• Alcohol Control and Native Alaskans — from the Russians to Statehood: The Early Years — Alcohol Control in Village Alaska

      Conn, Stephen (Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1980)
      A persistent thread throughout the legal history of Alaska since Russian contact with the Great Land until the present has been deployment of available legal resources to curb drinking by Alaska Indians and Eskimos. The long-held social belief on the part of white colonialists and government agents that Alaska Natives could not drink and became wild persons when intoxicated was translated into an unrelenting legal practice of focusing law and available legal resources on control of Native drinking and prosecution of those who supplied Natives with drink. / Even during four periods of territory-wide prohibition, the prohibition was enforced against Natives and suppliers to Natives, while enforcement was indifferent or nonexistent against territorial whites. / The historical overview confirms the propositions set forth by MacAndrew and Edgerton (1969) that American.Indians can trace current drinking problems to the prior expectations implemented as government policy. It also suggests that dependence on law only as a mechanism to change drinking problems can, in fact, exacerbate drinking problems and create among the impacted group problems with alcohol which may not otherwise have existed. / The dependence on law as a vehicle for social control in Alaska in recent years may relate to an absence of alternatives. However, this singular dependence on law enforcement flows from a "grand tradition" of governmental paternalism which can be interpreted as being as much a cause of drinking problems among Natives as a solution to them.