- White relationship as this is hardly of any concern to them. This is in sharp contrast to Indian A.A. speakers. They betray a strong pre- occupation with non-Indian A.A. members and with the Indian-White rela- tionship in general; when speaking at non-Indian A.A. meetings as well as ih their 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 in A.A., but they put up with me in spite of our backward ways." "She was a Whitawoman, but she was as much a sister 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 win1. . Well take a good look; here i s one Indian.that never won. But I slowly learnt to stick with the winners." In many Indian speeches the theme of Indian feelings towards White society i s paramount. The following passages from Indian speeches demonstrate the speakers' adroitness at self-scrutiny. Instead of only blaming the White man the Indians also look into their own problems with Western society. An Indian woman pleaded: "I know there are also White people in 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 feel we have been dis- criminated against, i t ' s a l l in 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. If i t was.not for him and the A.A. I would probably s i t down in some dark alley, f u l l of booze.and self- pity, and blame the damned world and the White man for bend- ing my arm. I did not want to go to the White alcoholics for help, because I did not want to degrade myself to their level. 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 his house with the words, 'You are not. f i t for a human being to live with. 34 - W h y d o n ' t y o u g o b a c k t o t h e I n d i a n s , m a y b e t h e y c a n h e l p y o u . ' B u t I s a i d : ' W h o m a d e . m e d r i n k ? I w i l l n o t g o b a c k t o t h e . I n d i a n s n o w , b e c a u s e t h e y w o u l d n o t w a n t m e e v e n o n a s i l v e r p l a t t e r ' . " O n e I n d i a n w o m a n e v e n v e n t u r e d t o m a k e a j o k e o u t o f h e r m i s e r y : " I t o o k m y l a s t d r i n k i n M a y 1 9 6 7 . C a n a d a w a s 1 0 0 y e a r s o l d , a n d I l i k e t o t h i n k t h a t w a s m y c e n t e n n i a l p r o j e c t . " B u t t h e n s h e c o n t i n u e d f u l l o f a n g e r : " A h u n d r e d y e a r s o f w h a t ? T h e y t o o k m y c o u n t r y a w a y f r o m m e , a n d l o o k w h a t h a p p e n e d t o m e . I w a s a c h i e f ' s d a u g h t e r . . . a n d l o o k a t m e n o w , n o t h i n g b u t a n o - g o o d d r u n k e n s l u t ! W h o w a n t s m e n o w ? " I n d i a n w o m e n u s u a l l y d i s p l a y a m i l d e r a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s n o n - I n d i a n s t h a n d o I n d i a n m e n . T h e y s t r e s s t h e v i r t u e o f b e i n g h u m b l e ; o f b e i n g a b l e t o u n d e r s t a n d a n d f o r g i v e i n s t e a d o f s h o w i n g h a t e ( " T o m e o n e o f t h e m o s t d r e a d f u l d i s e a s e s o f h u m a n i t y i s h a t r e d t o - w a r d s s e l f a n d o t h e r s " ) . T h e i r A . A . s p e e c h e s r e f l e c t c h a r a c t e r t r a i t s 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 w o m e n 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 : " I t w a s A . A . t h a t m a d e m e t a l k a n d h e l p e d m e t o t a k e c a r e o f m y f a m i l y . I h a v e l e a r n t m a n y t h i n g s i n A . A . I h a v e l e a r n t t o r e s p e c t m y h u s b a n d . I h a v e l e a r n t t h a t h e i s t h e b o s s - - n o t m e . I m u s t o b e y . I w a s t a u g h t t o o b e y m y s u p e r i o r , o b e y a n y o n e t h a t i s a h e a d o f y o u , e v e n i f t h e y a r e w r o n g . . . i t ' s o b e d i e n c e t h a t c o u n t s i n y o u r l i f e . I u s e d t o s a y t o m y h u s b a n d ' I h a t e y o u , y o u o l d b u g g e r ! ' - -n o w A . A . m a d e m e s a y - - ' C o m e o n , D a r l i n g ' . T h i s i s a b i g c h a n g e i n m e . " A t i m i d I n d i a n g i r l i n h e r " s o b e r i n g - u p p h a s e " i n A . A . , w a s i n c a p a b l e o f g i v i n g a t a l k . S h e w o u l d s t a n d i n f r o n t o f t h e a u d i e n c e , s h i v e r i n g a n d m u m b l i n g , t h e n r e t u r n t o h e r s e a t w i t h t e a r s i n h e r e y e s . 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 in non-Indian A.A. groups. As could be gathered from her statements, she had come to the conclusion that extreme passivity and ina b i l i t y to speak up for herself, were the main reasons for her alcohol abuse: "I can't see my way to fight. I get hurt but I can't fight. 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 in A.A. for two years and I think I am beginning to.become c i v i l i z e d . " In another speech she talked more about the "Indian feeling": "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.) try to do for us. It is pretty hard for my people to follow the program. It's hard to get them out of their shell. Once in a while we slide back, into that.old feeling. I think I ' l l use that word 'Indian feeling', you know. It's that feeling:., getting back into that shell, i t ' s kind of hard to get but. It's very sad." Steps 4 to 9 in 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 his 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 drink- ing, more than Indians would abuse White women. I have done a lot 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 their beer. I did a lot 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 in their A.A. speeches, but by exaggerating their own badness they turn selfs-accusatibn into bragging: "I was in a l l prisons from Canada to Seattle. If 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 thief, a cheat; you name i t , I was i t . " Another Indian man refers to his past in these terms: "I used to be real 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 fines. I missed 13 years in j a i l and I think I put in less than I deserved." One way of indirect boasting by an elderly Indian man, was to name the professionals and institutions with f u t i l e involvement in his sobering-up process over the years: "That was poor old me, you know. The house burned down, I lost my wife through booze. I was two years on skid-row, sev- eral times in the bucket, in Oakalla, in Chilliwack camps. I am trying to find 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 institution; 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 in A.A. Any man who has been through a l l these institutions and j a i l s learns something. It might be hard, but i t i s useful." Sometimes Indian men brag about their drinking l i f e in a color- f 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 is like to stand in the soup-line, I know what i t i s like to sleep on the dry dock or to go down and look for an empty box-car to sleep in. I once f e l l asleep in a box-car in Vancouver and sobered up in Kamloops. I sure made big eyes when I looked out. That was quite an experience." Listening to Indian men speaking in A.A. lets one think of them as great "alcohol heroes", instead of picturing them as the great 37 warriors they were in former days, when their own culture provided them with adequate outlets for aggressive and adventurous impulses. When joining A.A., Indian men have to give up their alcoholic feats. They have to make great efforts to turn aggression and hate into charity and love. The alcoholic Indian thus becomes extremely dependent upon the A.A. 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 in A.A. It i s a custom in A.A. to begin speeches by saying, "My name is N., I am an alcoholic". Indians often begin with: "My name is N., and I am a very grateful alcoholic". Their dependency upon the group, and on the feelings of love and gratitude, is expressed by Indian A.A. members: "The love I needed, I found i t here in A.A." "I need you here. I need you now, every day of my l i f e I need you people in A.A. Show me, t e l l me, watch me." "Here in A.A. we really learn what i t means to l i v e together. The love and compassion is beyond any description in the Eng- l i s h language as far as I am concerned." "Deep down in my heart I have so l i t t l e . I do know this, that the l i t t l e b i t I have is this wonderful fellowship in A.A. I love you a l l and I want you. The fellowship is a l l I want. You must allow me to love you in order for me to stay sober, one day at a time." Young Indian men are not always able to love away their aggres- sion. After times of abstinence and eager participation in A.A., they be- come restless and unable to "stay on the program". Periods of excessive drinking and exceptionally aggressive outbursts then follow. A young Indian privately excused his " f a l l i n g off the wagon" thus: 38 "I really am somebody when drunk. I can pick a fight with any strong guy without being scared. Many times I have landed i n prison for manhandling. There have been times when I nearly k i l l e d a man in drunken fights. 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 in A.A. during times of abstinence sounds quite differently: "I owe my sobriety to you people each time I have i t . There is no way I can thank you, no way I can pay you back. No mat- ter how much money you have, you can't buy this. When I need you, I need you a l l the time. If I don't go and get you, I might just as well go to a beer parlor. I come here for myself. I have not drunk for five months. These have been the five happiest months of my l i f e . To come here, to see you a l l , happy, smiling and not sick." A placid Indian man who has been fighting liquor successfully for years, refers in A.A. speeches to his feelings of aggression as "gar- bage". He i s able to get r i d of his h o s t i l i t y towards A.A. in his own way: "There are times when you can go and go unti l you run out of gas yourself, and then you have to go back to A.A. and get refuelledj you know. A l l this garbage I have got in 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 is what A.A. i s ; kind of like a garbage disposal, for me anyhow. It seems that this garbage collects and collects and collects, and then that stink- ing thinking comes back, you know. Me, ugly me starts coming out, that Jekyll 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 in A.A. Non-Indians Indians Tendency to be general instead of personal. Frequent use of psychological terms. Personal speeches, mostly in simple terms. 39 Non-Indians Strong emotions rarely displayed. God often referred to in half- joking manner. Hilarious gaiety and cameraderie. Former drinking buddies get to- gether, drinking coffee instead of alcohol. Sometimes confession-type speeches, but rarely with self-accusations. Indian-White relationship hardly ever mentioned. Indians Strong emotions often shown. No jokes about God. Love and gratitude,-'towards A.A. members expressed. Confession-type speeches the rule. Self-accusation often turned into bragging (Indian men). Indian-White relationship in fore- ground of concern. 40 CHAPTER III CULTURE CONFLICT AND ALCOHOL ABUSE Alcohol and the Indian-White Relationship When Simon Fraser descended the river which bears his name, in 1808, he was the f i r s t White man ever seen by the Indians along the river banks. During the f i r s t years of sporadic White-Indian contact, White men were appreciated because of the wonderful new tools and other uten- s i l s they traded. They were often received with courtesy and hospitality: "These Indians showed us every possible mark of kindness; having taken up our quarters with them for 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 set- tlers encroached upon Indian.lands in increasing numbers. Settlement and especially the onslaught of thousands of unscrupulous gold seekers who flooded the Fraser Valley after the middle of the 19th century, threatened the Indians' existence. Any attempt to resist 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 realized that they could not fight the ever- increasing number of settlers. The Coast Salish Indians were not given the opportunity to withdraw on large reserves like many other Indian groups in Canada. Their reserves were small but numerous and scattered among the White population. They have ever since had to l i v e in close 41 proximity to the White man, and the relationship between the two has been — and s t i l l i s — complex and d i f f i c u l t . Confusion about the d i f - ferences between traditional native and modern "Christian" ethics and beliefs i s s t i l l f e l t , and the high loss of Indian lives through small- pox and other epidemics is s t i l l believed to be due to the e v i l doings 1 of Whites who wished to see the Red man perish. The Indians' attitude towards the Whites remains therefore colored by suspicion, distrust, fear and bitterness. But since the Indian people for two generations have been unable to exist without the cooperation and help of Western man, they have tried to forget these negative feelings and striven to obtain the friendship of their new neighbours. Alcohol has played a decisive role in these efforts, as the liquor used and offered by the White man became a symbol of friendship and equality to the Indians. Identification with Whites can easily be observed in 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 his acceptance in a White environment which barred him from most other forms of social contact (Lemert 1954; Robertson 1970). The White labourers, loggers and fishermen living and working among the Coast Salish Indians, set the pattern of heavy rapid 1. "The most terrible single calamity to befall the Indians of British Columbia was the smallpox epidemic which started in Victoria in 1862 ...and within two years i t had reached practically 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 their heavy t o l l s . " (Duff 1964; pp. 42-43) 42 drinking, drinking for the purpose of becoming drunk (Hawthorn 1960; Lemert 1958; Buckley 1968). Alcohol facil i t a t e d communication between Indians and Whites. It worked both ways: "Once long ago, I got drunk with an Indian....It's an awful proposition, but that might have been the most real thing I've ever done with an Indian." (Fry 1970, p. 145) Drinking alcohol thus fac i l i t a t e s communication between the partners; White and Indian feel they are on equal footing when becoming drunk together. Hostility, which Indians harbour towards Whites but which they rarely show towards them when sober, comes out half-jokingly when both meet over a glass of liquor. Even fighting with words or f i s t s is then possible without ruining the newly established friendship. Thus alcohol i s used to "bribe the transition from a hostile role to that of a friend" (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 in his own family and to the disruption of friendship ties with his kin. Before long the Indian found himself in trouble with alcohol. He saw his money disappear, his family break up, his ethical standards lowered and himself ja i l e d and despised by the very people whose recognition he wanted to win. Naturally, he came to see the evils of liquor as an additional calamity brought upon him by the White man (Lemert 1954; Dailey 1968), and this reinforced his old suspicion that the White man was out to destroy him — now with alcohol! It i s a common belief among Coast Salish Indians even today, that R.C.M.P officers enrich themselves through fines collected from drunken Indians. 43 Some older Indians in this area go so far in their suspicious attitude as to believe that alcohol sold to Indians i s in some way poisoned, and to them this explains why the Indians become more quickly addicted and more disturbed than non-Indians. That such a belief, as absurd as i t might sound today, has i t s roots in historical facts, i s accounted for in stories of the frontier days. The so-called "Indian whiskey" of the past has been described as a v i l e potion that was drugged and diluted 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 liquor. Mixtures contain- ing bluestone v i t r i o l , a copper compound, and n i t r i c acid.... Vanilla extract and Jamaica ginger, as well as Florida water and cologne, proved highly popular drinks with natives in some areas (around Victoria during the Gold Rush of 1858-1864) ....The frequency of death and the great disorganization of behaviour caused by drinking also is understandable in the light of the highly toxic and poisonous qualities of the bev- erages the Indians drank with gusto." (Lemert 1954, p. 307) This indicates how unscrupulous White traders were in the 2 choice of their means of cheating Indians, and the memory of this must have been kept alive among Coast Salish Indians to account for their suspicion even towards the liquor bought at government stores. How intimately Indian alcohol abuse is related to the Indian- White relationship, i s usually not revealed to the non-Indian investiga- tor. When directly asked, "Why do you drink?" most Indians w i l l give 2. Cheating Indians by selling them toxic liquors was a going joke in 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 five bars of soap to give i t a bead, and half a pound of red pepper, and then you put in some sagebrush and b o i l i t un t i l i t ' s brown." (Abbott, c i t . Winkler 1968, p. 430) 44 insignificant answers l i k e : "I don't know"; "Because I like i t " ; or, "How can I t e l l you when I don't know i t myself?". These are essentially avoidance, responses masking the strong emotions stirred up by such ques- tions. Most Indians for many reasons do not want to reveal the negative feelings provoked by such inquiries. By giving non-informative answers they are able to keep up a friendly attitude towards the non-Indian questioner. In a psychotherapeutic setting, however, when an Indian patient comes for help regarding his alcohol-connected disturbances, the situa- tion is different. If the therapist maintains total acceptance of, and empathy with, his Indian patient, the latter w i l l forget his usual con- cern about making a good impression upon his White counterpart and reveal his core complex, i.e. the cluster of socio-eultural ideas charged with strong emotions resulting from the Indian-White conflict; h o s t i l i t y to- wards the Whites who are looked upon as oppressors; anger about perceived discriminations; frustration because of identity conflicts; shame over the moral confusion and material poverty of the Indian people; despair over the destructive effects of the "White man's firewater", and grief 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 in the unconscious" (Jung 1906). The presence of a complex points to something "unfinished", to weak spots in the personality. According to Jung, complexes originate i n trau- matic experiences, emotional shocks and unresolved conflicts in the individual's remote or recent past, by which a fragment of the psyche is 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 to the expression of shame and depression. 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 really put the fear of the Lord in them, the priests that came west. They were real s t r i c t . It was the Devil, the practice of Indian dancing. As punishment i t was Hell. The Indians believed them and were t e r r i f i e d about Hell and a l l that. With this kind of strain there was a s p l i t . Some became enfranchised. That's a big thing. Enfranchisement is just a name for surrender, a l l hope of living as an Indian was gone and the man that surrendered lost his pride. Others withdrew on the reserves. No work on the reserves, drifting down to town. . Disappointments down there. White man offered drink. Old alcohol says 'You'll be alright. 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 river when we fish and offer us 2 or 3 bottles of whiskey for our salmon. Whiskey makes the poor man feel rich, the old feel young, so we smile and take the whiskey with hate in our heart, and give him the salmon." As we have demonstrated, Indian use and misuse of alcohol is closely related to the interaction between Indians and Whites. In order to solve his alcohol problem, the Indian has to resolve his core complex; be i t through a new effort to gain, the friendship of non-Indians and to forget the past, or by rejecting White culture in a constructive attempt to find a separate Indian identity. Alcoholics Anonymous has become a forum for this struggle. Alcoholics Anonymous and the Indian-White Relationship Indians with alcohol problems turning to churches, hospitals, cli n i c s and other Western institutions are often disenchanted, not only because of the paternalistic attitudes they encounter, but also because 46 the atmosphere in these institutions is foreign to them. The Coast Salish Indians, with their cultural 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 is a desire to stop drinking.... Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do.not govern" (from the Twelve Traditions of A.A.). One's socio-cultural or racial background is sup- posed to be irrelevant in this organization. In A.A. the Indian meets non- Indians, who like 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 different character as alcohol i s only indirectly 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 in A.A. It takes a long time un t i l an Indian can really trust the White . man but in A.A. there are times when he can say — 'this i s really my friend'. We a l l help each other to stay sober. To me alcoholism is one of the illnesses that can bring people together and people to have compassion. There is something in A.A. that you get after being remember the kind of guy you were before, then you feel 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 relation- ship manifested in the Indians' A.A. speeches (vide supra, pp. 30-38) indicates that they are working towards a conflict solution. Indians even venture to express hostile 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 joining A.A., many Indians stress that they like the personal freedom and the feeling 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 typical com- ments: "In A.A. there is no must." "If you become the chairman you can make the meeting like you want i t . " "Anybody can come in and s i t down." "If 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 for many Indians who join A.A., can be seen from the following answers: "The White people also have (alcoholic) problems. A.A. helps them to understand us better." "In a lot of A.A. places I went to, White people are friendly with Indians; not a l l of. them but lots, 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 did that result in a sharp increase in 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 against the White man. However, without the disinhibiting effect of liquor, they remain timid and quiet in the meetings. White alcoholics coming to A.A. are, as a rule, completely unaware of the Indians' feelings,,and do not dis- play any special interest in the Indians present. Indian participants are mostly too inhibited to i n i t i a t e contact; they are therefore, easily overlooked by the. others, which is readily interpreted by the oversen- sitive Indians as dislike or discrimination. Actually there is_ a certain amount of discrimination against Indians even in A.A. in spite of this organization's stress upon equality "regardless of race and creed", and this can easily be e l i c i t e d in interviews with non-Indian A.A. members. There is the stereotyped belief by non-Indian members that Indians have a harder time attaining sobriety because they are "more irresponsible"; "weaker" and "less able to fight" than other members. Grumbled a senior A.A. member: "In my humble opinion anybody who undertakes to sober up a bunch of Indians have got an almost impossible job on their 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 their 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. It's a habit they've got and always have had as far as I am concerned." 49 Some non-Indian members display an ambivalent'attitude of t o l - erance and resentment towards Indian participants: "Well, i t ' s a l l right to have them in the meeting, but I don't have to live with them." Sev- eral Indians bi t t e r l y complained that non-Indians do not greet Indian A.A. members outside the meetings, but behave as i f they do not know them at a l l . 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 friendly inclined, showing great willingness to help the Indian alcoholics in their struggle for 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 in A.A. are due to thoughtlessness on the part of the non-Indians, and to hyper- sensitivity on the part of the Indians. Any disparaging remark from a non-Indian A.A. member, hardly noticed by anybody else,.might suffice to shatter the good w i l l and confidence the Indian has built 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. It affec- ted me so much, the feeling I had of hatred, my thinking went right back to the old 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 old 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 follow- ing 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 you'll never make i t : you are lazy, you have no. consistency, and you are an Indian.' It was said as a joke, but he had no right to give her points like that." So far we have quoted some of the reasons usually given for the sp l i t in 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 alcoholics. Women who in spite of strong social sanctions be- come alcoholics are usually emotionally or mentally disturbed and are, as a rule, channelled to other treatment resources at an early date. In gen- eral A.A. meetings, men therefore, far outnumber women. It is rare to see more than two or three women in a meeting with twenty or more men. In Coast Salish Indian culture far less stigma i s attached to being drunk, even in the case of women, and i t i s quite usual that both men and women indulge in heavy drinking. Obviously i t is more disruptive for a family when the mother drinks and neglects her children, who might be removed by social agencies. Indian women with alcohol problems are therefore in general more eager to seek help than are men. As a result, when Indians attend general A.A. meetings,.there i s an influx of women 51 into a prevalent White male milieu. Whereas Indian males tend to be overlooked in 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 is d i f f i c u l t to break for both partners, even when alcohol is 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. rivals, and i t is therefore not surprising that i t is mainly Indian men who propagate separate Indian A.A. groups. Most of them want the meetings to be held on the reserves, probably in 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 in coping with White male members: "Some White guys get ideas in A.A. They don't understand that i t is different; that in 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 is incompatible with general A.A. policy to divide groups along racial lines, the Indians had to find plausible reasons for the formation of Indian A.A. groups. They w i l l , e.g., rationalize the move by stating that i t is more "convenient" and that they get more In- dians to attend meetings located on the reserves. This is only partly true, since the reserves are small and widely scattered, and most Indians have to travel far to attend meetings on other reserves. More commonly the blame is put on the non-Indians by c r i t i c i z i n g the atmosphere in gen- eral A.A. meetings: 52 "The White A.A. group is very proud, they don't want us there." "It's too big, a snobbish big group of Whites." "White groups are too social, i t ' s like a social club, too much joking, especially about Indians and about God." "I sat for four years in A.A. feeling that these White people didn't want me, so I said to myself, I am not going there any more." Then perceived discrimination is 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 in the White A.A. The feeling of belonging is not so strong as in our group." "We had to be really careful^with anonymity there. More s t r i c t than in our group. Indians don't care for that, we like to have our children there and lots of friends." Summary: The dialectic process of Indian-White interactions in the context of drinking. Phase one: acceptance 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 interaction. Friendship based on common enjoyment of liquor. Phase two: abuse of alcohol Alcohol used to alleviate the anxiety and frustration generated in Indian- White interaction. Resulting poverty and misery leads to rejection of the "drunken Indian" by Whites. Resentment instead of friendship. Phase three: rejection of alcohol Alcohol again.the context of Indian- White interaction in Alcoholics Anonymous Renewal of friendship on the basis of common struggle against liquor. 53 Phase four: abstinence from alcohol Solving of problems regarding Indian- White interaction 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 identity — Indian A.A. groups. Is the Indian A.A. Developing Into a Nativistic 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 in 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 non-Indian members. But many Indians have f e l t the conflict deepen through the close contact with Whites in the general A.A. and have chosen the alternative approach for solving their problems, reacting to their own feelings of being disliked and discriminated against, by a voluntary return into iso- lation; 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 latter is perceived as unfair or threatening. This does not necessarily mean that the minority group remains in apathy, rather i t i s "an attempt by the withdrawing group to resolve internal con- tradictions arising out of external impact." Schwimmer's hypothesis applied to our example suggests that although the Indians avoid direct 54 confrontation with the majority group in A.A. by forming their own A.A., they are s t i l l dealing with the internal conflicts arising from the ex- ternal impact of Western society, i.e. with their bitterness, i n f e r i o r i t y feelings and resentments, and their hate for the White man. Our obser- vations tend to confirm this. Preoccupation with Indian-White relation- ships does not in the least diminish as one could have expected, but is rather intensified in Indian A.A. meetings. Open discussion of these conflicts is fa c i l i t a t e d by the fact that the Indians are among them- selves. Not having to be afraid of offending anybody, they can air c r i - ticism of Whites and compare their own virtues with the others' faults. This attempt at self-healing leads the Indians to look for something • within themselves, which is 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 calls symbolic competition is now coming into play: "Certainly, the key to the understanding of ethnic minori- ties i s the history of oppression and .exploitation they have experienced at the hands of the dominant group... theorists have been inclined to under-estimate the richness of the sym- bolic edifices that oppressed peoples build out of the facts of their oppression...the symbolic systems that thus emerge ...are opposition ideologies... the principal characteristic of these ideologies is that they contain.the idealised image of a culture." (Schwimmer 1970, p. 5) What on the surface might look like the traditional system with i t s rituals and beliefs i s , according to Schwimmer, in reality an opposition ideology. It is 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 level which 55 leaves the actual power relationship unchanged, but which gives the oppressed people a belief in their own superiority. An abstract of some pamphlets which a group of active Indian A.A. members wrote for distribution in A.A. meetings w i l l i l l u s t r a t e the applicability of Schwimmer's theory to processes going on in Coast Salish Indian A.A. groups: "Indian culture is one of Spiritual l i v i n g in harmony with. Nature, a way of l i f e with respect and concern, giving and sharing....We are a mystical people, believing in equality, liv i n g for the present with patience and silence (non- aggressiveness to our White brother with no apparent aware- ness of time). The Indian culture provided consistency in love and understanding with honesty. Yes, the Indian lived with individual identity with a feeling of worth which gave him pride....The land i s called 'Mother Earth', the sun is called 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 Spirit 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 religious freedom, yet converting others to his particular religion which seems but a segment of his l i f e . He came with a s p i r i t of competitive- ness and a concern for self, 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 in the future, speeding toward space liv 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 in not giving the Indian equal opportunity for edu- cation or employment without prejudice, you have created mis- trust. We have lived in your world of dominance and paterna- lism 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 Tribal Alcoholism Program 1970. 56 The value system of the majority group is no longer accepted but presented as something bad per se, in a binary opposition to the values of Indian culture which now are perceived as good per se. Criticism of non-Indians and their A.A. groups in contrast to Indians and their way of conducting A.A. meetings is reflected in 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 feel . S "Our people in our culture have expressions of love and con- cern for each other. We love and need each other in A.A. In the White A.A. they are more concerned about anonymity. They're not very honest." "The White A.A. is cold, they use too big words." Indians who frequent general A.A. meetings and make friends among non-Indian A.A. members, experience considerable stress when mix- ing with fellow Indians who are s t i l l drinking. When refusing to give or take a drink, they are accused of "acting like a White man",of "thinking they are better than we are". It is d i f f i c u l t enough for In- , dians to accept the teaching of A.A. which is 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 in their fight against alcohol through A.A. must find ways out of this unpleasant dilemma. One way is to assure each other that the philosophy of A.A. originated in Indian culture rather than in Western c i v i l i z a t i o n . As one ardent ad- vocate of separate Indian A.A. put i t : 57 "The fellowship of A.A. was here long before the White man came along, because we had this fellowship. We had this Indian healing and we firmly agree that i t works. It works as well as A.A." Another Indian stated bluntly "the A.A. way of l i f e i s the In- dian way of l i f e " , and in the pamphlet of the Lummi Tribal Alcoholism Pro- gram we read: "Alcoholics Anonymous as group therapy provides the needs or basic principles of Indian culture....In this 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 in the Lummi Indian Culture....The basic principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.are those same basic principles taught by the Lummi Indian Culture." The desire to find links between the teaching of A.A.. and old Indian culture runs like 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. in this light, we realize how important, i t i s to the. Indians to stress differences rather than to adjust their 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 meet- ings open for anybody to attend, as was the custom when Coast Salish Indians had gatherings in the past. Whereas non-alcoholics attending a general A.A. meeting are usually ignored, they w i l l be treated as honoured guests in an Indian A.A. meeting, as they would have been at a potlatch in 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" his pres- ence and w i l l say a few friendly words of introduction. The group responds with handclapping and friendly 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 in their struggle against alcoholism, i t is customary in A.A. to have a small celebration each time a member has an anniversary of sobriety. The celebrated member is praised for his 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 alike 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 in his honour and during coffee break the relatives w i l l take great cut- ting the cake and distributing 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 pre- sent, publicly announcing the birth of a son (an interesting mixture of Western and Indian culture elements). Feasting sometimes continues at a member's home after the A.A. meeting is closed. Indians may refer to such A.A. celebration as "a big do", or a "potlatch". If 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 in front of the other participants. Said an Indian woman when asked why she had not attended a certain meeting: "I don't like to go to meetings on that reserve, i t ' s always about the N.N. family." 59 T h e o n l y r e q u i r e m e n t f o r m e m b e r s h i p i n A . A . i s a d e s i r e t o s t o p d r i n k i n g . I n s t e a d o f r u l e s , A . A . h a s t h e s o - c a l l e d " T w e l v e S t e p s 5 i n t h e L a d d e r o f C o m p l e t e S o b r i e t y . " T h e f i r s t s t e p i s f o r t h e a l c o - h o l i c t o a d m i t t h a t h e i s p o w e r l e s s o v e r a l c o h o l a n d t h a t , a s a r e s u l t o f t h i s , h i s l i f e h a s b e c o m e u n m a n a g e a b l e . T h e r e a r e e l e v e n m o r e s t e p s w h i c h h a v e t o b e t a k e n b e f o r e t a c k l i n g t h e l a s t , a " s p i r i t u a l a w a k e n i n g " e n a b l i n g t h e a l c o h o l i c t o l i v e a l i f e o f s o b r i e t y . T o t h e C o a s t S a l i s h I n d i a n s t h i s p r o c e d u r e e c h o e s t h e m e s o f t h e i r o l d c u l t u r e . T h e s t e p s a r e r i t u a l s w h i c h t h e A . A . m e m b e r h a s t o g o t h r o u g h i n o r d e r t o c h a n g e f r o m h i s m i s e r a b l e d r i n k i n g s e l f t o a c o m p l e t e l y n e w p e r s o n , r e a d y t o p a r t i - c i p a t e i n t h e " A . A . w a y 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 w e 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 a n d " d e a t h " h a v e t o p r e c e d e t h e n o v i c e ' s " r e b i r t h " a s a c o m p l e t e l y c h a n g e d p e r s o n , n o w r e a d y t o l i v e a n " I n d i a n w a y o f l i f e " . T h i s m y t h o f d e a t h a n d r e b i r t h i s m i r r o r e d i n m a h y I n d i a n A . A . s p e e c h e s : " I w a s s o f a r d o w n a s I t h i n k n o t m a n y p e o p l e h a v e t o g o b e -f o r e I j o i n e d A . A . " " I w a s a t t h e e n d o f m y r o p e . " " I w a s s o s i c k I w a s n e a r l y d y i n g . " " I f e l t l i k e I w a s g o i n g t o k i l l m y s e l f . " T h e s e a n d s i m i l a r p h r a s e s p a r a l l e l t h e " d e a t h " o f t h e i n i t i a t e . T h e r e a r e v i v i d a c c o u n t s o f t h e " o r d e a l s " t h e y h a v e t o g o t h r o u g h b e f o r e f i n d i n g a " n e w 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 - t i o n a l i z a t i o n . A n e l d e r l y I n d i a n w h o h a d b e e n a h e a v y d r i n k e r b u t j o i n e d A . A . m a n y y e a r s a g o a n d t h e n b e c a m e o n e o f t h e f o u n d e r s o f a n I n d i a n A . A . g r o u p , r e m e m b e r e d h i s s a l v a t i o n i n t h e f r a m e w o r k o f t h i s m y t h . A c c o r d i n g 5. V i d e A p p e n d i x . 60 to hospital r e c o r d s t h i s man was once admitted because of slight i n - juries when f a l l i n g out of bed in a drunken state. He was kept over- night in the hospital, but released the next day after having sobered up since no major pathology was found. In his story he was "deadly i l l " when taken to hospital. For four days he could neither eat nor drink (corresponding to the four days fasting period in the s p i r i t ceremonial); he was staying in 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 " in the ceremonial). At f i r s t he could only sip milk (initiates are "babies") and his friends took turns in 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 start a new l i f e in A.A. The Indians c a l l their anniversary celebrations in A.A. "birthday parties" and sometimes refer to new mem- bers as "babies" and to their sponsors, i f these are Indians, as "baby sit t e r s " . "I was only 6 months old when we started a group on the re- serve", said an Indian g i r l , indicating that she had been abstinent through A.A. for the last half year. ^ The second of the twelve steps of A.A. states "We came to be- lieve 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 in their speeches, provide further clues as to how far the integration of Coast Salish culture elements and Indian A.A. concepts has progressed. 61 In Coast Salish culture each person had to acquire his own s p i r i t power. It was conceived as an individual power and surrounded with great secrecy. Indians often refer to the higher Power in the A.A. program as "my higher Power". Whereas the A.A. program speaks about "God as we understand him", Indians usually say, "My higher Power as I understand him". It i s perceived as a personal power similar to the s p i r i t power of the Winter ceremonials in 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" in A.A. has become a syncretization of the Christian God and the Indian s p i r i t power: "I feel that the spritual way in A.A. is a good way, because spiritual 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 be- lieved. Sya'wan6 is the great Spirit. Now when we learn in English i t is 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 in the revived Coast Salish Winter dance ceremonials. Among them, the fusion of the Power concepts is complete. A newly initiated Spirit dancer who already had been active in A.A. for 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 in there (winter dance i n i t i a t i o n ) , I a l - ready had i t in A.A." 6. Sya'wan (Halkomelem dialect, Coast Salish area): Power conferred by the guardian s p i r i t ; signified 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 sponsored him in A.A., he ans- wered: "My sponsor is sya'wan. My higher Power gave me my song (for the s p i r i t dance), he i s my sponsor throughout the year" (in contrast to the traditional sy9'w^n power is only active during winter sea- son) . In the words of an Indian A.A. sponsor who also sponsors spi- r i t dance initiates: "There is a fellowship in dancing in the same way as in A.A.; i t ' s the same thing. In the dancing they teach you to be com- patible with everybody. The Power you get in the dancing is the same higher Power as you have in A.A." The spi r i t dances can be viewed as a treatment, for alcohol abuse complementary to A.A.: "A.A. is a round the year treatment. Sya'wan is from November to March only", or as a woman dancer jokingly 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 be- lieve in my sya'wan, I always have the fellowship and my higher Power in A.A.". An old Indian, who in his younger days had a severe alcohol problem, but has been abstinent for many years and i s a leading figure both in the Indian A.A. and at Indian ceremonials, expressed this 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 is a basic spiritual way of l i f e . Their philosophies are the same, but they do i t differently. The philosophy of A.A. is the old Indian way only to a certain extent. Indian dancing is' our heritage." 63 Linton (1943) defines a nativistic movement as "any conscious organized attempt on the part of a society's members to revive or per- petuate selected aspects of their culture". The Coast Salish Indians who have started separate Indian A.A. groups are too few in number to be called a nativistic movement. The fusion of the Indian concept of s p i r i t power with the concept of a Higher Power in A.A. as demonstrated above, is one of the' indicators that Indian A.A. may develop into a nativistic movement. Ac- cording to Aberle (1966) ,A.A. would be classified as a redemptive move- ment whose symbolism i s syncretistic with some nativistic overtones. It aims at a total change in individuals. In this category are many sectarian movements, aiming at a state of grace. The A.A. members ex- press this ideal change by referring to "being reborn" and "starting a new l i f e " . The Coast Salish concept of sya'wan, i s a culture element distinctly Indian, and not shared, or even understood, by the non-Indian members. According to Linton such an occurrence i s characteristic of nativistic movements: "Certain current or remembered elements of culture are selec- ted for emphasis and given symbolic value. The more distinc- tive such elements are with respect to other cultures with which the society i s in contact, the greater their potential value as symbols of the society's unique character." (Linton 1943, p. 231) .. Reviewing our material, we find the following elements of "nativism" in Indian A.A.: 1) the emphasis on death and rebirth i n the individual history of A.A. members; patterned after the traditional 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 " in A.A. in contrast to the l i f e outside A.A.; 3) the reference to the new members as "babies", to their sponsors as "baby sitters" and their anniversaries as "birthdays", as custom- ary in the Coast Salish winter dance ceremonials; 4) the potlatch-type of feasting in Indian A.A. groups; 5) the fusion of the universal Christian God and the personal Coast Salish s p i r i t power to "my Higher'Power" in A.A. According to Linton (1943) the phenomena to which the term nativistic i s applied, have in common the factors of selection of cul- ture elements and deliberate, conscious efforts to perpetuate such ele- ments, i.e. revi 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 frustrating experiences and perceived discrimination in the general A.A. Certain elements of traditional Coast Salish 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 certain aspects of Western culture which are obviously superior to aboriginal equivalents. This i s precisely .what the leader of the above mentioned Lummi group expresses: "The White members train us in A.A. and give us knowledge, then we adapt i t to our own culture." 65 The Future of A.A. Among the Coast Salish Indians . From the very f i r s t contact with alcohol, Indians have sensed i t s danger, but their pleading with the Whites not to s e l l them liquor mostly went unheeded. We therefore know very l i t t l e about the Indian's own efforts in the fight against alcohol, especially during the period of early White-Indian contact. A passage from Thwaites (1896) "The Jesuit Relations", is of interest, as i t reflects feelings regarding alcohol similar to those expressed today by Coast Salish 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 river 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 latter w i l l believe that the English wish to ex- terminate them." (Cit. Dailey 1968, p. 53) The famous pledge by Chief L i t t l e Turtle, asking the United States president to guard the Indians against the "fatal poison", alco- hol, promoted the introduction of legislation to control liquor t r a f f i c with the Indians, which became effective in America in the early 19th century. Some Indian tribes formed councils to decide on penalties, for drunkenness, sometimes forcing the drunkards to leave their villages and live in the woods (Dailey 1968), and Shore (1970) informs us that a number of Coast Salish Indian reservations i n Washington state s t i l l maintain local prohibition laws of their own, either forbidding sale of liquor or imposing control on i t s distribution. The ways in which non-Indian institutions, such as religious groups and law-enforcement agencies have influenced Indian drinking, w i l l 66 be dealt with&in the last part of this 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 effec- tive than efforts by Western agencies. Four North American Indian religious movements are here pre- sented 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 differs from the three other movements insofar as i t uses a hallucinogenic drug to induce an altered state of conscious- ness during the ceremony, whereas in the other cults possession states are attained without such device. The mescaline-containing cactus peyote was one of the magic drugs of pre-Columbian Mexico. It was elevated to the rank of a deity and surrounded with religious 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 tribes in North America, fi n a l l y encompassing an area which extends from Canada's prairie pro- vinces to the Southwestern states, and from the Midwest to the Rockies. Today the peyotist movement is organized i n the Native American Church of North America. Aberle (1966) has with a comprehensive analysis of the peyote religion as i t is practiced among Navaho Indians. In the context of his classification of social movements, Aberle defines peyotism as a redemptive movement with syncretistic Christian, nativistic, and nationalistic pan-Indian aspects: 67 "Peyotism, then, i s a redemptive movement, a religion of Indians involved i n , but not f u l l participants in the White world. It provides a validation of their partial separation and identity, an ethic adaptive to their social position, and a set of compensations for their most pressing depriva- tions." (Aberle 1966, p. 337) Members of this church believe that peyote was given by God to the American Indians in order that they might communicate more directly with Him. Ritual and liturgy i s the product of a syncretistic amalga- mation of Christian forms with the ceremonial symbolism and practices of many Indian tribes. The songs entail Christian ideas expressed in Indian languages and traditional Indian melodies. Bergman (1971), who is the f i r s t psychiatrist to write on peyotism, reports that few of the 200 peyotists he interviewed experienced.true hallucinations during the peyote service; pleasant visions occur at times. High ethical standards are emphasized and st 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 called peyotism "a better antidote to alcohol than anything the missionaries, the white man, the American Medical Associa- tion, and the Public Health Service have come up with" (Bergman 1971). However, i t is not the hallucinogenic cactus i t s e l f which i s the anti- dote, i t i s rather the participation in the psychotherapeutic ritu a l of the peyote cult. Comparable results have been achieved without the use of psychotropic agents i n other religious movements with a strong sense of belonging and group solidarity. , Examples are provided by the New Religion, the Ghost Dance, and the Indian "Shaker Church. 68 The spiritual leaders of these movements had to f u l f i l l the myth of "death and rebirth" in 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 Smohalla was " k i l l e d " i n a fight. They a l l returned from, heaven or from the s p i r i t world after having received their revelation. They returned to their people; were "reborn" to teach their followers what they had heard and seen in 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 their followers to indulge in alcohol and other vices, stressing complete abstinence — just like A.A. today. 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 his 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 in pain, vapor steaming from their throats. This was the eternal punishment awaiting those who persisted in drink- ing "firewater" after 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 religious doctrine, now called Gaiwiio, has changed somewhat over the years, combining elements of Iroquois culture with Handsome Lake's original 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 influential among the Western Indians as did the Gaiwiio religion in the East. Slocum's religion was established as the Indian Shaker Church in 1910. The Ghost Dance followers never reached the status of a church, but according to Mooney (1896) they strongly influenced the Shaker Church, especially 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 California, Oregon and the Coast Salish Indians of Washington and British Columbia (Collins 1950). How effective the Shakers have been in their control of alcohol abuse has been reported from the very beginning: "They practice the strictest morality, sobriety and honesty. Their 500 or 600 members are models, and i t is 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 cult, the ceremonials of the three Indian religious movements mentioned above also contain elements of Christianity combined with traditional Indian rituals. Possession states are sought; the experience of in-group feelings and solidarity i s of great importance to the participants. Peyotism has not yet reached the Coast Salish Indians. 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 in 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 in 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 off 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 different i n - fluences affecting Coast Salish Indian A.A. Aboriginal Influences Western Influences _ Roman Catholic Church Prophet Dance of the Plateau V- — ~~ // s / Military Pageantry y _ •"/ Mormon Church * — / — Ghost Dance or Dreamer ^ ̂  ^__^J. •— Kr ~~ ~~ / ^Methodist Church Religion of Smohalla / ^ / ^Presbyterian Church . . ^ /^^^-^ ^ __ __ Pentecostal Church Indian Shaker Church 7 ^ ~ "~ —English Shaker Church \ Traditional Coast Salish Oxford Group (Evangelistic) Culture ^ A.A. Indian A.AK To many Indians, A.A. has become a substitute for the established Churches. In aboriginal re l i g i o n . i t was the guardian s p i r i t ("my sp i r i t power") which helped a person in d i f f i c u l t l i f e situations. In the Shaker Church i t was the shak'ing ("my shake") which gave a person the power to heal and to live a wholesome l i f e , and in A.A. i t i s the 7. Cf. Barnett (1957), pp. 333-336. 71 "Power greater than ourselves" ("my Higher Power") which guides the a l - coholic Indian to sobriety. How Indians compare A.A. to a Church, and the activity during an A.A. meeting to a religious service, can easily be demonstrated. For instance, when saying.the so-called "serenity 8 prayer1!*) (which Indians often c a l l "sobriety prayer") at the end of the meeting, they w i l l stand up, their heads bent, eyes closed and hands folded as in church. They also end this prayer with a loud "Amen", although this i s not the custom in non-Indian A.A. In many speeches Indians express their religious attitude to- wards A.A.: "It's like religion. You confess like to the priest, only i t ' s better because there i s no priest 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 in A.A., the Big Book, and the twelve steps are. our commandments.". "You have your own belief and I have mine. This A.A. way of l i f e for me i s my Church. A l l I want is my A.A. because i t means my l i f e andsmy sobriety.". From the turn of the century until the 1930's, the Shaker Church, more than other Churches, represented a barrier against alcohol abuse among the Coast Salish 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 in 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 qualities was looked upon as a leader. Persecution and bitter personal experiences taught the followers that no Indian religious 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 hierarchical s t r u c t u r e — bishops,, ministers, elders and mis- sionaries — "has been superimposed upon a native religious movement by a White man whose model was a generic Protestant Church" (Barnett 1957, p. 124). The Coast Salish Indians had other than l e g a l i s t i c c r i - teria for 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 different bishops. Bitter quarrels evolved among them about the doctrines of the Church. Rather than facing controversial issues by a demand for unity, the alternative of avoiding f r i c t i o n by dividing the group was preferred, as this was custom in Coast Salish culture. In the 1930"s came a fin a l s p l i t into two factions; those who wanted to emulate Chris- tian Churches (long ceremonies with Bible reading "White" hymns, piano music and English language) and those who wanted to keep the Indian tradition (short services with more shaking and dancing, use of indigenous 73 languages and strong emphasis on healing practices). The former group has friendly relations with the Pentecostal Church and other-Western evangelical sects. They invite 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 specific Indian Church (Collins 1950). The other branch subscribes to anti-White attitudes. There i s a pronounced feel- ing among these Shakers that their religion belongs to the Indians; i t is regarded as a special dispensation by God. for the benefit of the Indians. But currently even this brand of Shakerism i s losing adherents. Indians who want to stress their Indianness are apt to participate in 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 original Indian Shaker Church as well as the s p i r i t dance ceremonials are rooted in traditional Indian culture and are conceived as specifically Indian; Whites are dis- couraged from participation. Involvement in these ceremonials is for the Indian therefore- a way of solving the White-Indian conflict by segregation. A.A. is an organization which stresses, integration, and as we have demonstrated, i t increases interaction between Indians and Whites. Even i n Indian A.A., White members are welcome to participate, i.e. In- dians involved in A.A. are striving to solve the White-Indian .conflict by interaction rather than isolation. Indians might feel uncomfortably aware of their minority status when attending non-Indian A.A. meetings. 74 In the Indian A.A., however, they feel at home. There the situation i s reversed; they are in the majority and the Whites form the minority. Here i s a constellation resembling the situation when the Indian culture was in i t s zenith, when the Indians as proud hosts invited the White men as their guests. In Indian A.A. they can again offer 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 feeling 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 is more "warmth", "honesty" and "friendship" in the Indian A.A. group. A typical example of this attitude was a young seemingly de- pressed White alcoholic, 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 in A i A . and I could not stop drinking. When I came to your groupit was different. I feel accepted here.. I feel I have friends. Your talks really sink i n . I feel that say is 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 fight, but your friendship has kept me from k i l l i n g myself many times....I thank every© one of you for my sobriety." White alcoholics feel inferior to other persons i n their own society. As teetotallers they are often either ridiculed or accused of "spoiling 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 different culture; many White alcoholics in contact with Indian A.A. groups, might recognize a certain superiority in the "Indianness" of their new friends. The Indians on the other hand, have gained self- 75 respect and a feeling of pride in their A.A. group. They w i l l feel superior to some wretched White alcoholics, and find the values of their own culture superior when comparing i t with certain features of White c i v i l i z a t i o n . As long as the Indian-White conflict 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 positive views these Whites hold of the Indians, true friendships dev- elop. The Indian alcoholic has the chance to solve his core-complex, i.e. the White-Indian conflict. Now he can proceed to participate in mixed A.A. groups and from there he may reach the basis of a more re- warding l i f e in modern society. Those Coast Salish Indians who s t i l l prefer to preserve their cultural 1 heritage have the option to take part in s p i r i t dance ceremonials, Indian competitive sports, arts, and other Indian activities which require abstinence, from alcohol. Indian A.A. groups w i l l most li k e l y continue to exist as an intermediate stage for Indian alcoholics on their way to sobriety. When an Indian A.A. group dissolves, i t s members can again join the non-Indian A.A., unti l a new Indian group i s formed. The general A.A. organization as such is f a i r l y stable and w i l l most likely continue to exist as long as the alcohol problem has not found better solutions in Western society. Coast Salish Indians w i l l most probably continue to seek help for their alcohol problems 76 inA.A., as this organization i s relatively inoffensive to them. It appeals to Indians because participation i s completely voluntary. There is no nominated leader in A.A. and therefore no competition for positions. A.A. provides an outlet for individual emotions and gives each member the possibility to interpret the "Higher Power" according to his personal inclination. It can be viewed as a form of non-organized religion like Shakerism before 1910. 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.: Indian-White conflict Alcohol problems v Rehabilitation through: Indian Shaker Church "Modern" branch;conflict solved through assimilation Protestant sects and Churches eneral A.A. Organization "C _ "Conservative" branch; conflict solved through segregation Indian A .A.- " — —Mixed A.A.—^conflict solved through integration Integration is understood as adaptation to modern society without givingup specific Indian culture t r a i t s . Through resolving" • the Indian-White conflict, Indians can hope to solve their alcohol problems by taking a self-asserting stand in modern society and feel free to fluc- tuate between specific Indian cultural. activities 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 dev- elopment of Indian-White relationship in general. 78 CHAPTER IV METHODS OF COMBATING INDIAN ALCOHOL ABUSE Western Methods of Assisting Indians With Alcohol Problems White American society has not yet succeeded in controlling alcohol abuse, either in i t s own members or in the Indians. The d i - lemma is partly due to conflicts 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 sinf u l , and at the other extreme are people who become alienated from their religious group and who then act out their frustration through excessive drinking. Alcohol abuse to them becomes the symbol of revolt and of freedom. Most Americans who are in 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 alco- holic beverages and with s t r i c t prohibitive laws against any type of alcohol intake for their own people, can effectively impose liquor pro- hibition laws upon a minority group within the larger society. Wes- tern laws forbidding Indians to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages, and imposing fines and prison terms upon drunken behaviour in 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" is 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) in their study of the British Columbia Indians, observed that a high proportion of law violations for which Indians were apprehended, such as aggressive behaviour, burglary, robbery and theft, were directly or indirectly alcohol-connected. Being sent to prison bears no stigma among many Indian groups. On the contrary, Indians returning from prison are often looked upon with a certain ad- miration for having dared to annoy and oppose White authority. Indians jai l e d for alcohol offences do not view themselves as criminals and deeply resent being imprisoned together with non-Indian criminals and having to obey orders from rude White prison guards. 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 in preventing Indian alcoholism and in rehab- i l i t a t i n g a significant number of Indians already addicted to alcohol. More success in rehabilitating Indian alcoholics and in preventing a l - coholism must be credited to the various Christian Churches working among the Coast Salish Indians. Among Protestant groups the Methodist Church has played a major role in the fight against alcohol abuse. Best known is Thomas Crosby, an ardent anti-alcoholic Methodist minister who gained great influence and numerous followers among Indians around Nanaimo and in the Fraser Valley in the early 1860's. In recent years 80 the Pentecostal Church has increased i t s activity among the Indians, and their s t r i c t sanctions against any form of alcohol use have made converts among Indian alcoholics. The Salvation Army, with larger con- gregations among the northern Indian tribes of British Columbia, has a more indirect function among the Coast Salish Indians, helping impov- erished Indian alcoholics find food and shelter in the bigger c i t i e s , and offering rehabilitation centers to those who wish to find sobriety through Christian beliefs. 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 in the church practices and gladly reject the use of alcohol. But with time the new enthusiasm decreases. Disappointments, either with religious practices or because of some real or imagined social slight or rejection by non-Indians, d i s i l l u s i o n the Indians. They retreat from the Church and sooner or later return to their former drinking habits, probably even more resentful and bitter than before. One of the most interesting forms of proselytization 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 in order for an imposed social control system to work, i t was necessary to incorporate abori- ginal culture traits and to teach natives to control their own people. 81 By ascribing important new roles to members from high ranking families, Durieu allowed pre-existing status differences to continue. Chiefs and sub-chiefs with Indian "watchmen" reported on the people's behaviour to the priests. Old Coast Salish taboos and rituals were respected insofar as they did not directly compete with Catholic dogma and church practices. Those Indian rituals which offended Catholic beliefs were substituted by colorful Church f e s t i v i t i e s . For decades Bishop Durieu's Indian state was a great success. The congregations were described by independent ob- servers as consisting of honest, industrial people of high morale, free of alcoholism or other vices (Lemert 1955; Duff 1964). But the Oblate Fathers misjudged the intensity of the Coast Salish Indians' aversion to imposed authority and the different concepts the Indians had of sin and crime. As the local Chief and his helpers could not well suppress behaviour which neither they nor the people re- garded as wrong, the punishment for infractions tended to pass directly into the hands of the Oblate priests. The strangers therefore became the executive authority, in spite of the theoretically autonomous system. The priests 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 pro- portion, especially for 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 priests 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 priests were less ascetic. The Indians quickly lost respect for Catholic teach- ings. Their allegiance turned into disappointment and bitter accusations against the clergy. The young Indians who saw their parents' frustration, rebelled against them and the priests. Pointedly refusing to obey Church regulations, they started to drink alcohol and break the moral code of the Catholic Church. The majority of Coast Salish Indians are s t i l l nominally Cath- o l i c , but few attend mass regularly or go to confession. The Catholic residential schools face grave disciplinary 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 in 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 inviting 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 priest, confess and "take the pledge", i.e. sign a paper promising God and the priest to stay sober for a certain length of time. Catholic priests are often seen at Indian A.A. meetings and they lend 1. According to personal communications by Catholic priests. 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 similar activities, Catholic priests are again gaining in popularity, not as authority figures imposing rules on the Indians, but through friendly assistance in times of trouble and sorrow. As chronic alcohol abuse sooner, or later leads to accidental i n - juries, internal diseases, and psychiatric disorders, the alcoholic w i l l also need medical halp .throughout his drinking l i f e . But even though physicians for centuries have been well aware of the bad effects of alco- hol 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 resulting from alcohol abuse i s steadily improving, i t is the emotional and mental disturbances which cause the greatest suffering to the alcoholic himself and to his whole family. Already 19th century psychiatrists were able to diagnose any type of psychiatric disorder resulting from acute and chronic intoxication (Morel 1860; Griesinger 1867). Attempts at healing alcoholism with psychiatric methods have resulted in 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 alike. Those physicians who have looked into the work of Alcoholics Anonymous, unanimously agree that A.A. is by far the most effective method in helping alcoholics. It i s therefore of importance to look again at A.A., and espe- c i a l l y at Indian A.A., when discussing the most effective methods of helping Indians with alcohol problems. 84 Indian A.A. groups among the Coast Salish population are compar- atively small, and attendance varies with the seasons. In winter during the s p i r i t dance season and in summer during the time of salmon fishing 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 in the same locali t y . The small group of fa 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 function- ing of the group. Active members try to overcome these.tendencies by i n - viting non-alcoholics to the meetings, by arranging big "birthday" parties and by organizing trips to other Indian and non-Indian A.A. gatherings. But the lack of funds always hampers Indian i n i t i a t i v e . Another disturbing fact about Indian A.A. is the type of contact with non-Indians which the Indians have in A.A. As mentioned above, non-Indian alcoholics use A.A. as their last resource, and they are, therefore, usually much more im- paired than most of the Indians in 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. meetings, are anything but inspiring compan- ions. Since Indians today lack any form of cheerful recreation without alcohol intake, the abstinent Indians have few sources of entertainment besides their A.A. meetings. Because df financial restrictions Indian A.A. meetings are held at small, unattractive places with few f a c i l i t i e s , often dirty and poorly heated, with beer bottles and other left-overs from parties scattered around. No wonder that Indians who have fai 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 easily " f a l l off the wagon", i f for no other reason than to again have some fun with their fellow Indians in a lush, warm beer parlour. Summary: Western Methods of assisting Indians with alcohol problems. Law-enforcement agencies Evangelical sects Protestant Churches Catholic Church Medical Profession Alcoholics Anonymous 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. At f i r s t followers convert to an absti- nent new way of l i f e . Disappointments about religious practices or White church members return the Indian to his former l i f e style and drinking habits. Temporary success. Too authoritarian to suit the majority of Coast Salish Indians. Generally insufficient emphasis on.absti- nence to help Indians with severe alcohol problems. 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. Hitherto most efficient approach to alco- holism. Many Indians remain suffering from boredom and depression. Only partial solution to Indian alcohol problem. New Trends in Approaching the Indian Alcohol Problem Realization that few Indians suffering from the consequences of alcohol abuse have been helped by the traditional medical or religious approach, or through non-Indian chapters of Alcoholics Anonymous, has in 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. Its recent statement clearly shows the urgency of the task: . . "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 staff (anthropologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists and social workers), correctional and public health services, a new approach to the Indian alcohol problem is develop- ing, and the organization of t r i b a l alcohol treatment projects is a recent result. Their programs emphasize identification with Indian culture, In- dian involvement in 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 training center has been established at the University of Utah to train 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 Tribal Alcohol Treatment Programs" (Shore 1970). The Navaho program 87 2 i s medically oriented, using disulfiram therapy. The treatment program includes hospitalization with detoxication, disulfiram administration, group therapy, individual and family counselling. In the f i r s t 18 months of follow-up, Navaho community alcoholism f i e l d workers assist by supervising intake of medication, report to the Center on the patient progress and help the Indians to find jobs or obtain welfare aid. Many of these former alcoholics are encouraged to attend the Native American Church (Peyote Cult) as this Church has proven to be positively effec- tive i n helping Indians to become abstinent (Aberle 1966; Bergman 1971). Two years after i n i t i a t i o n of treatment i t was recorded that drunkenness arrests were reduced by 767o during the treatment period (Ferguson 1968) . The Center had best results with older Indians who had been excessive drinkers for years, but who had few acculturation problems. Their drink ing pattern had been of the recreation type, i.e., they were drinking in bouts within a peer group. They responded well to practical measures such as structuring and regulating their daily l i f e , and they quickly found new friends and new fields of activity 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 intertribal) as described and discussed by Shore (1970) 2. Disulfiram or Antabuse i s a medication to be taken daily as long as the treatment lasts. It produces an extremely unpleasant re- action with nausea, hot flushes and headaches as soon as alcoholic beverages are ingested. After repeated experiences of this kind the alcoholic 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 Alcoholics Anony- mous for readjustment to a non-drinking l i f e with family counselling, vocational rehabilitation, alcohol education and youth involvement; employing non-drinking Indian alcoholics as individual case workers, and respecting the special characteristics of each cultural group. The three programs had in 1970 reached a total of 642 cases. The Apache program had been in operation for.four, the Nevada for three, and the Ute program for one year, when the following results were published: Definite improvement in 567° of a l l cases; 177o of cases lost to follow- up, and only 277o classified as unimproved. This i s an astoundingly high success rate and a clear indication that the broad, multi-professional approach to the solution of the Indian alcohol, problem i s a_step i n the right direction. The Alcoholic Foundation of British Columbia, which has. f a c i l - i t i e s for group therapy, family counselling and medical treatment for a l l alcoholics, has no programs specifically designed to meet the needs of Indian alcoholics; neither have the few detoxication centers and half- way houses available to alcoholics in British Columbia. The only signi- ficant i n i t i a t i v e s seem to come from a few Indians themselves, mostly from active members of Indian A.A. groups. As far as i s known to this investigator, only three Coast Salish Indians have part-time employment with the Alcoholic Foundation of British 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 availability 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 rehabilitation programs for Indian alcoholics. The history of Western and Indian efforts to fight Indian a l - cohol abuse t e l l s us that any program which i s organized and run by non-Indians, is doomed to failure even i f i t . a t f i r s t evokes curiosity and a certain cooperation from the Indians. Since Indians perceive the dominant Western society as oppressive, and since Indian drinking prob- lems are nourished by the White-Indian conflict, i t i s psychologically d i f f i c u l t for the Indians to have confidence in any therapeutic assis- tance organized and administered by the very society which they feel oppresses them. This dilemma applies also to the organization of Alco- holics Anonymous when run by non-Indians, as has been reported by sev- eral observers and again confirmed, in a personal communication by R.W. Brown, Director of Ute Tribe Alcoholism Program: "In response to your inquiry for information regarding Alco- holics Anonymous groups on this reservation, I would bri e f l y state that participation i n A.A. here seems to be.determined by the work of my (White) staff members who are members of A.A. themselves. I believe that i f these people were to dis- appear the meetings would discontinue. A.A. does not seem to be an integrated pattern of living 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 leadership appears to have again drowned In- dian i n i t i a t i v e here. Since the A.A. meetings on the reservation did 90 n o t r e s u l t f r o m t h e i r o w n e f f o r t s , A . A . d i d h o t b e c o m e " a n i n t e g r a t e d p a t t e r n o f l i v i n g f o r t h o s e I n d i a n s w h o a t t e n d t h e m e e t i n g s " . F r o m t h e e x a m p l e o f t h e C o a s t S a l i s h , w e h a v e s e e n h o w t h e I n d i a n s h a v e t o r e - o r g a n i z e A . A . a n d t o r e - s h a p e i t s p h i l o s o p h y t o s u i t t h e i r o w n c o n - c e p t s , b e f o r e A . A . d e v e l o p s i n t o a s u c c e s s f u l d e v i c e i n t h e i r f i g h t a g a i n s t a l c o h o l a b u s e . A n y a s s i s t a n c e b y g o v e r n m e n t s , o r o t h e r W e s t e r n s o u r c e s , t o c o m b a t a l c o h o l a b u s e a m o n g I n d i a n s , s h o u l d t h e r e f o r e b e m a d e a v a i l a b l e t o I n d i a n o r g a n i z a t i o n s ; i n t h e c a s e o f t h e C o a s t S a l i s h , t o t h e n u - c l e u s a l r e a d y e v o l v e d , n a m e l y t h e I n d i a n A . A . g r o u p s . E v e n m o d e s t f i - n a n c i a l s u p p o r t f o r I n d i a n A . A . g r o u p s w o u l d g r e a t l y i m p r o v e t h e i r f u n c t i o n i n g . W i t h s m a l l f u n d s t h e y c o u l d h o l d t h e i r m e e t i n g s i n m o r e a t t r a c t i v e a n d s p a c i o u s r o o m s , w h e r e t h e y c o u l d t h e n a r r a n g e f o r m o r e e n j o y a b l e n o n - a l c o h o l i c p a r t i e s , a n d a l l o w t h e i r m e m b e r s t o v i s i t o t h e r A . A . g r o u p s a n d c o n v e n t i o n s m o r e f r e q u e n t l y , t h u s g i v i n g n e w i m p u l s e s t o d i s e n c h a n t e d p a r t i c i p a n t s . I d e a l l y I n d i a n A . A . m e e t i n g s s h o u l d b e h e l d a t I n d i a n c o m m u n i t y c e n t e r s w h e r e A . A . m e m b e r s w o u l d h a v e a n o p p o r t u n i t y t o i n t e r a c t w i t h t h e n o n - a l c o h o l i c p o p u l a t i o n . S u c h a n I n d i a n c o m m u n i t y c e n t e r s h o u l d c o n s i s t o f : 1 ) a " d r o p - i n " c e n t e r f o r I n d i a n s w i t h f a c i l i t i e s f o r i n d i v i d u a l a n d f a m i l y c o u n s e l l i n g , l e g a l a n d j o b o p p o r t u n i t y a d v i c e a n d p u b l i c h e a l t h c o n s u l t a t i o n . 2 ) A l i b r a r y a n d m u s e u m w h i c h e m p h a s i z e s a n d f u r t h e r s i n t e r e s t i n I n - d i a n c u l t u r e , l a n g u a g e , h i s t o r y a n d a r t s , a r o u n d w h i c h s h o u l d b e 91 centered educational programs, such as Indian language courses and Indian arts and crafts work shops. 3) Conference f a c i l i t i e s for A.A. and other group meetings, and for educational programs concerning alcoholism and drug abuse, i t s prevention and treatment. 4) 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 rural reserves. The young Indians \ would have a place to go for fun without having to resort to beer par- lours and liquor parties. Oldtimers with knowledge of Coast Salish culture should be encouraged to teach the younger generation the tra- ditional behavioural norms of emotional restraint, personal dignity and self-respect so contrary to drunken behaviour. Through training in arts and crafts young Indians learning the s k i l l s of their elders and ancestors would arouse the admiration and respect of their non-Indian peers. Sports and games open to non-Indians and Indians alike, would provide the basis for 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 liquor. Non-Indian professionals involved' i n any type of assistance to Indians have a tendency to take over and then leave after 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 them- selves with non-Indian assistance mainly in the fonmof consultation. Only under the conditions outlined above will 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. South- western Journal of Anthropology L5: 74-83 (1959). Aberle, D.F.: The Peyote religion among the Navaho (Aldine, Chicago 1966).. ' „ Alcohol Symposium, Editorial Preview. American Anthropologist 66_: 341- 343 (1964). Barnett, H.G.: The Coast Salish of British Columbia (University of Oregon Press, Eugene 1955). 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Duff, W.: The Upper Stalo Indians of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia. Anthropology in British Columbia Memoir No.. 1. (B.C. Provincial Museum, Victoria, 1952). • Duff, W.: The Indian history of British Columbia: Vol. 1, The impact of the White Man. Anthropology in British Columbia Memoir No. 5. (B.C. Provincial Museum, Victoria, 1964). 94 Du Toit, B.M.: Substitution, a process in culture change. Human Organization 23: 16-23 (1964). Elmendorf, W.W.: The structure of Twana culture. Research Studies Monographic Supplement No. 2 (Washington State University, Pull- man 1960). Erikson, E.H.: Childhood and society (Norton, New York 1963). Ferguson, F.N.: Navaho drinking; some tentative hypotheses. Human Organization 27: 159-167 (1968). Ferguson, F.N.: A treatment program for Navaho alcoholics; results after ..four years. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 31: 898-919 (1970). Fraser, S.: Journal of a voyage from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast 1808; in Les Bourgeois de l a Compagnie du Nord-Ouest, vol. I pp. 155-221 (Masson, Quebec 1889). Fry, A.: How a people die (Doubleday, Toronto 1970). Griesinger, W.: Die Pathologie und Therapie der psychischen Krankheiten, fur Aerzte und Studirende"(Stuttgart 1867; reprint Bonset, Amsterdam 1964). Hamer, J.H.: Acculturation stress and the functions of, alcohol among Forest Potawatomi. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 26: 285-302 (1965). Hawthorn, H.B., Belshaw, C.S. and Jamieson, S.M.: The Indians of Bri- tish Columbia (University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1960). Hill-Tout, C : Ethnological studies of the Mainland Halkomelem, a div- ision of the Salish of British Columbia. Report, of the 72nd meet- ing of the British Association for the Advancement of Science: 355-449 (1902). Hill-Tout, C.: Ethnological report on the Stseelis and Skaulits tribes of the Halkomelem division of the Salish of British Columbia. Journal, of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 34: 311-376 (1904). Honigmann, J.J. and Honigmann, I.: Drinking in an Indian-White community. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 5_: 575-619 (1944). Honigmann, J.J.: Dynamics of drinking in an Austrian village. Ethno- logy 2: 157-169 (1963). 95 Horton, D.: .The functions of alcohol in primitive societies: a cross- cultural study. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 4: 199- 320 (1943). Jacobi, J.: The psychology of.C^G. Jung (Routledge and Kegah Paul, Lon- don. 1968) . .. Jil e k - A a l l , L.: Alcohol and the North American Indian. Paper presented at the First Plenary. Conference of the Canadian Psychiatric Asso- ciation .Sub-Committee on Indian Mental Health, Calgary, September 1971. Mimeograph 31 pp. . Jung, C.G.: Diagnostische Assoziationsstudien. Vol. I (Barth, Leip- zig 1906). . LaViolette, F.E.: The struggle for survival — Indian cultures and the Protestant ethic i n British Columbia (University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1961). Lemert, E.M.: Alcohol and the Northwest Coast Indians. University of California Publicationsi&n Culture and Society,.vol. 2, pp. 303- 406 (University of California Press, Berkeley 1954). Lemert, E.M.: The l i f e and death of an Indian state. Human organiza- tion 13: 23-27 (1955). Lemert, E.M.: Alcoholism and the socio-cultural situation. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 306-317 (1956). Lemert, E.M.: The use of Alcohol i n Three Salish Indian Tribes. Quar- terly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 19: 90-107 (1958). Lemert, E.M.: Form and pathology of drinking in three Polynesian soci- eties. American Anthropologist 66: 351-374 (1964). Linton, R.: Nativistic movements. American Anthropologist 45: 230- 240 (1943). Littman, G.: Alcoholism, il l n e s s , and social pathology among American Indians in transition. American Journal of Public Health 60_: 1769- 1787 (1970). MacMurray, J.W.: The "Dreamers" of the Columbia River Valley in Washing- ton Territory. Transactions of the Albany Institute of History and Art 11: 241-248 (1887). Mooney, J.: The Ghost-Dance religion and the Sioux outbreak of 1890; i n Fourteenth Annual Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, 1892-1893 (Government Printing Office, Washington 1896). 96 Morel, B.A.: Traite des maladies mentales (Masson, Paris 1860). Pittman, D.J.: International overview: social and cultural factors i n drinking patterns, pathological and nonpathological; in D.J. P i t t - man, (ed.), Alcoholism, pp. 3-20 (Harper and Row, New York 1967) . Robertson, H.: Reservations are for.Indians (Lewis and Samuel, Toronto 1970).. Sahlins, M.D.: P o l i t i c a l power and the economy in primitive society; in G.E. Dole and R.L. Garneiro (eds.), Essays in the Science of Culture T- in Honor.of Leslie A. White, pp. 390-415 (Crowell, New York 1960). . Sahlins, M.D.: Poor man, rich man, big-man, chief: p o l i t i c a l types in Melanesia and Polynesia. Comparative Studies in Society and His- tory 5: 285-303 (1962/63). Savard, R.J.: Effects of disulfiram 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 Bri- tish 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. Mimeo- graph 47 pp.. Shore, J.H.; Kinzie, J.D.; Hampson, J.L. and Pattison, E.M.: Psychia- t r i c epidemiology of an Indian village (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 Salish of Puget Sound. American Anthropologist 43: 197-211 (1941). 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 social control: consensus and com- munication in a Newfoundland parish. Ethnology 5: 434-441 (1966) . Suttles, W.: The plateau Prophet Dance among the Coast Salish. South- western Journal of Anthropology 13: 352-396 (1957). 97 Suttles, W.: .Affinal ties, subsistence, and prestige among the Coast Salish. American Anthropologist 62: 296-305 (1960). Suttles, W.: The persistence of intervillage ties among the Coast Salish. Ethnology 2: 512-525 (1963). Thompson, G.N.: Acute and chronic alcoholic conditions; in S. A r i e t i (ed.) American Handbook of Psychiatry, vol. II, pp. 1203-1219 (Basic Books, New York. 1959). Thwaites, R.G. (ed.): The Jesuit Relations and a l l i e d documents, 73 vols. (Burrows, Cleveland 1896). Voget, F.W.: The American Indian in transition: reformatism and acco- modation. American Anthropologist 58: 249-263 (1956). Wallace, A.F.C.: Handsome Lake and the great revival in the West. American Quarterly 4: 149-165 (1952). Wallace, A.F.C.: Revitalization movements. American Anthropologist 58: 265-281 (1956). Washington, W.L.: Lummi tr i b a l alcoholism program. Unpublished notes, mimeograph 4 pp. (1971). Winkler, A.M.: Drinking on the American frontier. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol 29: 413-445 (1968). 98 APPENDIX Guidelines of the A.A. Organization Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common'problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drink- ing. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self- supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not a l l i e d with any sect, denomination, p o l i t i c s , organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose i s to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. The 12 Steps of A.A. 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives 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 lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 99 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human" being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. Were entirely 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 willing to make amends to them a l l . . - ' 9. Made direct 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 con- tact 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 spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this meassage to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in a l l our affai 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 is but one ultimate authority — a lov- ing God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. 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 in matters affecting other groups or A.A.- as a whole. 5.. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry i t s message to the alcoholic who s t i l l suffers. 6. 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, lest problems of v. money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. 7. Every A.A. group ought to'be f u l l y self-supporting, declining out- side contributions. 8. Alcoholics 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 directly responsible to those they serve. 10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy. 11. Our public relations policy i s based on attraction rather than pro- motion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films. 12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our traditions, ever re- minding us to place principles before personalities. Questionnaire Used as Guideline in 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 Alcoholics Anonymous? 4. What does "Anonymous" mean? 5. When — and how — did you become a member of A.A.? 6. Discuss the Twelve Steps and,the Twelve Traditions. 7. Is i t sometimes d i f f i c u l t for you to attend meetings? And i f yes — why? 8. What has helped you the most, in-A.A. ? 9. Why did some Indians start an A.A. group for 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 different 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 in the general A.A.? 14. Do you mind telling your life-story? 15. Is i t like a confession to give your A.A. speech? Do you dislike i t ? 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 effective 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 like to have for alcoholics in your community?


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