Vancouver Island University
In our society, we have placed a lot of negative beliefs or stereotypes on the first nations communities. We have given them stereotypes such as, the “lazy Indian”, the “uneducated Indian”, the “dumb Indian” and the “drunken Indian”. In this paper I will discuss the stereotype of the “drunken Indian”. I will highlight where the “drunken Indian stereotype came from and why it exists. I will explain what this stereotype means and the impact it has on first nations communities. I will also discuss how this stereotype has been reflected in what has occurred in British Colombia in relation to the health and well-being of First Nations children, families and communities. Finally, I will show how I, a child and youth care practitioner, can address this stereotype while working with children, youth and families.
Source of Stereotype
Anderson (2007) states that,
Before first contact, drug and alcohol use was strictly controlled and
tightly bound to social customs and tribal rituals. The advent of
problematic drinking is seen to coincide with exposure to European
drinking patterns and culturally disruptive colonial policies. Some have
argued that heavy/binge drinking was a learned behavior modeled by
European traders and then reinforced by earlier illegality of alcohol use.
Others maintain that assimilation policies such as the residential school
system contributed to the breakdown of traditional culture and family thus
creating a social environment conducive tom problematic alcohol use (p.442).
The Royal Commission on Aboriginal People (1991) states that many of the problems that aboriginal communities face today, such as alcoholism, can be traced back to the sense of disconnection that children experience as a result of being