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Breaking the Cycle of Alcohol Problems Among Native Americans: Culturally-Sensitive Treatment in the Lakota Community

NCJ Number
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly Volume: 20 Issue: 1 Dated: 2002 Pages: 19-44
Teresa Milbrodt
Date Published
26 pages
Focusing on culturally relevant treatment methodologies, this article describes ways to improve alcoholism treatment among Native American peoples.
Improving alcoholism treatment programs for Native American peoples by addressing culturally relevant methodologies is the focus of this journal article. After arguing that levels of alcoholism vary greatly from reservation to reservation, the author cites the history of oppression and discrimination against Native Americans as primary contributors to both low levels of self-esteem and high levels of alcohol abuse. Focusing on the Lakota tribe on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, the author conducted research over a 4-year time span. Finding that alcoholism on the Rosebud Reservation posed serious problems in an otherwise community-oriented culture, this article suggests that most of the problems involved in treating Native American alcoholics concern discrepancies between how Native Americans interpret the world and how traditional rehabilitation programs attempt to combat their alcoholism. Based on first-hand observations and interviews with Native Americans on the Rosebud Reservation, the author suggests that culturally sensitive treatment methodologies are essential when attempting to combat alcohol addiction in Native American communities. Arguing that Native Americans themselves, know the best ways to integrate culturally sound techniques into the rehabilitation process, this article argues for consulting Native Americans for suggestions on ways to treat the complex social, political, economic, cultural, and historical factors contributing to alcoholism among their peoples. References