Re: Social Problems It really bothers me when people say stuff like this.... Here's an excerpt of a great article I found: Extensive anthropological evidence shows that prior to their devastation by Europeans, the diverse native cultures in Canada all provided a level of psychosocial integration that is unknown to modern people. Most native people lived communally and shared their resources within a matrix of expectations and responsibilities that grew from their family, clan, village, and religion as well as their individual talents and inheritance of particular prerogatives. They clung to their cultures with courageous resolution-although they valued European trading goods, they found European ways repellant. On the other hand, Canadian natives had a long tradition of warfare, cruel torture of prisoners, and slavery like the Europeans. Although murder, adultery, and insanity sometimes occurred within Canadian aboriginal culture, I have as yet found no mention by anthropologists of anything that could reasonably be called addiction, despite the fact that activities were available that have proven addictive to many people in free market societies, such as eating, sex, gambling, psychedelic mushrooms, etc. Canadian natives did not have access to alcohol, but natives in what is now Mexico and the American Southwest did. Where alcohol was readily available, it was used moderately, often ceremonially rather than addictively. The history of Canadian aboriginals is different from the more famous "Indian wars," enslavement, and mass slaughter that occurred in the U.S. and in Latin America. Centuries before Vancouver was founded, both British and French trading companies in Canada established formal and mutually beneficial fur-trading relationships with many native tribes, primarily in eastern and central Canada. Few European settlers then sought to settle in the inhospitable Canadian climate, so there was little need to displace the natives. Later, the English colonial government formed indispensable military alliances with various aboriginal nations in several wars, particularly against the U.S. After these crucial wars ended, it would have been unseemly for the Crown, as it began to covet the vast native lands, to slaughter former allies who had fought loyally and sometimes decisively. Instead, the British and later Canadian governments quietly pursued a policy, later called "assimilation," intended to move aboriginal lands into the real estate market and aboriginal people into the labour market as quietly as possible. This policy was explicitly intended to strip the natives of their culture and lands. One notorious instrument of this policy was a network of "residential schools" where children, often forcibly taken from their parents, were forcefully taught to despise their own language and customs, which sometimes alienated them from their own families as well. An 1847 report of the colonial Canadian government contained this comment: "Their education must consist not merely of the training of the mind, but of a weaning from the habits and feelings of their ancestors, and the acquirements of the language, arts, and customs of civilised life." Although assimilation policy very nearly succeeded in eliminating native languages and spiritual practices, it failed to integrate the natives into free market society, thus leaving them utterly dislocated . As wards of the federal government, however, they generally had food, housing, and some protection. Although some Canadian natives developed a taste for riotous drunkenness from the time that Europeans first introduced alcohol, many individuals and tribes either abstained, drank only moderately, or drank only as part of tribal rituals for extended periods. It was only during assimilation that alcoholism emerged as a pervasive, crippling problem for native people, along with suicide, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and so forth. Although some eastern tribes were ravaged by drunkenness and alcoholism centuries before assimilation was established as a policy, the causal principle appears to be the same. For example, the Hurons of eastern Canada, who were "civilized" by the devotion of courageous French missionaries backed by the firepower of the French Army early in the seventeen century, were famous for their drunken violence. "Civilization," as it came to these natives, was administered by militant Jesuits in a century of fanatical religious zeal. This meant destruction of the robust Huron religion and, hence, Huron culture itself, with dislocation as the consequence. Eventually every tribal culture in Canada was engulfed by the overpowering European culture, and every tribe succumbed to the ravages of dislocation, including epidemic alcoholism. Massive dislocation produced massive addiction. The Vancouver area had a relatively minor history of fur trade and no history of military alliance with the Crown. The natives were dispossessed of their lands without great violence, enslavement, or impoverishment, but deliberate destruction of whatever remained of their culture began immediately and, with it, rampant alcoholism. Throughout the period of assimilation up to the present, Canadian natives have had an astronomical rate of alcoholism, although the statistics may understate the problem. Although a few reserves have only minor problems with alcoholism, alcoholism in many reserves is nearly 100% (including people in stages of recovery). Alcoholism was only one consequence of this mass-produced dislocation. Other consequences include drug addictions, depression, domestic violence, and suicide. There is a more popular explanation for the widespread alcoholism of Canadian natives. They are often said to have a racial inability to control alcohol. However, this is unlikely, since alcoholism was not a ruinous problem among natives until assimilation subjected them to extreme dislocation. Moreover, if natives were handicapped by the "gene for alcoholism," the same must be said of the Europeans, since those subjected to conditions of extreme dislocation also fell into it, almost universally.