Social Work Paper

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There are many diverse groups within the Native Americans dealing with their history, beliefs, rituals, religion and all around culture. This is very important to understand because each different culture group will relate to different aspects of life and Social Workers need to understand this in order to engage and assess with each individual, as well as, the community. Also knowing that each different group will cope with issues in different ways, a specific example would be engaging with people out of their community. Understanding the history of the Native Americans way of life is significant because there are outcomes that have created a certain perspective about engagement within their community. Gilbert Quintero explores the influence of the Europeans on the outcomes and images that label the Native American role with alcohol. Colonial knowledge has influenced the Native Americans into a different way of life, trying to change their morals and beliefs into the colonizers ideals. Alcohol was a way to “colonize the Indian people to conquer the space, culture and beliefs they have. By doing this it placed a negative bias on the Indians and represented them in incorrect way (Quintero, 2011) Social workers need to understand the true history behind alcoholism in their culture because it was not always like this. Colonizers enable the concepts of social labeling and social problems within certain communities and social workers need to be aware of these markers ad how the problems were created. Native Americans are the highest to consider a problem within their families. Harford does not explain why, how or to what extent the prevalence of alcohol is within their families. This is a very important subject to understand because there could be other factors that would support why they are more likely to rate their families as having a problem with alcohol. History, background culture, values and beliefs needed to be accounted for because it may have not always been like this (Hartford, 1992) Understanding that Native Americans do relate their families to having an alcohol problem is also very important to understanding the correlation between Native Americans and Alcohol. The micro level, mezzo level as well as the macro level is extremely important for any social worker to understand how to work with the Natives Americans, to help resolve these issues and how to effectively engage and asses the progress that is needed. Essentially the Native American people as a whole experienced “intergenerational trauma” and oppression. Intergenerational trauma means; Suffering and shock based in events that took placed in the past but whose pain and distress have been passed down from generation to generation because they have never properly healed. The symptoms of intergenerational trauma express themselves through harmful events taking place in the present. (1946)

With an understanding of Native American history, it is easy to see how cultural can play a key part in alcoholism among natives. Cultural being determined by attitudes, values norms, beliefs, and customs shared by a group of people. Family for most native American tribes consist of the whole tribe, were other tribe members are considered and treated as brothers and sisters. Unlike the western family which is contrived of those living under one roof as the micro family, Native Americans do not have a micro family setting but a mezzo to macro family setting and that is how their culture has always been (Limb). Early Native American culture used altered states of mind for powers of healing, enlightenment, and the facilitation of war-making. Achieving a mind altering state was usually used to protect their people from harm. When the Europeans introduced alcohol to the natives they also taught them how to drink excessively. “Indians were exposed to persistent modeling of antisocial behavior associated with frequent high-dose drinking by soldiers” (Frank p.8). The...
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