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Word Count: 488
American Indians By John Brown American Indians Indians in eastern North America possessed no alcohol at the beginning of the colonial period The Indians who drank did so to the point of intoxication enjoyed the experience they got from it If Indians chose to drink out of frustration and despair they were not alone as social scientists have made clear whenever Western societies undergo periods of rapid transition rates of drinking increase Documentary evidence also suggests that some Indians enjoyed the heightened sense of power that seemed to accompany drunkenness For example some Indians in the Great Lakes regions integrated alcohol into their existing ceremonies notably mourning rituals Other groups recognized the importance of alcohol by including it in hospitality rituals Recognizing alcohols power did not mean liking its taste The primary reason to drink was to get drunk Families also suffered especially when young men sold the furs and skins from the hunt for alcohol thereby impoverishing their relatives who needed food and durable goods Alcohol according to this view has been the easiest and quickest way to deaden the senses and to forget the feeling of inadequacy The most popular beverages were cider and whiskey Water was usually of poor quality milk was scarce and unsafe and coffee tea and wine were imported and expensive Whiskey was widely produced because it was easily preserved and traded and it soon became the medium of exchange on the frontier Many Americans took small amounts of alcohol daily either alone or with the family at home The other style of drinking was the communal binge a form of public drinking to intoxication and practically any gathering of three or more men provided an occasion for drinking vast quantities of liquor Not only did the Indians learn the binge style of drinking from observing those who introduced liquor to them they also found the white mans notion that a man was not responsible
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