Problems Faced by Native Americans Placed on Reservations
The discovery of gold in the west caused an immense migration during the last half of the nineteenth century. This migration caused Native Americans to be forced on to reservations, which was detrimental to their society. As a result of this relocation, Native Americans have faced and will continue to face many problems including alcoholism and suicide. Michael Dorris's novel, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, explores these issues in Native Americans' lives.
The Native Americans easily assimilated the Americans' heavy drinking problems. They were already facing many problems due to being forced off their land. Drinking was a part of everyday life of Americans. Both business and government encouraged regular consumption of alcohol. Commenting on Americans' lifestyles, author William Unrau states, "Drunkenness was "everywhere prevalent, "and the quantity of spirits consumed was " scandalous" (2). Obviously, alcohol became a "necessity of life" to Americans. Alcohol was also involved in the typical Americans' workday. It was a persuasive incentive that kept workers blinded from the gloomy reality that they lived their day to day lives. Therefore, it is evident that Americans themselves used alcohol to cover up their daily problems, similar to how it was used by Native Americans today. William Unrau describes the consequence of American drinking habits as linked to Native American as, "The inordinate indulgence of the Indians in spirituous liquors is one of the most deplorable consequences, which was resulted from the intercourse with civilized
man" (9). It is clearly stated that the Native Americans forcefully inherited this habit due to their relationship with Americans.
Alcohol became a regular habit for many Native Americans. Every family had their share of alcohol problems. For example in A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, alcohol was a factor in everyon...