The cultures of drinking within a Native American community


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The cultures of drinking within a Native American community
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xvi, 235 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Stans, Susan Enns, 1942-
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Anthropology thesis, Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Anthropology -- UF
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1996.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 215-233).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Susan Enns Stans.
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University of Florida
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Copyright 1996


Susan Enns Stans

This thesis is dedicated to my family and friends, especially my new friends at

Brighton community, who indulged my preoccupation, questions, and anxiety.


While one person is usually responsible for a dissertation, a cast of hundreds makes

it possible. Without the support of funding, family, friends, professors, the Seminole

community at Brighton, and my God, none of this would have existed.

The National Institute of Health's National Research Service Award and the

University of Florida Graduate School/College of Liberal Arts and Science dissertation

fellowship provided funding for this endeavor Being recognized by my country and

school demonstrated the value of the research and eased the financial burden of graduate


My family has patiently stood by me during the process, wondering how much

longer this would take. I especially thank my husband, Steve, who endured my bad moods

and long hours away from home. He deserves credit for getting up at 2:30 a.m to drive

me to Kinko's to copy the dissertation for distribution to my committee that day. Others

who stood by me include my children, Tyler and Stephanie Stans, Katie Enns, and Eddie

and Diane Enns I only wish that my writer/brother, Bob, had lived to see the finished

product, not that he would have read it My nieces and nephews have encouraged me at

every turn; Cater, Dan, Chuck, Michael, Gregory, Gretchen, Mary, Teresa, Tod, Meg,

Jon, Debbie, Stephen, Barbara, Gladwin, Kristen, Mary Margaret, John, and Susannah

The list of cousins, great nieces, and nephews goes on and on Finally, although they have

been gone for many years, I am grateful for the encouragement of my parents My mother

sacrificed her inheritance for my first bachelor's degree and she and my dad taught me to

love learning

Next, my friends helped more than they will ever know. Susie Day cheered me on

every morning with a wake up call and words of encouragement. Linda Hardman listened

patiently to my complaints. Carl and Ann Croft were always present with emotional

support Judy Barton helped me deliver the documents Allyn Stearman, Diane Chase,

and Arlen Chase followed me through the pitfalls of research and writing. Elinor Hall fed

me jokes Carol Fenner waited patiently until I returned to life. Dana Austin-Smith and

Mike Jepson commiserated by E-mail over the agony of writing. Debbie Gipple provided a

home in Gainesville. Mark and Nancy Schoenberg-Swanson gave me a safe haven and

helped with statistics Many prayed

Each committee member made unique contributions My chairman, Brian du Toit

began with me in 1988 and has persisted through it all. Leslie Lieberman and Carol Van

Hartesveldt are especially important in providing editing ideas and emotional support.

John Moore is responsible for me delving into the Mvskoke/Creek language Ron Akers

generously gave of his time to help me with the theory Gerardo Gonzalez steered me to

expectation theory that tied my ideas together. Although not on my committee, I thank

Russ Bernard for his encouragement to use methods from cognitive anthropology and his

sage words to future professionals, "Computers are the tools of your trade, get one even if

you have to borrow money"; "Take two semesters of statistics for social sciences"; and,

"You can measure that I also thank Brian Page, Jack Martin, Margaret Mauldin,

Dwight Heath, and Joan Weibel-Orlando for their ideas and time

Finally, I thank my new friends in the Seminole community Over the years of our

association, Alice Snow became a mother to me, helping me understand the language,

providing me with background on the community, giving me a place to stay, and just being

a lot of fun I thank the community council representative, Jack Smith, and the

community Board Representative John Wayne Huff for taking an interest in my work and

providing guidance. The list of Seminoles who helped is inexhaustible, but thanks go to

Louise Gopher, Shirley Sampson, Rosie Billie, Nancy Shore, Sammy Gopher, Mable

Haught, Helene Clay, Willie Johns, Jenny Shore, Jenny Johns, Jenny Chalfant, Madeline

Tongkeamha, Salina Dorgan, Elbert Snow, Smawley Holata, Leoma Simmons, Leona

Smith, Jack Smith, Jack Micco, Willie Johns, Onnie Osceola, Alice Nunez, Carolyn Billie,

Carolyn Snow Billie, Happy Jones, and many others. Others who live or work in the

community helped me immensely: Norman Tribbett, the librarian; Debbie Johns; Sister

Mary Elizabeth Lagoy; Jack Chalfant; Gary Sampson; Emma Fish; and, Carolyn and J.B.





LIST OF FIGURES ...... xiv

ABSTRACT .. .. .... xv



Issues Concerning Native American Alcohol Use and Abuse .... 4
Youthful Drinking ..... 6
Male and Female Differences .. 9
Inter-tribal Variation ...... 10
Comparisons with Other Populations .. 13


Principles of Social Learning. 20
Differential Association 21
Differential Reinforcement 22
Imitation ....... 24
Definitions .. 26
Positive definitions ..... .. 26
Negative definitions ....... 27
Neutralizing definitions 27
Describing the Norms .. 29
Critiques of Social Learning Theory 31
Reformulation and Testing of Social Learning Theory .39


Self-Government 43
Brighton Reservation 45
Population 46
Language 47
Religion .48
Education 49
Social and Physical Concerns 50


Participants 52
The Sample 53
Measures 56
Reliability of the Survey Instrument 56
Appropriateness of the Survey .57
Survey Measurement. 58
Qualitative Data 58
Ethnography ..... 58
Descriptive questions 59
Cognitive domain analysis 60
Free lists 60
Triad tests ... 63
Group formation ..... 63
Ethnographic decision tree modeling (EDTM) 65
Building the model .. 67
Testing .. 68
Counting the errors ... 69
Procedures .. 69
Data Analysis .. ... 71
Limitations of the Research 73


Where to Drink .. .. 79
When to Drink ...... .. 82
Who Drinks .... ..... 84
Drinking Companions 86
First Use of Alcohol 89
First Drunk .. 90
Comparison with Other Studies 92
Adult Drinking 94
Light Drinkers .. 94
Heavy Drinkers 95

Quitters 96
"On the Wagon" Medicine .... 97


Differential Association 100
Social Cliques 101
Pileson Groups 103
Off-Reservation Social Ties 105
Association by Religious Affiliation 106
Reinforcement 107
Getting Caught by the Police 108
Severity of Consequences When Caught Ill
Differential Reinforcement by Parents and Friends 112
Imitation 115




Elementary Age Children 137
Elementary cognitive categories .... .. 138
Middle School Age Students 140
Middle school cognitive categories 142
High School Age Youth .. 142
High School Age Cognitive Categories .. 144
Adults .. 145
Adult Cognitive Categories 146
Comparison of Categories by Age ...147
Youngest definitions .. 149
Teen Definitions. 151
Adult Differences in Definition .. 152


Definitions and Perception of Cultural Differences .. 156


Differences in Collapsed Categories 168


Methods Evaluation 173
Social Learning Theory .. 174
Association .. 175
Reinforcement 175
Imitation 176
Definitions 176
Definitions in The Drinking Milieu 177
Within Community Differences by Gender 178
Within Community Differences by Age Group 179
Drinkers and Non-drinkers 181
Within Cultural Differences 182
Ambivalent Drinking Norms 184
Research Implications 185
Prevention 186
Intervention from Within 187
Implications for the Future 189



B TRIAD EXERCISE .. ..... 204






Tables pge

1.01 Life-time Prevalence Rates (Ever Use) ... 12

1 02 30 Day Prevalence Rates (Use in the Last Month) 13

201 Alcohol Studies of Native Americans .. ... .38

3.01 Population Estimates Seminole Tribe of Florida 43

3 02 Population of Brighton Reservation ....... ... 46

3.03 Languages Spoken by Adult Sample ......... 47

4.01 Youth Sample ... ... ..... 54

4.02 Adult Sample ......... .. 55

4.03 List of Possible Decisions Concerning Alcohol Use 66

5 01 Frequency of Places to Drink 80

5 02 Frequency of Alcohol Use by Age Group .. 85

5 03 Frequency of Use by Sex ........... .. 86

5.04 Companions When Using Alcohol ....... ... 87

5.05 Average Age at First Drink .. 89

5 06 Average Age When First Drunk 91

5 07 Estimated Alcohol Use Among Seminole Youth .. 92

5 08 Comparison of Brighton Students 93

5 09 Distribution of Brighton Adult Drinking Levels 94

6.01 Frequency of Alcohol Use by Group Affiliation 102

6.02 Alcohol Use by Culturally Identified Groups of Like Persons 104

6.03 Frequency of Alcohol Use by Religious Affiliation .106

6 04 Negative Reinforcement Beliefs by Age and Alcohol Use 108

6 05 Perceived Parental Response to Informant Drinking 113

6.06 Perceived Friend Response to Informant Drinking 114

6 07 Percentage of Youth Listing Good Things by Parental Drinking .117

608 Youthful (11-18) Drinking Level Compared to Parental Drinking .119

701 Frequency of Reasons to Drink Alcohol 123

7 02 Reasons to Drink by Social Learning Categories .. 125

8.01 Reasons to Drink Alcohol Compared by Sex 128

802 Distribution of Definitions by Sex 132

901 Reasons to Drink Alcohol Compared by Age .... 136

9 02 Frequency of Reasons to Drink. Elementary Age 137

9 03 Frequency of Reasons to Drink: Middle School Age Students 140

9.04 Frequency of Reasons to Drink Alcohol. High School Age Youth 143

9 05 Frequency of Reasons to Drink Adults 146

9.06a Distribution of Definitions by Age 148

9 06b Distribution of Definitions by Age 149

1001 Differences in Attitudes about Alcohol Use by Religion 155

11.01 Frequency Distribution of Reasons to Drink 164

11 02 Distribution of Definitions by Alcohol Use 168

11 03 Correlation between Increased Use of Alcohol and Approval of Use 170

11.04 Distribution of Definitions by Drinking Level 171

12.01 Comparison of Alcoholic Criteria .. 178

12 02 Community Alcoholic Criteria by Age and Sex .181

12.03 Community Alcoholic Criteria by Drinking Level .182

12.04 Adult Consequences from Drinking .. 184


Figure page

5 01 Map of the Main Reservation Community 77

9 01 Elementary Age Cognitive Categories ...138

9.02 Middle School Cognitive Categories ... 142

9 03 High School Age Cognitive Categories .. 145

9 04 Adult Cognitive Categories .. 147

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Susan Enns Stans

August 1996

Chairperson Brian M du Toit
Major Department Anthropology

The hypothesis presented in this research proposes that the drinking patterns of

the different gender, age, and religious groups within a Seminole Indian community

correlate with expressed values regarding alcohol use. Social learning theory suggests

that drinking behavior is a function of social interactions in which a specific factor

called "definitions" (attitudes) favorable to drinking and one's drinking behavior are

differentially reinforced both socially and by alcohol's effects. Definitions, which

include expectations, determine how alcohol is used.

The research used cultural domain analysis and ethnographic data collection to

describe differing expectations about alcohol. Methods from cognitive anthropology

complemented previous methods of measuring social learning and provided culturally

appropriate descriptions. Freelists and triad tests provided a reasonable and valid

means to determine the most salient features concerning reasons to drink.

Members of different life stages frame alcohol use in distinct terms of

expectations and behaviors. Younger children define alcohol use more narrowly and

expect negative consequences. Teenagers have a wide range of approved definitions

and expect both negative and positive consequences. Adults are more polarized in their

definition of drinking, having both approval and strong disapproval of drinking

behavior. Inculcation into specific gender roles regulates a set of expectations about

alcohol's effect. Males define alcohol use in terms of social interaction and women are

more likely to relate drinking to primary relationships. Both males and females expect

alcohol to alter affective states for the better. Differences in alcohol use and norms

defining alcohol differ between members who continue to practice the traditional

religion and those who have been exposed to the Christian doctrine.

This research supports the usefulness of social learning theory in cross-cultural

comparison and provides guidelines for understanding the role of cultural values in

drinking behavior. Age and sex related definitions of alcohol use and its effects explain

different frequencies of alcohol use within a community. Religious orientation and

drinking status further polarize beliefs. These attitudes are learned and reinforced

through the socialization or enculturation process in which conflicting cultural norms

promote an ambivalent atmosphere tolerating a wide range of drinking behaviors.


The objective of this study is to explain the intracultural differences in alcohol

use and in beliefs about alcohol's effect by gender and age in a rural population of

Seminole Indians at Brighton Reservation in Florida. Learning theory suggests that

drinking behavior is a function of social interactions in which definitions (attitudes)

favorable to drinking and one's drinking are differentially reinforced both socially and

by alcohol's effect. Definitions, which include expectations, determine how alcohol is

used. Experience reinforces the definitions and drinking behavior.

The hypothesis presented in the research is that the drinking patterns of the

different gender and age groups will correlate with expressed values regarding alcohol

use. This research fills a gap in the literature concerning attitudinal differences

between males and females and changing definition by age group.

RESEARCH QUESTION 1. Does inculcation into specific gender roles

determine a set of expectations about alcohol's effect?

a. Males are predicted to define alcohol use in terms of social interaction.

b. Females are predicted to expect alcohol to alter affective states.

RESEARCH QUESTION 2. What kinds of beliefs do members of different age

groups express in terms of expectations and behaviors regarding alcohol use?

a. Younger children are presumed to define alcohol use more narrowly and

expect negative consequences.

b. Teenagers are presumed to have a wide range of approved definitions and

expect both negative and positive consequences.

c. Adults are presumed to be more polarized in their definition of drinking,

having both approval and strong disapproval of drinking behavior.

The research uses cultural domain analysis (Weller and Romney 1988), decision

tree models (Gladwin 1989), and ethnographic data collection (Spradley and McCurdy

1972) to describe differing expectations about alcohol. If the expectations can be

explained, then interventions can be developed that use methods appropriate for the

intratribal differences, relating to specific age and gender categories of the study

population. Cultural differences suggest a wider role played by socialization and

enculturation into cultures of drinking for age and gender categories (Bennett and Ames


The research is important because of the high rates of alcohol impairment noted in

many Native American communities (Office of Substance Abuse Prevention, OSAP 1991).

It is also important because the methods used generate community-explicit questions from

the people themselves to explain how the dynamics of sex, age, and social group relate to

definitions about alcohol.

The research contributes to theory by retesting the usefulness of social learning

theory in explaining alcohol use cross-culturally The theory proves robust for this Native

American population in statistical measures. Qualitative data provide the context for the


quantitative results. Methods from cognitive anthropology complement previous methods

of measuring social learning and provide culturally appropriate descriptions of definitions.

Freelists and triad tests provide reasonable and valid methods to determine the most

salient features concerning reasons to drink, although there is not as strong an association

as provided by more quantitative measures

The research contributes to the practice of anthropology by providing a

community-specific guide for tribal leaders, program directors, and interested persons to

realistically weigh the attitudes of the community's youth and adult populations. The

research provides the community and tribe' with a data base for needs assessment, future

planning, and grant generation. In addition, non-Indian staff and support personnel can

gain insight into the way the community views itself Others may receive an understanding

of the problems facing the community and how stereotypes influence the cognitive

processes of those living with the demands of being Indian ;

:Community refers to the specific reservation, Brighton, one of the five
reservations that make up the Seminole Tribe of Florida The term "tribe" will be used in
reference to the governing body of the reservations and its community officials Since the
community refers to itself as "the tribe" the term will be used in the same context without
reference to the traditional political organization used in anthropology The formal
structure of the Seminole Tribe of Florida creates a functional nation-state relationship
with the US government, Informally, the group fits the cultural definition of tribal
organization described by Ember and Ember as "the kind of organization in which local
communities mostly act autonomously but there are kin groups (such as clans) or
associations (such as age-sets) that can temporarily integrate a number of local groups into
a larger unit" (1996 583).

Since the Seminole are more likely to identify themselves as "Indian" rather than
Native American, both Native American and American Indian will be used interchangeably


American Indian groups have been found to be at high risk for heavy drinking and

alcoholism. While true in general, the statement masks the high degree of variability

among and within different Native American groups (Heath 1982, 1985, and 1986. Walker

and Kivlahan 1984) Research linking genetic differences to Indian identification have

focused on differences in flushing responses (Goedde and Agarwal 1989, Goedde et al

1986, Chan 1986), the distribution of the allele frequencies ofALDH2 (O'Dowd et al

1990), but have not conclusively connected heavy drinking in Indian populations to these

differences. Research on alcohol metabolism differences (on which more recent works

have been based) is discounted because of poor sampling--comparing Indian hospital

patients presenting alcohol-related disorders with a control group of young non-Indian

medical students (Fenna et al. 1971) In the absence of convincing scientific data

indicating a genetic link between Indian identification and vulnerability to alcohol (May

1989; Bennion and Li 1976; Rex et al 1985), this chapter will address demographic issues

of American Indian drinking practices

Issues Concerning Native American Alcohol Use and Abuse

High rates of alcohol impairment, alcohol-related accidents, deaths, and health

problems indicate the severity of alcohol abuse among Native Americans in North America

(Goldberg et al 1991, Kinzie et al 1992; Manson et al 1987; May 1989; Topper 1985;

United States Department of Health and Human Services, USDHHS 1990, Weisner et al.

1984) Alcoholism is the number one Native American health problem (Office of

Substance Abuse Prevention's (OSAP) Report on American Indians and Native Alaskans

1991. Levy and Kunitz 1974) Four out often deaths are alcohol-related The death rate

from cirrhosis of the liver is five times that of the general population. Eighty percent of

homicides, vehicle accidents, and suicides are linked to alcohol among Native Americans

Beauvais (1992c) found that 15 percent of reservation youth were involved in alcohol

related accidents About 2 5 times as many Indian children under the age of five die as a

result of vehicle accidents, exceeding the national average The majority of unintentional

injuries involving Native Americans are alcohol related (Kauffman 1991: Gallaher et al

1992) Alcohol was common to about 90 percent of the Indian pedestrian deaths and

hypothermia related mortality in New Mexico (Gallaher et al. 1992).

Native Americans suffer higher rates of alcohol related mortality than the general

population Alcohol related deaths among Indian populations are most likely to occur

among the 25- to 44-year-old age group (USDHHS 1990). The 1985 age adjusted deaths

from alcoholism for American Indians were 26.1 per 100,000, a decrease from the high of

66 in 1973, but nonetheless, four times that of the general population.

Style of drinking effects health factors as well Binge drinking attributed to

drinking patterns of American Indians had detrimental effects on health, especially sudden

death brought on by acute intoxication (Welty et al. 1995). Blum and colleagues (1992)

found that poor health assessment for adolescent American and Alaska Natives was

significantly correlated to substance abuse. Alcohol use for the sample was about the

same as a comparison sample of rural white Minnesota youth, although other social risk

factors, such as suicide attempts, physical and sexual abuse, poor school performance and

poor nutrition, were much higher for the Indian youth. Kinzie and colleagues (1992)

found comorbidity of alcohol use and depression in their Native American village study

Native American infants also experience higher rates of fetal alcohol syndrome

(FAS) and fetal alcohol effect (FAE). Although their FAS rates are 33 times the rates of

the Euro-Americans (OSAP 1991), Native American rates for FAS and FAE are similar to

infants born with fetal alcohol abnormalities in Sweden and France (May 1989). The

incidence of FAS and FAE vary among reservations in the American Southwest, with a

high of 1 in 97 to a low of I in 749 FAS births (Streissguth et al. 1988)3 Estimates of

FAE are believed to be twice as frequent. While the severe effects of FAS are

malformations, growth deficiency, and nervous system disorders, FAE may involve only

some of the characteristics

Youthful Drinking

Drinking and drug use are a continual concern among Native American youth

(Beauvais et al. 1989, Beauvais and La Boueff 1985). These studies do not include

teenagers who have dropped out of school, indicating that the extent of the problem is

even greater if drop-outs are included in the sample (Beauvais 1992a) While alcohol

prevalence rates' occur at somewhat the same level as non-Indian groups, marijuana use is

considerably higher Beauvais (1992a) points out that although there has been a decrease

The locations of the comparison groups were not noted.

Prevalence rate refers to the percent of a population who have ever used a
substance, as opposed to those who have never used. Frequency refers to the interval of
time between drinking events, generally a range from abstinence to daily drinking.


in alcohol involvement by moderate users, the rates of high risk users in American Indian

youth, and particularly marijuana use, have remained higher than the general population

Prevention programs appear to modify casual drinking behavior, but be ineffective for high

risk youth Beauvais defines "high risk" youth as those involved in weekly or daily use

and whose drinking results in emotional and physical consequences

Compared to other populations, Native American youth in general drink alcohol at

a younger age, drink more frequently and in greater amounts, and have more negative

consequences from drinking (Beauvais and La Boueff 1985) Okwumabua and Duryea

(1987) found Native American youth in an urban school first used drugs and alcohol

between ages 10 and 13.

Native American youth are more likely to have tried marijuana, smoked tobacco,

sniffed inhalants, and used smokeless tobacco than the rest of the population (Beauvais

and La Boueff 1985, Beauvais 1992a) Initiation to alcohol, usually beer or wine, then

hard liquor, precedes introduction to other drugs, not as a causal factor, but as a

developmental sequence. Adler and Candle (1981) have found that substance use follows

a regular sequence of use, beginning with alcohol.

If it is indeed the case that adolescents do not move to any given stage
without having been through all preceding stages, the population at risk for
any given stage is that which has passed the preceding stage. For example,
if use of alcoholic beverages precedes the use of marijuana in the
developmental sequence, the population at risk for use of marihuana is the
one that has already used alcohol. (1981 702)

They found the sequence of drug use to be reliable cross-culturally by comparing US,

French, and Israeli students. Understanding alcohol use becomes critical because of its

correlation with risk for other drug use.

In one study among Native American and Anglo college youth in Oklahoma, more

of the Indian students were classified as drinkers having started at a later age (Hughes and

Dodder 1984) The groups were similar in their preference for beer and drank in about

the same quantity and frequency. The white students were more likely to drink in public

and the Indian students in their homes or the homes of friends. "Indians were more

inclined to report more serious drinking problems of being arrested, blacking out, and

interference with school or work, and difficulties in human relationships" (Hughes and

Dodder 1984 433).

Age correlates of among Native American groups are similar to the general

population The 16- to 29-year-olds is the most likely to drink in both groups, but after

age 40 a higher percentage of the Native American population is likely to abstain and

abstain at rates higher than the general population A minority of American Indians

progress to heavier use and alcoholism (May 1989). About 30 to 50 percent of the

abstaining males over 35 were once moderate or heavy drinkers. Whether the percentages

of abstainers increased because heavy drinkers died of alcohol related causes, moved off

the reservation, or more people stopped is not clear The Alkali Lake Band in Canada

succeeded in its community effort to reverse high rates of alcoholism in an anti-alcohol

movement (Rhoades et al. 1988; Orange 1990)

Male and Female Differences

A double standard appears to exist in most tribes that prohibit women from

drinking at the same rate as men Except for an experimental age during youth, Indian

women are less likely to drink than men. Joan Weibel-Orlando (1986) noted an exception

for Sioux women She found that Plains Sioux women drank at the same rate as the men.

The Sugarman et al. study (1992:452-453) demonstrates the within-group variation

between male and female Native Americans an 8.1 male to female ratio for the

Southwest, a 1 1 ratio for the Plains; a 2 1 ratio for the West Coast, and a 3 1 ratio of

other Indian groups which include the Florida Seminole and Oklahoma groups.

The alcoholism rate among Native American women averages about one-half that

of the men (USDHHS 1990) The proportion of heavy female drinkers appears to be

increasing in some communities (Fleming and Manson 1990, May and Smith 1988).

Female Indian college students reported more drinking-related problems than their white

counterparts in an Oklahoma study (Hughes and Dodder 1984) Women appear to be

affected more by alcohol-related health problems, even though they have a lower incidence

of use. About half of the Native Americans dying from cirrhosis are women. Kinzie and

colleagues (1992) in a 19-year village restudy of an unspecified group in the West noted

that current rates of alcohol abuse for Indian women were considerably lower than men.

Women in the same study (Leung, Kinzie. et al 1993) had a higher lifetime rate for

alcohol abuse (8.4%) than men (3.6%), but a higher remission rate (82%) than men (52%)

which made their current rate much less. For youthful Native Americans overall, males

use at a slightly higher rate than females (Beauvais 1992b), but not enough to target

prevention efforts more toward males.

Gender differences in rates and rationales have been found in other populations as

well (Cahalan et al. 1969; Lex et al. 1989, Lex 1990, 1991a, 1991b, Heath 1986, 1991b,

USDHHS 1990, Blume 1986; Hoar 1983, Wilsnack 1984, 1986) Olenick and Chalmers

(1991) found that alcoholic women in the general population were more likely to use

alcohol to alter their mood or in response to marital difficulties Following treatment,

women are at greater risk of relapse if lacking a partner or having a partner who continues

using alcohol (Havassy et al. 1991) Alcoholic men in the Olenick and Chalmers study

were more likely to use alcohol to be more congenial in social situations. Male alcoholics

were more likely than women to incur social and legal difficulties while drinking.

Intertribal Variation

The government report (OSAP 1991) on alcohol use among Native Americans

that states that 1) Alcoholism is the number one problem; 2) American Indians have a

consistently higher lifetime prevalence of drinking (although other studies, such as May

1992, have found less or the same prevalence; 3) They experience high alcohol-related

mortality; 4) Young females use at the same rate as males However, these

generalizations do not reflect intertribal variation

Generalizations cannot be made about all Indian populations Native Americans

make up only one percent of the US population yet the federal government recognizes

more than 300 different tribes (USDHHS 1993) Cultural, socioeconomic, and economic


norms vary among groups and affect alcohol use. Weisner et al (1984) found that Indians

acculturated into the mainstream of American society tended to drink more like "white

man's drinking," that is, drinking in moderation or "managed competency" during

drinking Bicultural Indians tend to drink less than Indians who are marginal to either

traditional or mainstream society On reservations. the degree of social integration

predicts whether groups will be more or less tolerant of excessive drinking behavior (May

1982) Those groups who prize individualism will be more tolerant of drinking and those

who value conformity will have less tolerance Westermeyer and Neider (1986) found

closer cultural affiliation was associated with less severe disability from alcoholism, legal

problems, or maladaptive coping skills. Differences appear more culture specific than pan-


Perceptions of heavy Native American drinking patterns are distorted by

comparing averages taken from surveys of tribes known for their "hard drinking" (May

1989) Compared individually, the adult prevalence (use during the last year) reveals a

different picture The average prevalence of alcohol use for Ute and Ojibwa is higher than

the national average, yet the Navajo have lower than average use rates and the Standing

Rock Sioux have about the same rate If more moderate drinking groups like the Eastern

Oklahoma and Pueblo tribes were compared to the general population, use rates might be

even less.'

OSAP takes its figures from the research of others, frequently citing works of
Beauvais and May. Beauvais takes non-random samples from surveys administered
among Indian youth who are in school. May has based his studies on samples from
Navajo Indian health clinic clientele and US government mortality records.

Table 1.01
Lifetime Prevalence Rates (Ever use)
tor Reservation Indian (RI). Non-reservaton Indian (NRI). and Anglo (Ang) Youth

8th Grade 12th Grade


Ever used alcohol 701r 80% 73%' 94% 94% 93%

Got drunk 49% 42% 27% 87% 76% 73%
Source: Beauvais 1992b:16

Alcoholism may be considered the number one problem of Indians from examining

alcohol related mortality rates (USDHHS 1990). but those rates vary between one and 24

percent among Oklahoma tribal groups alone (Christian et al. 1989) Contrary to the

OSAP report. Beauvais (1992a) found Native American Youth in general have lifetime

prevalence rates (ever use) similar to Anglo youth (Table 1 01). "Ever use" is the lifetime

prevalence criterion The lifetime prevalence (ever drank) for 12th grade Indian males was

94 percent, slightly higher than the national 12th grade rate of 93 percent. Beauvais

suggests using "getting drunk" as a more reliable criteria for measuring potential problem

areas. Comparisons of getting drunk by reservation and non-reservation Indian students

and Anglo students revealed greater discrepancies for the populations in the 8th grade

than in the 12th (Table 1 01 and 1 02) This could suggest that Indians have an earlier

entry into adult status and role Other similarities show that Native American students in

an urban school demonstrate patterns of progression in drug use similar to non-Indians

(Okwumabua and Duryea 1987) The drinking patterns of young adults and adolescents

are a specific concern because of the high risk behavior in this age range (USDHHS


Table 1.02
30 Day Prevalence Rates (Use in the last month)
ior Reservation hIdian (RI). Non-reservation Indian (NRI), and Anglo (Ang) Youth

8th Grade 12th Grade


Used alcohol 42' 357 28% 57% 61% 60%

Got drunk 24%, 16% 10% 44( 40% 38%
Source: Beauvais 1992b:17

Prevalence rates vary within tribes as well (Walker and Kivlahan 1984) The 1979

McBride and Page study of the Seminole Indian youth aged 11-17 showed differences in

lifetime prevalence by residence of members within the tribe The proportion of "ever

use" youth at Big Cypress Reservation was twice that rate reported at Brighton and I 3

times the rate at Hollywood Reservation.

Comparisons with Other Populations

Socioeconomic factors, such as the lack of economic resources and opportunity

need to be considered when comparing Native American drinking rates with other

populations (Beauvais and La Boueff 1985) The economic reality of Native American life

is that 27 5 percent live below the poverty level (May 1989) Unemployment reaches as

much as 60 percent on some reservations The education level for Indians are far below


national averages, with only 8 percent of the Native American adult population completing

four years of college.

In Canada, Adrian et al (1991) found per capital alcohol consumption higher in

counties with Indian reservations Also, alcohol consumption on reservations rose with

increasing population In relation to economic status, they found that alcohol

consumption decreased 0.297 liters per person for every $1000.00 increase in income.

Indian populations differ from white populations in drinking patterns and social

norms for drinking (Lex 1987, 1991c, Heath 1985. 1982: Beauvais and La Boueff 1985)

Norm drinking for some tribes includes recreational drinking, high visibility," binge

drinking (Walker and Kivlahan 1985, Weibel-Orlando et al 1984, Weisner et al 1984;

Welty et al 1995, Westermeyer and Neider 1994), and identity with "Indianness" (Lurie

1979; Mail and McDonald 1980), all contributing to the prominence given Indian drinking.

Drinking patterns of Native American groups are a mark of cultural distinctiveness or

"Indianness." Lurie (1979) suggests that it is a form of social protest

Lemert (1982) suggests that drinking for Native American populations has

different cultural meaning combined with a lack of "guilt and complex attitudes toward

their drinking" and heavy drinkers are less likely to be ejected from communities He also

believes drinking differs because many have witnessed the perceived ease with which some

heavy drinkers stop drinking, sometimes because of a religious conversion Leung et al

(1993) demonstrated that about half(n = 98) of the Native Americans in their study had

This is in contrast to Indian college students in Oklahoma who preferred drinking
in homes (Hughes and Dodder 1984)

stopped drinking after an average 15 years of drinking Eighty-three of these had quit

spontaneously because of life problems created or made worse by alcohol use, and done

so without the aid of alcohol treatment

Although similar to white populations, recreational drinking among Indians may be

higher because of the isolation of the community in rural areas and from the lack of

stimulating activities Binion et al (1988) found that adolescents on a reservation sought

alcohol for excitement, to party, and to relieve boredom (see also du Toit 1964).

High visibility occurs both on and off the reservation Indian drinking may be

more visible on the reservation because of the face-to-face existence of a small

community Within the community, consequences are likely to become public knowledge

because, according to the Seminole, "Everyone knows each other's business When

reservation policy prohibits alcohol sales, Indians go off the reservation to drink where

heavy drinkers are .11lil1'. ..N.r to locals and police Poor roads and the long ride back to

the reservation after drinking make Indians particularly susceptible to accidents 7

McBride and Page (1979) suggested that binge drinking is a characteristic pattern

of American Indians often not captured in questions concerning drinking within the last

thirty days Holidays or periodic ceremonies may be times of heavy drinking or social

"time outs" which allow uninhibited behavior (McAndrew and Edgerton 1969)

Ethnic differences in drug use in adolescent Indians in the Southeast were related

to an increased frequency of "unpleasant home situation, deteriorating relationships with

Reservation youth are more likely to use alcohol while driving around both for
8th graders (207) and 12th graders (67%) than either non-reservation (10% and 39%)
or Anglo youth (5%7 and 34 ) (Beauvais 1992e:44).

parents, strong dislike of school, perceptions that the teachers disliked them, and strong

peer support for use" (McBride and Page 1980 488).

All these differences have prompted May (1992) to suggest that studies of

prevalence rates need to be conducted on individual communities.

Stereotypes and myths have so clouded the perceptions of most Americans,
both Indian and non-Indian, that most people believe that a much greater
proportion of the Indian population drinks than actually does so. Further,
such thinking prohibits accurate and responsible debate and the ability to
target the problems in the specific subgroups or areas where they truly
exist (1992:8)

Although the Seminole may themselves believe that their community has a problem with

alcohol, recent comparisons of Seminole youth in grades 10 through 12 in school indicate

that their life time prevalence (58%) is far lower than the national average (87%) for 12th

grade students (Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research 1993-1994 6. National figures

taken from the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, 1993).

The differences in alcohol use can be explained by social learning theory most

appropriately and completely (Heath 1991 a) Chapter 2 describes social learning theory

and relates it to the research in the Seminole community Chapter 3 addresses the

background of the Seminole Tribe of Florida Chapter 4 will describe details of the

research methods used In Chapter 5, ethnographic material will situate drinking behavior

in the cultural milieu at Brighton reservation. Frequency of drinking is presented by sex

and age Next, Chapter 6 applies the usefulness of social learning theory to the survey of

Brighton residents in explaining drinking behavior The next five chapters focus on

definitions proposed by community members, definitions by sex, age, cultural or within


group orientation, and finally definitions by drinking status This dissertation concludes

with a summary of the findings and conclusions in Chapter 12


The application of social learning theory to alcohol use is taken from the work of

Ronald L Akers (1992) who proposes that four factors explain drinking behavior

t'. ', ,I, association, definitions, .i,.. .'i.,! reinforcement, and imitation Akers, a

sociologist, first developed his version of social learning theory from Sutherland's 1939

Principles of Criminology. Sutherland's principles proposed the importance of

associations but did not r'.:olf Fle learning process which produces deviant behavior.

Burgess and Akers (1966), more concerned with the "why" of non-conforming behavior,

demonstrate the differential association--reinforcement process They melded the

interactional and cognitive aspects of Sutherland's theory with the behavior theory of

Skinner, Bandura, and others, including differential reinforcement operantt conditioning or

instrumental learning), modeling (imitation), discriminative stimuli and other concepts

They called the revised theory differential association--reinforcement of criminal behavior

The revised principles include the following

1. Criminal behavior is learned by operant conditioning principles.
2 Criminal behavior is learned from non-social states and through social
interaction, both acting as positive reinforcers.
3 The group is the major source of reinforcement
4. The manner of behavior including attitude and avoidance are learned in the
5 The behaviors learned are a function of reinforcers, norms, rules, and

6 The probability of repetition increases through norms, definitions, and
verbalizations which outweigh conventional conforming behavior.
7 The strength of the behavior comes from the amount, frequency, and
probability of reinforcement.

Burgess and Akers emphasized learning while minimizing Skinner's and Bandura's

perspective on heritability of properties of learning, such as the speed of acquiring a new


By 1973 in Deviant Behavior (1973, 1977, 1985), Akers modified, clarified, and

applied his theory to all forms of deviant behavior, including alcohol behavior. Deviant

behavior is socially defined as behavior that a group neither approves nor tolerates as

conforming This covers minor behavioral deviations from norms and major violations of

societal and legal cultural standards. What each society deems as deviant depends upon

group norms McAndrew and Edgerton (1969) found that while "drunken comportment"

determined conforming and deviant behavior concerning alcohol use, the definition varied

with each culture. Societies are more likely to agree on definitions of serious deviance,

but less about drinking deviance (Akers 1977) Most disagreement surrounds effective

control and appropriate sanctions

In his application of social learning theory to alcohol behavior, Akers proposes the

following factors in alcoholism (1977 146) 1) alcohol must be available (unlike illegal

drugs, it is easy to obtain); 2) positive or neutralizing definitions must be applied to

alcohol use; 3) drinkers must like the taste or acquire a taste for alcohol; 4) drinkers must

receive a conditioned reinforcement of its effects, and 5) drinkers must receive differential

social rewards


Social learning theory of alcohol use reliably accounts for alcohol-related behavior

(from abstinence to excessive use) among adolescents (Krohn et al. 1982; Akers et al.

1979), among the elderly (Akers et al. 1989); in rural populations (Winfree and Griffiths

1983, Winfree et al 1981). and in Native American and Euro-American adolescents

(Winfree and Sellars 1989. Winfree et al. 1981) For teens, social conditioning or drinking

in the peer context was the most robust of the social learning principles. The direct

cinfl'rc, effects of alcohol perceived by the respondents was strongest in the elderly

population In addition, social learning theory was a more reliable explanation of

marijuana use in an adolescent population than either Merton's anomie theory' or Hirschi's

social bonding theory- (Akers and Cochran 1985).

Principles of Social Learning

The four principal factors in the process of learning drinking behavior require

further review The following is a discussion of differential association, definitions,

differential reinforcement, and imitation.

Anomie or strain theory occurs when cultural values and societal means are at
odds for the individual. The individual is exposed to cultural success goals but lacks the
resources to attain these goals. Frustrated, the individual then becomes alienated and
escapes to alcohol or other deviant behavior

Social bonding theory is a type of control theory that contains four elements that
integrates an individual to society attachment to friends and family, commitment to
conventional activities, and belief in conventional norms When these elements are
missing, deviant behavior occurs

Differential Association

Association with others who drink and approve of drinking is the greatest

predictor of drinking level (Beauvais 1992e; Akers 1992) Drinking groups "accept and

legitimate the use of alcohol, permit congenial social interaction relatively free of

competitive overtones, and provide the rewarding intimacy of pseudo-primary' groups"

(Akers 1977 158) The techniques of drinking, attitude, and consequence avoidance are

learned in the group3 and the group provides social reinforcement for drinking. This

applies to family or peer-friendship groups. and to a certain extent schools, church, and

other affiliations Association factors for increased risk of alcohol abuse among Indian

youth include friends who drink (Beauvais 1992e), those from families with low caring,

weak sanctions, absent fathers (Beauvais 1992f)0 reservation residents (Beauvais 1992b),

school dropouts (Beauvais 1992f), and solitary drinkers (Topper 1985)

Differential association describes how users seek groups with the same level of

participation in deviance and definitions. Akers explains the process using a 1966 study by

Harrison Trice on the four parts of alcoholic drinking.

More specifically, this social-psychological scheme for explaining alcoholism has
the following parts (I) personality features4 that set the stage, making one a

Becker (1953) demonstrated how learning the effects of marijuana use through
peer groups is integral to forming positive definitions of use A later study (Winfree and
Griffiths 1983) found that social learning accounted for 52 percent of the variance in
marijuana use, considerably more than the 34 percent accounted for in alcohol use (See
also Akers and Cochran 1985, Winfree et al. 1981).

Personality features do not cause the alcoholic disorder, but certain traits appear
to "maximize the readiness for alcoholism" (Trice 1966 46) Some characteristics include
intense dependency needs, lack of self-worth, anxiety, and "low threshold of response to
excitement, danger, and trouble" (1966:47)

candidate, (2) qualities of drinking-centered groups that uniquely attract and
reward the use of alcohol for such persons, linking "readiness" with alcohol; (3)
the uneven, but usually inevitable, shift from reward to rejection within drinking
groups; and then (4) the seeking out of more tolerant drinking companions,
providing continued support and protection for alcoholism to develop. (Trice
1966 43)

Trice focused on inborn personality traits as shaping alcoholic behavior He wrote

following Jellinek's paradigm of 1960 that alcoholism was a biological disease Akers

argued that learning was the prime mover in alcoholic progression Although Trice's

paper is more an essay than a scientific study, it reflects the prevailing treatment modality

of the time.

Differential Reinforcement

Reinforcement refers to the process and balance of rewarding and aversive

consequences of behavior The primary mechanism of learning acquisition, maintenance,

and change in behavior, it depends upon a combination of operant conditioning and stimuli

or consequences (Akers 1977 57) Reward (positive reinforcement) and avoidance of

punishment (negative reinforcement)strengthen behavior. On the other hand, aversive

stimuli (positive punishment) and lack of reward (negative punishment) dissipate behavior.

Past and present punishment and rewards influence future behavior.

Reward (such as a drug's effect or social approval for use) and/or punishment such

as legal penalties or social disapproval) reinforce behavior Positive reinforcements

include social rewards such as popularity in a peer group or "fitting in," status, approval,

or good as well as the pleasurable effects of consuming a substance Negative reinforcers

take away something and are avoided as painful or unpleasant stimuli. The person does

not expect a reward but rather attempts to forestall a punishing event Alcohol may be

consumed to avoid or escape unpleasant events or feelings

The reinforcement value of reward is often greater than the fear of punishment.

Marlatt and Gordon (1985) call this the problem of immediate gratification, or the PIG

effect Positive outcome expectancies precede consequences and may even outweigh

potential negative effects that occur at the end of the drinking event If definitions

characterize immediate gratification, then long-term consequences, such as increased

stress, hangovers, fights, or arrests, are minimized as chance occurrences. Although

alcohol may be used for immediate relief from stress, long-term physiological effects

increase stress, especially when the blood alcohol level is descending The probability and

length of delay of the effect need to be measured in weighing negative reinforcers.

Rates of arrest for alcohol related offenses may measure reinforcement, but do not

explain whether legal sanctions deter abusive drinking or if abusive and frequent drinkers

are more likely to get caught. Ross (1984) found decreased instances of drinking and

driving when individuals believed in the certainty of getting caught, but not from the

severity or swiftness of the punishment. Increased sanctions work for the short term, but

certainty of apprehension works better in the long run. Deterrence research, which

generally uses legal sanctions as measures, ignores other social reinforcement

contingencies (Akers 1977) Social rewards, such as increased status, or social

punishment, such as shunning, vary by character and degree in different cultures and

subcultures (Heath 1990)

On the physiological level, reinforcers provide satisfaction of drives such as

hunger, thirst, or sex These are identified as non-social reinforcers. The linkage between

non-social reinforcers and emotional states is suitable for further research into the question

of biological predisposition to alcoholism.

Native American studies that address reinforcement include drinking to enhance

affective states and facilitate social interaction (Binion et al 1988). knowledge of health

risks (May and Smith 1988), and high psychophysiological stress scores (Weisner et al

1984) Native American youth who lived on reservations were more likely to experience

social consequences from problems with alcohol which involved fighting with parents and

friends (Beauvais 1992c).


Imitation in the learning process is mirroring the observed behavior of another

person or a group Anthropology calls this socialization process enculturation, "the

process by which the rules and norms of a culture are transmitted from one generation to

the next" (Haviland 1987.31). Marvin Harris expands on the definition to include the

conscious and unconscious teachings of the older generation which "invites, induces, and

compels the younger generation to adopt traditional ways of thinking and behaving"

(1983 6) He considers enculturation a salient aspect of culture which, when

misunderstood by another culture, manifests itself as ethnocentrism, the belief that one's

own culture is normal, good, or important in contrast to the different culture Examining

the cognitive processes from childhood to adulthood demonstrates socialization (Draper


1974). Enculturation is best understood in the context of tradition, but drinking behavior

is as integral to enculturation as indigenous language, arts, or religion (Heath 1987)

Imitation involves direct modeling and vicarious reinforcement Imitation occurs

most powerfully within families and within peer where people learn to distinguish the

appropriate level of drinking and correct behavior for each group and setting Cahalan

and colleagues found that knowing the attitudes and behavior of the parents, especially the

mother, predicted adolescent drinking They found that

in a society which is not very permissive toward women's heavy dnnking that a
home in which the mother drinks heavily is more likely to have a higher degree of
disorganization and indifference to sanctions against heavy drinking, with
consequent lessening of social controls upon the children in the family. (1969:98)

Although imitation was the weakest effect in testing social learning theory, it still had

significant effects on drinking and non-drinking (Akers et al. 1979) and other studies have

pointed to the role of parental attitude in guiding a child's definitions and expectations

about alcohol (Barnes 1977, Margulies et al 1977, Zucker 1976; Stacey and Davies 1970;

Bennett and Ames 1985) Social learning exists well before initiation into alcohol use

(Christiansen et al. 1982)

Learned drinking patterns come from primary groups, first family, then peers

Kauffman (1993), president of NANCOA (Organization for Native American Children of

Alcoholics), testified before Congress in 1991 that parental alcoholism was the greatest

single risk factor for Indian substance abuse She also testified that modeling healthy

parental behavior was the most protective factor against risk. Low rates of intoxication in

male and females in a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) boarding school was -ini,.i iiil

correlated to high family support (Dick et al. 1993). Heavy drinking on reservations

suggests that youngsters will model the drinking behavior of adults (Beauvais and La

Boueff 1985) Media-portrayed figures, depictions of folk heros, and role models such as

teachers also reinforce drinking values


Definitions are normative meanings, that is, attitudes toward behavior that "define"

it as right or wrong, justified or unjustified, proper or improper If a person has an excess

of definitions approving of drinking then he/she is more likely to drink alcohol

Definitions arise from differential reinforcement, the likelihood of reinforcements, and

imitation. Definitions are the internalized cultural (normative) aspect of learning and refer

to the individual's values, attitudes, and orientations how people frame their world

Behaviorally, definitions act as cues discriminativee stimuli) for appropriate or

inappropriate behavior according to cultural norms

Positive definitions

Positive definitions are favorable to drinking and associated with the person's

approval of alcohol. Drinkers tend to view alcohol as a social facilitator or an aid in

relaxation. In the United States, moderate drinking for enjoyment, social occasions, and

recreation is commonly acceptable Native American positive definitions include social

facilitation and enhanced affective states (Oetting et al 1989, May and Smith 1988, Binion

et al 1988)

Negative definitions

Negative definitions of drinking include the view that it is morally wrong, a bad

habit, or otherwise not a good or wise thing to do. Abstainers will consistently classify

drinking in negative terms Cultural definitions vary according to rules of prohibition and

morality Morality of drinking depends on conditional or situational factors, age, or a

person's pattern of drinking. Abusive drinking is usually considered habitual and excessive

when measured by social norms, nevertheless, specific criteria vary from culture to


In the United States, drinking is negatively defined but not abhorrent when people

are underage Underaged drinking is often not a great concern if it is occasional and

supervised At times, even heavy drinking is viewed as something to be outgrown.

Native Americans define alcohol negatively when tribes prohibit alcohol sales on

reservations. Among the Navajo, 81 percent opposed changing the prohibition policy and

65 percent viewed drinking even a small amount as a bad thing to do (May and Smith

1988). Walker and Kivlahan (1984) warn that measurement of the influence of culture is

difficult because of the broad scope of its meaning Specific values, attitudes, and beliefs

are factors conducive to the operationalization of cultural constructs. Earlier, Bales

(1946) proposed that culture produces attitudes toward drinking which influence rates of


Neutralizing definitions

"neutralizing" normativ Akers classifies rationales as definitions that justify

drinking by countering or e inhibitions or negative definitions Rationalizations deflect


social disapproval Neutralizing definitions such as "I can't help it." "It's part of having a

high stress job," or "I need it to cope" remove responsibility for behavior A belief in the

lack of self-efficacyv is a neutralizing definition as well, removing the drinker from control

of the situation These neutralizing definitions favor drinking

An example of a neutralizing definition for Native Americans might be the belief

that Indians have a genetic predisposition toward alcoholism May and Smith (1988 328)

found that 63 percent of the Navajo believed that "Indians have a physical weakness to

alcohol that non-Indians do not have "' Forty-five percent responded to the open-ended

question "Why do you think some people drink so much alcohol so often that they become

very sick?" with the answer, "Because they cannot help it" (1988:328) The stereotype of

the "drunken Indian" may be a pan of the Native American belief system as well as that of

the majority population. In this case. the rationale becomes an excuse to drink Beauvais

and La Boueff(1985) argue that stereotypes of"the drunken Indian" impede self-efficacy

and promote drinking among Native Americans Thurman and colleagues (1990)

compared Cherokee alcoholics with non-alcoholics finding fewer alcoholics if the group

believed in personal power/control than non-alcoholics Locus of control by the

nonbeliever was more likely to be outside their reach

Self-efficacy refers to a belief that one is not behaviorally governed by events or
processes beyond oneself

The authors do not indicate what they mean by "physical weakness." They
stated their question this way: Do you think that Indians have a problem with alcohol?
[Yes (94%). No (6'%)]. If "yes", do you think that Indians have a physical weakness
to alcohol that non-Indians do not have?

Drinking results when there is an excess of favorable definitions (positive and

neutralizing) over negative ones (Akers 1992). Positive definitions are associated with

expectations prior to the drinking experience and are reinforced at initiation (Christiansen

et al 1982: Goldman et al. 1987) Neutralizing definitions are more indicative of

sustained drinking and problem drinking. Lack of self-efficacy, positive expectancies, and

coping strategies are related to the increased use of alcohol in a college sample (Evans and

Dunn 1995). One good rationale tips the balance in favor of drinking for an "out of

control" drinker, in spite of overwhelming possible consequences. The number of

negative definitions has little effect on the drinking level

Describing the Norms

Different community drinking norms typify the interaction of social learning

principles Drinking norms include proscriptive, permissive, prescriptive, and ambivalent

patterns. In proscriptive groups, drinking is prohibited and abstinence is the norm (Akers

1977, 1992, Krohn et al 1982) If family values are proscriptive then individuals are less

likely to drink, unless rebelling against parental values and authority By region, the

southern United States is more proscriptive because of the large number of religious

fundamentalists who condemn alcohol use (Goode 1989) Drinkers among proscriptive

groups are more likely to be rejected by the group. They often join a new group with a

more tolerant drinking prescription. The Hopi Indians in the Southwest United States are

a proscriptive group Heavy drinkers in reservation communities may be pushed from the

group to urban areas to avoid censure (Kunitz et al 1979) In a study of urban Native


Americans, abstinence was predictive for Indians whose family of origin had proscriptive

norms (Weisner et al 1984)

When a community is small and proscriptive such as the Hopi (Kunitz et al 1979),

there is less tolerance for drinking. Gossip, censure, and disapproval act as social

sanction. Any individual seeking to continue non-normative behavior must move to more

tolerant groups The person may migrate to urban areas to find anonymity among a group

of drinkers with permissive definitions The Hopi (Pueblo) communities are examples of

this ejection process (Kunitz et al. 1979) With the exodus of deviant drinkers, the

original community becomes even more homogeneous in definitions. Once transferred to

a permissive group, the heavy drinker more likely develops alcohol related problems

The prescriptive group permits drinking but provides limits on drinking behavior.

In prescriptive environments, underaged drinking is more likely viewed as a "rite of

passage," a transition to adult status with drinking sanctioned Trying alcohol at home is

considered "sipping" and "tasting," while with friends it is called "drinking."

Permissive groups positively define heavy and frequent drinking, but unlike

behavior with illegal drug use, no specific path to alcohol abuse occurs through particular

subcultures as there is with illegal drug use (Akers 1977.145). The flow of members from

proscriptive to permissive groups works best in a society large enough to have multiple

subgroups, i.e., urban areas, which allow groups to function in separate social realms with

relative anonymity Beginning with the imitation or the socialization process, individuals

absorb positive and negative definitions according to the level of proscription,

prescription, ambivalence, and permissive drinking within the family Next, the individual

associates with peer groups and receives reinforcement to conform. The individual either

conforms or leaves that group for a more tolerant one

Finally, in ambivalent groups. "learning environments present one with vague,

incomplete definitions and sanctions which neither effectively prohibit nor adequately

prescribe guidelines for proper drinking" (Akers 1977 148) Heath (1987) proposes that

anthropologists in Indian communities have not studied ambivalence thoroughly I

propose that the Seminole at Brighton Reservation represent such a group because tribal

policy prohibits alcohol use on the reservation, social sanctions are rare, and recreational

drinking is unofficially supported

In small communities with ambivalent definitions and weak negative reinforcement,

alternative subgroups are enmeshed in family and clan relationships, making group

reorganization difficult Heavy drinkers are less likely to migrate because of reservation

benefits and ambivalent cultural definitions and reinforcements. The lack of alternative

subgroups supports evidence that alcohol and drug abstainers on reservations are more

likely to have friends who use these (Beauvais 1992e)

Critiques of Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory may be tautological if the behavior is assumed to be

reinforced any time it occurs. Akers (1977 55) addressed this problem by separating and

defining terms and stating propositions in non-tautological, testable form. In addition, he

suggests that tautology problems can be handled by researchers' measuring specific forms


and sources of reinforcement stimuli as independent variables separate from the behavioral

effects of those stimuli

.Another critique concerns non-social reinforcers. Social learning theory includes

"non-social" reinforcers, but since its focus is on social sources of learning, the forms and

processes of non-social reinforcement are underdeveloped in the theory Non-social

reinforcement refers to the unconditioned effects of drugs and alcohol and to other

unconditioned physiological stimuli. These could reflect innate, biological differences that

predispose some to respond to substances in a positive or negative way.

Describing the "think drink" effect in alcohol behavior, Alan Marlatt and Damaris

Rohsenow (1980, 1981) indicate that the unconditioned or inherent effects of alcohol, the

physiological, non-social reinforcers, probably do not play a large role in actual drinking

comportment. The "think drink" effect refers to research findings that show expectations

about what kind of behavior alcohol induces. In double-blind experiments, Marlatt and

Rohsenow demonstrated that setting and expectations predicted drinking behavior more

than actual alcohol consumption People in a drinking environment who believed they

were drinking alcohol in a mixed drink (when in fact they were not) exemplified behaviors

and described effects they expected to occur when drinking The researchers conclude

that the most reliable effect of alcohol is "incompetency production," the impairment of

motor skills, not the many socially and psychologically prescribed effects noted. Marlatt

calls alcohol the "magic elixir" which affects cognition to produce the perceived state

change and reduce fear of negative consequences

Alcohol serves to decrease fear or tension not because of its
pharmacologically tranquilizing effects on anxiety, but because alcohol
interferes with the ability to retrieve and hence act upon one's prior
knowledge of potentially negative consequences of excessive consumption.
In other words, alcohol may reduce the expectancy of negative
consequences rather than reducing the existing level of tension or fear

While social learning and cognitive functioning may override the pharmacological

reinforcing properties of alcohol, more recent research indicates that the reinforcing

properties may have a greater impact than previously believed In animal experiments, the

properties of alcohol have an anxiolytic effect on stress in rats similar to benzodiazepine

action (Tornatzky and Miczek 1995; Criswell 1994). Greater alcohol use in female rats

correlates with anxiolytic effects and hormonal cycle (Lancaster 1995). Dose related

differences were found in fear potentiated startle (Hijzen et al. 1995). Rats with low

dopamine and serotonin in the nucleus accumbens, the brain area associated with reward,

showed a high alcohol preference (McBride et al. 1995) Alcohol was self administered in

rats with low dopamine levels (Zhou et al. 1995)

Likewise, in investigations involving humans, alcohol was physically reinforcing to

other characteristics frequently called learned responses. Anxiety sensitive persons were

attracted to anxiolytic properties. Sons of male alcoholics with generational histories were

at risk for alcohol abuse and were hypersensitive to ethanol psychomotor stimulant effects

(Pihl and Peterson 1995a). Alcohol was shown to disinhibit the effect of fear (Pihl et al.

1993) Female alcoholics were found to have low platelet monoamine oxidase (MAO)

(Hallman et al. 1990). MAO markers were linked to a predisposition for sensation

seeking and alcoholism as expressed in impulsivity, extroverted temperament, immediate

pleasure seeking, and "optimal catecholamine system activity theory" (Zuckerman 1984).

Schuckit (1994) found differences in sensitivity to alcohol Alcohol had less effect on sons

of alcoholics prior to heavy drinking, but was capable of inducing intoxication at higher

levels. Sixty percent of low level response subjects were at risk for alcoholism by age 30

Those highly sensitivity to alcohol had a 15 percent risk by the same age

Can emotional responses influence expectations? Binion et al. (1988), and

Beauvais (1992f) have commented on the correlation with anger and drinking level in

Native American youth as opposed to non-Indians. Does this indicate that drinking is

expected to release anger or alleviate the feeling of anger" Is this a learned response? On

the other hand, studies such as Chermack and Taylor's (1995) link aggression to higher

level drinking based on psychopharmacological effect, and greater attention to the direct

physical effects of alcohol Sayette and colleagues (1993) found more aggressive

tendencies among a high-alcohol ( 85 g/kg) group in a controlled experiment than for a

control (ginger ale) group, a placebo group, and a low-alcohol (.45 g/kg) group. They

were not convinced that more alcohol caused aggression, but high level doses may

function to impair social information processing, that is, the inability to evaluate possible

negative outcomes. Other studies linked crime and aggression to dose related alcohol use

as a "causal relationship" by altering inhibitory and problem solving cognitive functioning

(Pihl and Peterson 1995b, Pihl et al 1993)

Although the cognitive process of expectation on interpretation of alcohol's effect

has been stressed (Aas et al. 1995, Aas 1993; Adesso 1985, Bennett 1991), the non-social

effects and social expectations interact to influence drinking behavior. Others


(Christiansen et al 1982, Wagner 1994, Aas et al 1995, Pisano and Rooney 1988, Miller

et al 1990) suggested that expectancies are formulated before an individual's drinking

begins and they change with increasing experimentation and age, implicating a

physiological reinforcement This is particularly important when examining cognitive

attitude changes as children age The majority of the youngest children may have

prevailing negative attitudes about alcohol use, but some individuals have favorable

expectations before they drink, indicating a readiness for positive reinforcement Yet the

prevailing attitude of adolescents--those groups who have begun experimenting--is more

favorable about alcohol's effect. Social learning theory does not satisfactorily explain the

relationship between physiological reinforcement and expectations.

Another underdeveloped aspect of social learning theory is its treatment of self

reinforcement When Akers looked to Bandura to develop definitions and reinforcement,

he made only brief mention of the self-regulating effect on behavior.

As long as the definitions are seen as only overt verbal responses or as
audible, verbal discriminative stimuli, they are congruent with, although not
emphasized by, operant theory But insofar as it is implied that one may
apply these definitions to his own behavior in a sort of conversation with
himself or to protect his self-concept, it is congruent primarily with the
symbolic interactionism contained in the original differential association
[Sutherland] Learning psychology has a long tradition of
reinforcement theories with cognitive overtones, which have developed
somewhat independently and somewhat in interaction with operant theory
These differ from strict behaviorism in utilizing notions about cognitive and
symbolic processes such as self-reinforcement, anticipation of
reinforcement, and vicarious reinforcement (Akers 1977 62)

Bandura stresses that external reinforcements are internalized through the cognitive

process People's complex cognitive ability makes them more reliant on experience, stored


symbolic forms, and the thought process in developing behavior than actual conditioning

Integrally related to the cognitive process is the belief in self-efficacy, knowing one is not

controlled by events or processes beyond oneself Self-efficacy or a lack of it regulates

behavior (Bandura 1977, 1989. 1990, and 1991, Berry 1989)

Humans do not need to experience a reinforcer first hand to weigh it as positive or

negative, but rather store vicarious events according to degrees of importance Given the

ability to internalize earlier experiences, cognition provides the skill to develop

representations of future outcomes, and the wherewithal to set goals and cI f. -reiui re

reinforcements Self-regulation influences performance standards providing a source of

satisfaction or frustration Because of this early introduction drinking expectation through

vicarious learning, the "internalized system of drinking control" (Stacey and Davies 1970)

takes on increased importance

Beauvais (1992d) found that motivation is a more important predictor of substance

use with American Indian youth than availability Principles of cognitive-behavioral self-

management demonstrate potential for modification of heavy drinking behavior (Baer et

al. 1992) 7 Understanding the role of self-regulation has not been explored in social

learning theory as much as attitudes and beliefs involved in cognition (White et al. 1990)

Because the theory views social learning as a basic, general process of which

association, definitions, imitation, and reinforcement are simply different dimensions, there

may be problems of differentiating these dimensions empirically White and colleagues

Bateson (1971) argues that Alcoholics Anonymous produces change in its
members' epistemology or cognitive structures which are adaptive to abstinence


(1990) point out that observational learning process is difficult to distinguish from directly

experienced reinforcement relationship Akers (1994) has reported difficulties in

distinguishing peer imitative effects from effects of peer association In 1979, Akers and

colleagues operationalized social learning theory in a survey instrument to test the

reliability of the four components in predicting adolescent alcohol and drug practices '

Removing imitation did little to reduce the statistical power. The survey question states,

"Have you ever observed or watched anyone whom you admire using alcohol before you

started to use it"' Irmtation measures a limited range of phenomena and is dependent

upon observed behavior. Much of its power may be integrated into associations,

definitions, and reinforcements. Elderly drinking practices were tested with social learning

theory (Akers et al 1989) Again, reinforcement, association, and definitions predicted

drinking level Akers et al attributed the poor showing of imitation to the life experience

of the elderly and probable declining impact of parents and peers

These limitations and critiques of social learning theory do not undermine the basic

soundness of the principles and have not prevented it from serving as a fairly potent

explanation for alcohol, drug, and other behaviors in adolescent and older populations

(Akers 1994). There are grounds for expecting that it will apply well to drinking behavior

Social learning theory is strongly supported for each component part:
differential association, differential reinforcement, definitions, and imitation. The
combined measures account 55% of the variance for alcohol abstinence and frequency
of use. The number drops when comparing use-abuse measures of the two substances
to 32%, but it is substantial. Akers et al. demonstrate that social learning is amenable
to survey measurement.
Subsets were ranked in order of most predictive to least for abstinence-
frequency: 1) differential association, 2) definitions, 3) combined social/non-social
differential reinforcement, 4) differential social reinforcement, and 5) imitation.

Table 2.01
Alcohol Studies of Native Americans

that are Consistent with Social Learning Theory

DEFINITIONS Oettlng et at 1989 Positive social reasons lor drinking

Beau\ais 19921 Posit-le attitudes toward alcohol use.

Blnion et at 1988 Positive definitions and expectations ot alcohols ettect, no strong
rationale to use drugs

May and Smith 1988 Informants well informed on alcohol's consequences Rationale relief
from unhappiness. pleasure seeking: to relieve boredom

Negai May and Smith 1988 Beliet by Navajo (63%1 Ihat indians have a physical weakness tot
alcohol unlike other populations Legalization ot alcohol use on
reservation opposed by 81% ot Navajo Drinking even a little bit is
seen as a bad thing to do by a majority at Navaio Even drinkers agree

Topper 995 Alcoholic drinking delinmtlon Solitary drinker does not share with
kinsmen. takes money away trom household economy

May and Smith 1988 Tribal policy against consumption sale or possession on reservation
property Self imposed tor most since 1952 Federal policy before
1932 against selling to lodians.

Neutalhraeg. Thurman et al 1990 Locus of control-evidence inconclusive with male Indian alcoholics and
non-alcoholics. Appeared to be an interaction with locus of control and
tribal membership Confusing argument does not appear to prove

DIFFERENTIAL Oetting et al 1989 Bicultural students less risk Those halfway between are not bicultural
Beauvais 1992e&t Low family caring, weak family sanctions against drugs, father not al
home; poor school adjustment: risk of school dropout: poor religious
identification. reservation residence

Topper 1985 Four basic drinking patterns based on association: 1) The house party;
males and females 2) Older men drinking in groups 3) Younger men
drinking in groups. 4)The drinking of alcoholics, drinking alone

Weisner et al 1984 Patterns associated with drinking patterns of earlier reservation
affiliation. Navajo women have a high rate of abstinence (56%);
Reduced drinking levels associated with Christian religious beliefs.
upward mobility, and having an urban job

IMITATION Weisner et al 1984 Negative correlation with having come from a family with a heavy
drinking role model. Drinking pattern in family of origin predicts for

REINFORCE- Binion t al 1988 Enhanc positive atfective states, for excitement, to party, to be wtnh
MENT friends, to relax, and to cope with boredom. to counter negative
atnective states such as nervousness

May and Smith 1988 Navajo respondents knowledgeable and concerned about health risks
from drinking

Weisner et al 1984 Negative reinforcement high scoring on psychophysiological stress

()eling et al 1989 Positive reactions enjoyingg effects) and way of coping with stress


in Native American populations. Table 2 01 outlines some studies that indicate the fit of

social learning principles to drinking behavior in Native American populations The theory

has been tested cross-culturally with Native American and Euro-American youth (Winfree

and Sellars 1989), but the strength of association with social learning was not as strong for

the Indian adolescents. The differences offer insights into Indian drinking patterns rather

than disproving the usefulness of social learning among other cultures.

Cultural differences in world view, values, and social patterns of drinking indicate

that applying social learning theory to Indian drinking may reveal valuable information for

culturally appropriate approaches to intervention and prevention (Heath 1985, 1975).

Reformulation and Testing of Social Learning Theory

This section will combine social learning theory with anthropological methods and

address problems in measurement. My own theoretical position is based on social learning

theory as proposed by Akers (1977, 1992). The four major components of social learning

theory are particularly adaptable to anthropological methods, participant observation,

open-ended survey, and interviews (Spradley and McCurdy 1972), and techniques from

cognitive anthropology (Weller and Romney 1988, Bernard 1988; D'Andrade 1981;

Romney et al 1987) McBride and Page (1979) and Weibel-Orlando (1986) have called

for long-term descriptive studies to interpret different patterns of alcohol use among

American Indians Participant observation and open-ended interview provide an insider's

perspective on what the informants believe and describe what the numbers mean

Heath (1985) specifically stresses utilizing the "emic" or insiders perspective.

To test hypotheses, surveys depend upon asking the same questions of different

groups. Rather than revealing particular cultural patterns, standardized surveys provide an

outsider's view of behavior. Cognitive anthropology provides a method for allowing

native people to generate their own cultural categories which provoke additional questions

for testing (Heath 1975)

Quantification provides a guideline for comparison with the general population

I ure, and other American Indian groups The Brighton Seminole reservation is

appropriate for study because it is a small, rural,'" relatively isolated community (j500)

and residents have similar income and education levels Independent variables include age,

sex, and religious exposure Dependent variables include amount, frequency, and style of


Using freelist methods from cognitive anthropology, informants describe their own

categories of definitions, reinforcements, and associations/imitations Interviews ask

participants to list items appropriate for Indian culture May and Smith (1988 328) used a

freelist which elicited the responses that Navajo alcohol abusers cannot help drinking

(45%), are not happy (48%), and are bored (35%). Frequency is determined from the

number of times the item appears. The most frequently listed items provide a guideline for

cultural beliefs Freelists act as a projective test of attitudes Questions which measure

community consensus of definitions include

1. List the reasons you think some Seminole men/women drink alcohol.
2. List the good things that happen to people when they drink alcohol.

In the past, studies of rural areas have consistently identified rural residence with
lower percent of individuals who use alcohol (Globetti and Windham 1967).

3. List the bad things that happen to people when they drink alcohol.

The most frequently mentioned items describing why Seminole men/women drink

are arranged on cognitive maps generated from triad exercises Cognitive maps create

generic categories of specific items. Categories can be evaluated by probability of

reinforcement, degree of association (association/imitation), and positive and negative

definitions By comparing drinking levels, definitions, reinforcements, and type of

association, the researcher can interview the most knowledgeable cultural informants (the

ones with the highest agreement with all members of the group) These individuals

provide in-depth description of meaning. The aggregate of cultural items furnishes

attitudes, values, and world view consistent with the culture If there is no general

agreement or consensus, this suggests the presence of separate subgroup norms.

Individual analysis by age, sex, group, or drinking status determines the most

homogeneous attitudes (see Chapter 4 on methods used)

In summary, although there are some limitations, social learning has been

supported in research in general population samples, and to some extent in Native

American groups Anthropological methods make testing of social learning relevant to

cultural values Long-term research such as the present study allows for rapport building

and greater reliability Descriptive accounts of social life and events provide a context for

evaluation of drinking style differences suggested by others (Weibel-Orlando 1986,

McBride and Page 1979, Walker and Kivlahan 1984, Heath 1975).


In the last 50 years, the Seminole Tribe of Florida has experienced rapid techno-

economic, social, and ideological change By 1917 more than 99,000 acres of land were

placed in trust for the Florida Indians, yet not until 1938 did they begin moving from the

neighboring countryside onto the tribal lands. The Seminole Tribe of Florida now

numbers 2100 (Personal communication from the tribal chairman's office), at least 10

times the number of people remaining at the end of the Third Seminole War in 1858

Originally, the Seminoles lived on three noncontiguous parcels of land held in

federal trust, now called reservations. Dania or Hollywood, the tribal headquarters in

Broward County, Brighton in Glades County; and, Big Cypress in Hendry County. The

Immocolee reservation was added in 1979 and Tampa, the smallest, in 1982 Table 3 01

shows the current distribution of tribal members and the adult voting members across the

five reservations Approximately 500 Seminole Tribal members live outside of the

reservation system Another group, the Miccasuki, who live along Tamiami Trail, filed for

separate tribal status in 1962 The two tribes, Miccasuki and Seminole, have similar

cultures and some members share a common language, Mikasuki. Some Seminoles speak

Muskogee/Creek The two languages, despite being from the same family, are mutually

unintelligible English is generally used among the various groups and with outsiders.

Table 3.01
Population Estimates Seminole Tribe of Florida
Tribal members Registered adult
(adults and children) tribal members**
living on reservations*

Hollywood 535 325
(34%) (26%)

Brighton 392 266
(25%) (220%)

Big Cypress 430 305
(28%) (25%)

Immocolee 145 45
(9%) (4%)

Tampa 56 21
(4%0) (2%)

Non-reservation 259
members (21%)

Total 1558 1221
(100%) (100%)

*Figures taken from Federal Trust Lands. 1992 About 500 non-reservation Seminole are excluded
Semmnole Tribe. 1995. About 800 children are excluded


In 1957, the United States officially recognized the Seminole Tribe of Florida as an

autonomous government. With self-government came a desire for self-determination

Since the Seminole refer to themselves as "the tribe," or "Indian" [in Creek Este-
cate], those will be the terms used in this chapter The term "Creek" will be used for the
Muskogee language To the Florida Seminole, Muskogee is the language of the
Oklahoma Indians although the differences reflect only separate dialects.


Because they use no tax base to raise capital, the tribe turned to other enterprises for

income gaming, smoke shops, cattle raising, citrus production, turtle and hog farming,

and, even a Sheraton Hotel in Tampa. Recently the tribe broke ground on a $1 million

aircraft manufacturing plant in Fort Pierce (County Aircraft, 1995 B1, B6). Bingo,

garmng machines, and poker provide about 60 percent (Federal Trust Lands, 1992 8) of

the tribal income

Gaming generates large profits for the Seminole, both as a group and individually

The list of benefits includes scholarships, trips to powwows'; support of tribal athletic

events; production of local festivals and rodeos, workshops to build staff skills; computer

facilities for preschools, libraries, offices, and tutoring, improvements to rodeo arenas and

fair grounds, the construction of a museum to house artifacts from the Smithsonian

Museum, purchase of additional lands, and discretionary money for communities to assist

individuals with bills or provide low-interest loans In addition, each enrolled tribal

member--infant to elder--receives a monthly dividend of $1000

The new found wealth has not been without its costs. As the communities

prosper, former government positions and programs will be closed because they will no

longer qualify for government assistance. Programs to be cut include the following.

commodity foods (a distribution program for surplus government foods), Head Start;

A powwow is generally a gathering of members of different tribes to perform
tribal dances, sell native foods and crafts, and to visit. The event is open to the public and
lasts several days

Women Infants and Children program (or WIC, a government program which provides

pre- and post-natal services to low income mothers); and, senior and infant day care programs

Brighton Reservation

The main part of this study was conducted on Brighton Reservation from 1994-

1995 The reservation was established in 1938, when the Seminole living around the

northern shore of Lake Okeechobee were given land in Glades County. The

'lu,4... .e Creek speaking people living in camps in the area moved onto the reservation

over the next 30 years Eventually, they possessed 35,805 acres of pasture land In the

1940s, a cattle program was inaugurated to help the new residents make the transition

from a hunting and gathering society to an agricultural/wage economy Many residents

over the age of 30 remember spending their early years living in chickees, the traditional

open houses the Seminole have built since being pushed into Florida the previous century

Now, all reservation residents live in concrete block houses or mobile homes while many

maintain a chickee in their yards for storage or occasional outdoor living

Traditional social structure was built around a matrilineal matrilocal system based

on clans similar to other southeastern Indian cultures (Garbarino 1986) The basic social

unit was an extended family camp of the mother's clan with the mother's brother serving

as disciplinarian to the children rather than the biological father Today, the role of the

mother's brother in child rearing has lost much of its authority, yet the clan system persists

in associations and weakly in residence patterns Clans still in existence are Bird, Panther,

Deer, Little Bird, Otter, Snake, Big Town, Bear, and Wind. Clan exogamy dictates that

individuals marry someone from a different clan. Traditionally. Bird clan members were

the tribal leaders and the Panther clan was responsible for the medicine bundles and

healing. The sacred medicine continues to be the duty of the Panthers, but leadership roles

are available to all clans Ironically, Bird members continue to dominate tribal elections

(King 1976)


A census taken August 2, 1995. indicated 510 residents in the community Of that

number, 389 (77%) were registered members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida (Table

3 02). The other 117 individuals (23%) were non-tribal members, including American

Table 3.02
Population of Brighton Reservation

Adults Youth TOTAL
(under 18)

Males 105 84 189
(21%) (16%) (37%)
Seminole Tribe residents
Females 131 73 204
(26%) (14%) (40%)

Males 37 27 64
(7/0) (6%) (13%)
Non-Seminole residents
Females 37 16 53
(7%) (3%) (100%)

TOTAL 310 200 510
(610o) (39%) (100%)

Indians holding membership in other tribal organizations or people of Euro-American,

African-American, or Mexican-American heritage. The non-Indian population living on


the reservation include spouses- those co-habiting with Seminoles, or children of a tribal

member Membership in the tribe requires that a minimum of one grandparent be full

Seminole descent Children of a tribal member who are less than "one fourth" Seminole

are not official members Increasing interaction with the general population has led to

intermarriage with outsiders, changing the population's character by introducing different

cultural attributes


The native language spoken at Brighton is fading (Table 3 03) Residents

continually express dismay that the younger generation is not speaking the traditional

language Forty-six percent of the adults in the sample still spoke Creek fluently in

Table 3.03
Languages Spoken by Adult Sample

Males Females Total

English Only 12 8 20
(29%) (20%) (49%)

Creek and English 5 5 10
(12%) (12%) (24%)

Mikasuki and English I 1 2
(2%) (2%) (5%)

Creek, Mikasuki, and 2 7 9
English (5%) (17%) (22%)

addition to English The youngest to speak Creek was a 27-year-old female Some

younger persons understand but do not speak the language. Most young parents do not

speak Creek in the home


The yearly Green Corn Dance maintains ties to traditional religion. The

ceremony symbolizes yearly renewal and health for the people. Central to the

ceremony are medicine bundles (Sturtevant 1955. 1954) which contain powerful sacred

objects used traditionally in warfare, but now used for good health and well-being.

Christianity has made a place beside the ancient dance ceremony. The first permanent

group of Christian believers was established on the reservation during the 1930s, and

attendance peaked by 1945 After the introduction of Southern Baptist Christianity, many

converts abandoned the traditional Green Corn Dance. Baptists believe that drinking is

contrary to Christian witness and discourage participation in the dance because

excessive drinking has been a part of the Green Corn celebration for over 200 years in

Florida (Bushwell 1972). The Indian medicine used in the ritual is still important to the

many Christians who visit the dance just to receive the medicine for use at home. Other

traditional medicine is part of community life, enjoying the support of the medical clinic

and behavioral health services


In 1939, two white teachers established a country day school for the children on

the reservation In later years, before the integration of local county schools, Indian

students were assigned to mostly black schools in Glades County However, the

Seminole, recognizing that the education in those schools was inferior, soon refused to

send their children After fighting to attend their county's white schools, they thought that

even these schools discriminated against Indian children As a result, the tribe contracted

to send their children to schools in the adjacent Okeechobee county This worked well

until the home county, realizing they would receive federal funds for each Indian child,

sought to re-enroll the students The Brighton residents would have no part of this

strategy When the home county threatened to prohibit Okeechobee county school busses

from crossing county lines to pick up Indian students, the tribe quickly purchased its own

school busses to transport the children to the selected schools. These actions and

increased schooling indicate how important education is to them Many residents have

finished high school while others have college educations and advanced degrees

Education together with intermarriage and Christianity changed the strength of the

clan system and broke down the traditional roles of the matrilineal kinship system The

mother's brother no longer has the position of authority within the family, and, in some

cases, the father's authority has not been firmly established

Social and Physical Concerns

The welfare of the children is a concern of parents when offspring receive low

grades, miss many days of school, or drop out of school In addition, parents have

recently faced a threat of drug and gang activities in school and on the reservation

Garbarino (1986) noted the passing phase of gasoline sniffing on the Big Cypress

reservation in the years following World War II and lasting until the 1960s She felt

drunkenness was the more common form of escaping boredom on the reservation but did

not think that it was considered a problem by the Seminole Among the three major

reservations, Robbins (1984) reported the least incidence of delinquency occurred at

Brighton (59 5 percent delinquent acts by juveniles compared to 81 8 percent at Big

Cypress and 79 7 percent at Hollywood reservation)

Alcohol abuse concerned tribal leaders enough to apply for a demonstration grant

in 1973 (McBride and Page 1980) Previous to the demonstration grant, tribal leaders

tried to evaluate the extent of alcohol use among its members They estimated that about

60 percent of the adults and 25 percent of the young people had problems with alcohol. A

smaller percentage of both age groups were implicated in drug abuse as well. McBride

and Page (1979, 1980) found that inhalant use was specific to adolescence, but that

youthful alcohol use continued into adulthood (McBride and Page 1979, 1980)

Alcohol abuse and alcohol-related accidents touch the entire community In

response, prevention programs and recovering alcoholics in the community promote

alcohol-free activities In the 1990s, they initiated a prevention program--The Seminole


Tribe Empowerment Program. The tribe refurbished a house for the use of the recovering

community as well. Besides counseling sessions, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and

support group meetings, the recovering group has access to the house for dinners and


Health concerns many Seminole who suffer from non-insulin dependent diabetes

melitis or Type II Diabetes (Joos 1984, Westfall and Rosenbloom 1971, Mayberry and

Lindeman 1963). At the time of my research, six to eight persons were on dialysis from

renal failure attributed to diabetes Traditional food items high in fats and carbohydrates

like fry bread continue in popularity within the community 3 High fat and carbohydrate

foods are related to obesity, diabetes, gall bladder disease, and heart disease as well as

other chronic conditions (e.g hypertension)

Brighton residents consider themselves "progressive," with an appreciation of

education, new technologies, and improved relationships with the dominant culture The

Seminole Tribe of Florida has witnessed many changes over the course of a lifetime The

Seminoles are no longer quaint people clinging to a passing lifestyle, but survivors of a

cultural upheaval that has blended the complex structures of an earlier tradition with the

contemporary Their recent acculturation and self-determination place them on the cusp

of yet another stage of culture change--the economic and educational trappings of middle

class America

W R Adams (1995) is currently investigating the relationship of diet to alcohol
use. He is exploring a biological relationship between tryptophan and serotonin and the
psychoreligous context of addiction Diets deficient in sources of tryptophan are proposed
to be related to alcohol use


The research design was a correlational design utilizing a survey instrument to fit

social learning theory and to explain an American Indian community's cultural norms and

behaviors regarding alcohol. Definitions of alcohol's effect and the rationale for use were

compared by five independent variables; social group, sex, age, religious affiliation and

drinking status First, survey data tested the appropriateness of social learning theory and

to demonstrate the statistical correlation between attitude and use Second, ethnographic

data and transcripts described the social and cultural context for the correlations Third,

techniques from cognitive anthropology generated the most frequently held values or the

cognitive domain concerning alcohol by the different groups. Free list and triad tests

allowed informants to freely associate their ideas generating a cultural specific response


The Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation in Glades County, Florida, was

geographically and socially accessible and reservation officials approved my study,

saying it was up to individual residents to decide if they wanted to participate.

Research began in January 1994 and ended in August 1995. An elderly tribal member

provided me with a room in exchange for housekeeping and cooking. From the first,


community members expressed concern about alcohol use on the reservation and shared

information. At that time, a nucleus of concerned parents and recovering alcoholics

were initiating events and support groups focusing on abstaining from alcohol and

drugs. Research was coordinated with the prevention committee, the Seminole Tribe

Empowerment Program (STEP) funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention


Brighton's small population: isolated rural location: and, relatively

homogeneous culture. socio-economic level, religion (a blend of Protestant and

traditional ceremonies), and education made it desirable for a community study. Most

of the population speaks English.

The Sample

An informal census, taken August 2, 1995, indicated that 389 Seminoles lived

in the community (see Table 3.02 in Chapter 3). The research sample of 115 is drawn

from three different age groups at Brighton children, teenagers, and adults Because of

the low numbers of children and teenagers the whole universe of young people from third

grade to twelfth grade was selected (Table 4.01) That group is divided into youngest age

group (third to fifth grades): middle age young (sixth to eighth grades), and the oldest

group (grades nine to 12) including school dropouts. Thus, the divisions are more equal

in size and more natural in association if not in actual school divisions The sixth graders

were still in elementary school, but associated with older students The division makes the

Table 4 01
Youth Sample
High Middle Third to Totals
School School Fifth
Age Age Grades

Completed Survey with parental 30 25 19 74
permission (730.) (83%) (100%) (82%)

Said no with parental permission or 1 4 0 5
no parental permission (2%) (14%) (0%) (6%)

Unable to contact 10 1 0 11
(25%o) (3%) (0%) (12%)

Total possible 41 30 19 | 90
(100%) (100o%) (100%) (10o%)

pilesorts of individuals by age groups more manageable for the younger students. The

Seminole education counselor provided the list of student names A few children are non-

tribal members, and to avoid discrimination, I included them in the survey results if they

lived on the reservation Of the final 74 youngsters participating, 65 (87%) are registered

tribal members Others either have a Seminole tribal member for a parent or are affiliated

with another American Indian group. Despite the fact that not everyone lived on the

reservation, they still viewed each other as part of their social group.

Because so many adults (308) lived on the reservation, I took a random sample of

adult Seminoles Non-Seminole residents were excluded because research findings would

be given to the tribal officials as a report and only tribal members have a vote in

reservation government Since policy might be formed from the results, I selected names

from the 1993 voting rolls. I added names of young adults who had passed their

eighteenth birthday since the roll was published Names were selected using a random


table of numbers until 35 names of both sexes were generated (Table 4 02) The greatest

weakness in the sampling was the high number of refusals or unavailable adults, especially


Table 4.02
Adult Sample

Males Females

Completed survey 20 21
(54%) (70%)

Refused to be interviewed 7 2
(19%) (7%)

Unavailable 10 7
(27%) (23%)

Total 37 30
(100%o) (100%)

Residents were invited to be interviewed either at a corner table in the community

library or at an office in the education building Many were contacted at home or work

and given the choice of being interviewed at that time or making a later appointment

Privacy was sometimes a problem If others were at home, participants were interviewed

outside to provide privacy Sometimes other members of the family were asked, "Some of

the questions I am asking (name) are of a personal nature. In order to insure that they feel

comfortable in answering, would you mind if we sat alone9"

Unavailable adults either had moved since the publication of voting rolls (23%),

were in treatment for alcohol or drug problems (8%), did not speak English (19%), or had

repeatedly delayed or ignored interview times (620%)


Quantitative data were compared with earlier studies to assure validity The

Seminoles in this community had been surveyed in earlier assessments, McBride and Page

(1978) and the Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research (1993-1994) Since the 1993-

1994 study did not separate the tribal youths by community, this research specifies

Brighton Reservation and compares to the whole tribe Parts of an instrument previously

used to test social learning theory (Akers et al. 1979, Krohn et al. 1982) were selected.

The questions were comparable to those in the earlier studies and provided cross-cultural

measures. Measurement was consistent with the conceptualization of attitudes toward

alcohol use

Reliability of the Survey Instrument

Excerpts for the Brighton survey were taken from an instrument provided by

Ronald L Akers. The survey instruments were developed by Akers and associates of the

Center for the Study of Youth Development (Boys Town, Nebraska) and the University of

Iowa (Iowa City, IA) where they conducted the Survey of Youth. Although the

instrument had previously been designed for middle and high school students, it was

modified to suit the attention span of younger children, grades three through six. Two

instruments were created, one for those under 18 and one for adults Basic questions

remained the same with additional questions for the adults

Appropriateness of the Survey

McBride and Page noted three difficulties in surveying Seminole individuals 1)

alcohol and drug use is a "touchy" subject: 2) many members do not speak or write

English, and 3) the "problems with Seminole cultural standards of taciturnity and non-

disclosure" (1979 26) To circumvent these problems, long-term ethnographic research

and participation in community life enhanced rapport with individuals By the time I

began formal interviews, I was familiar with most of the students and most of the women

in my sample Women were easiest to approach although some of my best and most

candid informants were men Non-English speakers (usually elders) were eliminated from

the sample I offered to administer the survey and, while adults wanted me to ask the

questions, many of the students preferred to write their own answers. I always

administered two questions "Why do you think Seminole men (or women) drink

alcohol'" and the general questions about decisions made during last personal use of

alcohol The most sensitive parts of the survey, actual alcohol and drug use, were

separated and finished privately by the informant after other questions were written.

Therefore, I could develop trust during the interview process. I revealed personal

information about my own answers to some of the questions after the respondent had

finished to enhance sharing

Survey Measurement

The survey instrument (Appendix A) combined self-reports of behavior and of

perceptions and cognitions Questions, such as the frequency and amount of alcohol used,

or one's age at first use of alcohol, provided a measurable scale to ian, nir. and to

compare statistically Questions taken from the Akers' Boys Town survey (with some

minor alterations) were B5-B8. B9-B 12, B 3-B 16, B 7-B20, B21-B24. B25-B28. B29-

B37, B38-B46, B53-B56, B57-B60, and B61-B64 "Yes" and "no" questions, such as,

"Do you think alcohol should be made legal on the reservation''" address cultural

attitudes and provide a valuable planning tool for the tribe Questions B65 through B68

were taken directly from an earlier study by May and Smith (1988) for comparison with

the Navajo opinions.

Qualitative Data

Qualitative methods include ethnography, open-ended questions (descriptive), and

techniques from cognitive anthropology--free lists, triad tests, and pilesorts (Weller and

Romney 1988, Borgatti 1992a. b, Bernard 1989, 1994), and ethnographic decision tree

modeling (Gladwin 1989).


Ethnographic data provided background for the alcohol study, while participant

observation provided rapport and trust to gather information Ethnography is an

important method of eliciting information about alcohol use An earlier study (McBride

and Page 1979) mentioned the inherent problems of non-disclosure and indirect discursive

answers Long-term community participant observation is best suited for this discourse


As part of my participation, I informed some community members about my own

recovery from alcoholism This established rapport with residents in recovery themselves

and provided me an opportunity to participate in their programs and group sessions

Fellow recoverers provided personal data if they thought it would help the community

Most abstainers and light drinkers were more than willing to help I did not identify

myself as alcoholic to the moderate and heavy drinkers However, because of my past, I

was able to relate to many of the heavy drinker s exploits, which established my

credibility At no time did I jeopardize my own sobriety by participating in drinking

parties or interviewing while others drank

Another ethnographic method was open-ended and grand tour questions about the

cultural scene which is "the information shared by two or more people that defines some

aspect of their experience" (Spradley and McCurdy 1972 24), i.e drinking in the

community as "a recurrent social situation The ethnographic material helped describe,

classify, compare, and explain the quantitative results Data focused on questions that fit

the social learning paradigm. Transcripts explained and elaborated numerical and

taxonomic data in the informant's own words

Descriptive questions Some survey questions were purely descriptive These

elicit a verbatim account about the person's views on the subject. The statement

"Describe an alcoholic" encouraged discourse which was then transcribed from tape or

from notes taken during the interview Those descriptions formulated a list of cultural

items pertaining to what criteria made someone an alcoholic

Cognitive domain analysis

For examining definitions or expectancies, individuals participated in exercises

to determine the cognitive domains of drinking. Rather than using a formal survey

instrument which may prompt a response (May and Smith 1988) or be culturally

biased, I used free lists, and triad tests to allow for individual cultural expectations for

reasons to drink. Methods were applicable even to young children without being tiring.

Free lists. Free lists provided an exhaustive string of cultural items which were

combined into frequency lists. Informants freely listed short statements or suggested

words in response to the request. "List all the ways you make money To extract all

possible responses about this subject, I would ask repeatedly, "What else9" until the

responder depleted his knowledge The number of people who respond with the same

answer determines the frequency of that cultural item in the population The order of the

free list items suggests the saliency of "underlying cognitive structure of the domain." If

53 percent of the high school students responded "get in a fight" to the directive "List all

the bad things that happen to people when they drink alcohol," we can assume that

fighting is a consequence of drinking alcohol. Frequency refers to the proportion of lists

on which that item appears (Weller and Romney 1988 10) The computer program

ANTHROPAC simplified the frequency calculations, and later triad testing, pile sorts,

hierarchical clustering, and non-metric multidimensional scaling (Borgatti 1992a, b)

Using free lists enables informants to volunteer information pertinent to them,

items in their cognitive or cultural domain, and in their own language, rather than

responding to the researcher's preconceived idea of what questions are important to ask.

"Frequently, the definition of a domain is determined directly by the research question"

(Borgatti 1992b 1) By requesting, "List all the ways you make money," all strategies for

income generation are suggested, formal, job position, and informal income, such as


The free list method elicits a great deal of information that might not have been

gathered otherwise When working with people who are reticent to engage in discourse,

lists of short answers allow fuller understanding of cultural norms Asking open-ended

questions became more manageable and subject to quantification for all types of subjects,

as in the question, "Whom do you admire?"

The frequency of an item might suggest more than just a method of making money

but an underlying cultural belief that otherwise might have gone unnoticed For example,

to the question about how individuals make money, 10 percent (n=4) believed they made

money from playing bingo. Although 10 percent is not a large part of the population, a

question for further examination might be how a person calculates "making money" from

bingo "How widespread is this belief'" might be a question for further research.

Listing synonyms presents a problem of reliability of the absolute percent of an

item but not the relative importance For instance, a person might list "get in fights" and

"get killed" or "like to fight" and "mess with other people" as bad things. Ideally, each of

these needs to be explored with each individual to determine if they are included in the


same category Since time does not always permit close scrutiny for each question, triad

tests can be generated from the frequency list to determine what people in a culture

consider the same.

A free list of the attitudes individuals held about alcohol (definitions) was

quantified to compare with the use of alcohol How a participant assessed alcohol was

determined by asking two questions "List all the good things that happen to people when

they drink alcohol" and "List all the bad things that happen to people when they drink

alcohol Answers were measured two ways to correlate with alcohol use One way

compared the number of positive reasons with use The other described the good things

as a percentage of the combined number of good and bad things and to compare that to

the level of use

number of good things
Positive attitude =-------------- ----------------
number of good things + the number of bad things.

The number of good things was a reliable measure of alcohol use, but the percent

calculated in the formula had no effect and was dropped from analysis.

Two questions addressed the fact of separate attitudes about alcohol between

males and females and among different age groups.

Why do you think Seminole men drink alcohol (cultural expectancies)?
Why do you think Seminole women drink alcohol (cultural expectancies)'?

Informants listed the reasons their sex drank alcohol. After generating a frequency list

of "all the reasons that you think Seminole men(women) drink alcohol," a triad test

allowed informants to select the natural categories that included each of item


Triad tests. Triad testing describes which cultural items belong together. Nine

cultural items were selected for triad testing from the most frequent responses to "Why

Seminole men/women drink alcohol" for each age category Triads determined the degree

of similarity among items on the frequency list Each questionnaire had three cultural

items listed across the page in rows (See sample triad exercise in Appendix B).

Informants were told that these were items mentioned as reasons to drink alcohol They

circled the item in each row most different from the other two A balanced incomplete

block (BIB) or lambda 2 design (each pair appears twice) was used to reduce fatigue of

full factorial design. The lambda 2 design increased accuracy and reduced having too

many triad rows to reasonably administer. Each list of triads was randomized on the

computer to prevent ordering bias (Bernard 1988:231-234).

The triad test data produced an attribute by attribute matrix graphically

represented in a multidimensional map. Clustering analysis determined fields of linked

cultural traits. The results of intracultural categories or taxonomies of drinking

behavior were mapped and described by group and sex. Triad exercises determine how

the Seminole cognitively sort the different categories of drinking definitions This

established the emic perspective in cognitive orientation of cultural items

Group formation Two methods were used with the youthful groups to determine

peer networks The first, pilesort groups consisted of numbered 3X5 cards with each card

displaying the name of a person in that age group The young informants divided the

cards into categories of like characteristics Each pile then contained persons considered

similar according to his/her own criteria When they stated that they did not know an


individual, I suggested that could be a category, too. This way every person was placed in

a pile. The youths could make as many piles as they wanted. The only rule was that there

could not be only one pile and there could not be just one card in each pile After

completion of the exercise, each card number was recorded by pile for that informant

Pilesorts allow for data collection on a large number of items in an easy fashion

The second method, cliques, determined peer networks by asking youth to list the

people they "hung out with" the most (Bernard et al. 1990). They were asked four things

about their closest friends, their sex, kinship, tribal affiliation, and residence locale Names

were treated as cultural items and frequencies run on them All names mentioned by two

other people as friends were given numbers. Each informant's list of friends was re-coded

with the number from the frequency count. Each respondent became a row of data

analysis, with his/her own number being first The data formed a clique matrix of

respondents i andj which was suitable for multidimensional scaling and hierarchical

clustering "The output of the CLIQUE program is an actor by actor matrix whose yth

cell gives the number of cliques actors i andj are both members of' (Borgatti, Everett and

Freeman 1992 9) Hierarchical clustering produced a group of people who mutually list

each other as friends. The computer program UCINET IV made the computation


Each youth listed with whom he/she associated. Only youth who were listed by at

least two others were selected Everyone was coded and data sets (including the

respondent and his friends) were subject to network analysis. Fifteen cliques of five

persons each were identified using UCINET IV Network Analysis Software Cliques


overlapped to form three distinct social groups consistent with hierarchical clustering of all

participants using the pilesort method Ethnographic data confirmed that these youngsters

socialized on a regular basis

The two methods were compared with data on drinking level and attitudes This

method can easily be recreated on subsequent community visits to follow the adhesion,

fission, or shifts in social groups over time

Ethnographic decision tree modeling (EDTM)

Expectancies were tested using ethnographic decision tree modeling (Gladwin

1989). For the first 20 adult interviews, I asked each to "tell me about alcohol use on the

reservation" (the grand tour inquiry) and followed that with open-ended, non-structured

questions. Eventually, I focused on the person's own use to elicit decisions about why

he/she chose to drink Responses were taped when the informant would permit it

Otherwise, careful notes were taken

For the adults, I noted all possible questions about drinking to develop into

models Each question was ranked in order of importance to form the list of decisions in

Table 4.03 Several decisions were eliminated because I had not collected data pertaining

to the subject, such as marijuana use I selected decisions 1, 2, and 3, to model There

were three varieties of questions when to drink, how much to drink; and where The first

decision referred to time t. I had to decide when were the times I was most interested in;

now, last Tuesday night, last Friday night, or last time you drank

Adult and teen informants were questioned about their own alcohol use and the

reasons governing their decision to abstain or use alcohol at different times. Originally

Table 4 03
List of Possible Decisions Concerning Alcohol Use

S The decision to have a drank at time t.
The decision to ha\ e a dnnk last Iuesdai
The decision to hae a dnnk last Frida night
I The decision to have more than one dnnk today
The decision to dnnk more than one drink on a school mgpht
The decision to dnnk more than one dnnk on a work night
3 The decision to o o here drinks are a\ialahle
The decision to go to a party hlere here i s dnnkmg
4 The decision to go to a part and dnnk versus abstain while others are drinking.
5 The decision to dnnk and drive
S The decision to quitstop d nkmng
The decision to cut ack/moditi drinking
7 I'he decision ti\ou re suffieintiv stressed out and need a drink
8 The decision to uke alcohol to school itouth)
9 The decision to buv your o,\n alcohol
10 i'he decision to ofter alcohol to others
11 I'he decision to star dnnking again aller quitting
12 The decision to smoke pot

questions to the teenagers were not specific enough and too hypothetical so that their

decision model was dropped from the research To effectively elicit what people actually

do, rather than what they say they do, the adult informants were referred back to the last

time he/she made the decision to drink I asked, "Last Friday night, did you drink alcohol?

Tell me about it'" This is more complex than hypothetical questions about drinking, but

also more representative of a person's actual choices Reasons people drank varied: "I

had to go to work today, so I did not have a drink," or "1 had a bad day and I wanted

to relax so I had a beer."

After obtaining a list of reasons, an "if-then" questionnaire tested a comparable

sample's response to possible drinking opportunities, for example.
you free from work responsibilities? > or
think alcohol would help you relax? > The frequency of responses for the list of

questions describes an aggregate of group responses. If any one item has an 80'7 or

greater response frequency, then future decisions are predictable.

Building the model My first question was
time P> Being "used to" doing something at a particular time is called having a script

Schank and Abelson (1997) describe this in greater detail Individuals have scripts for

many behaviors which make complex processes such as driving a car become part of the

subconscious The script for driving is such a part of everyday behavior that decisions

become automatic We have learned the script from observation as well as early driving

lessons The script for drinking alcohol may be partially hidden in memory, but there are

logical processes which govern the decision order and appropriate time In alcohol

studies, the script Drink; don't drink} is related to the external and internal cues in a

situation that form a decision pathway for the development and maintenance of drinking


Repeated association of drinking behavior with internal and external cues,
however, produces classical conditioning of the response to the stimulus,
such that decisions to drink no longer require conscious effortful thought
but become incorporated into an automatic process. (Oei and Baldwin
1994 525)

Expectancy theory employs a cognitive behavioral approach that the decision process is

embedded with conditions which guide the person to expect certain outcomes in the

drinking milieu.

Another technique used to facilitate building the model was to review my

interviews and count the frequency with which some items occurred For instance, when

asked about drinking times, the most frequently mentioned times were when they were

with friends, when they wanted to relax, when alcohol was available, when they had no

immediate responsibilities at the time or the next day; when they felt like it; or, when they

were at a celebration, party, or event This information indicated whether a decision step

was a criterion, a personal rule that guides a decision, or a constraint, the limits of a

behavior Some reasons were more obviously criteria, such as being with friends who

were drinking or at a party, but others, like "feeling like drinking" or "needing to relax"

were less clear

A simple exercise facilitated the order and importance of each question Although

data about drinking decisions had been vague and incorrect initially, I turned to that

"ideal" decision process for ideas on criteria and constraints The lists of reasons to drink

and to not drink became an abbreviated description for each informant Although there

was not a high degree of agreement (only 22%) among my first 23 interviewees, three or

more mentioned common items The adults' times to drink were as follows don t drink

when responsible for a child, drink when with friends, don't drink when you are the

designated driver, drink when you need to relax; drink in celebration, don't drink if you

have kids at home, don't drink because you have seen what it does to people, and, drink at

a party The list of reasons to drink alcohol served as a cross check and illuminated

important items, such as drink when you have problems, drink when angry; and, drink

because it helps express what is on your mind

Testing To introduce informants to model testing I said, "The questions I will ask

you were reasons given by all the others whom I have interviewed before you here at the

reservation They represent a model of why they say they drink or don't drink alcohol.

By asking you the same questions. I can see how well the questions predict what you do.

Or, "This is what others like you [adult tribal members] gave for decisions they made

about drinking 1 want to see if they work for you as well." Or, "These questions were

made from all the answers others on the reservation gave concerning their decision to

drink alcohol or not What I would like to do is to ask you the questions and see if I can

predict what you did on a specific occasion Are you ready?" Interest piqued because the

questions came from other community members rather than outsiders Sometimes

informants even helped adjust the model

The newest edition of the decision model was attached to each subsequent survey

Each new informant responded to the questions concerning decisions to drink last

Tuesday night and last Friday night (time I)

Counting the errors A model is in error when someone proceeds down a given

path, but has a different outcome than what you predicted To determine the error rate,

each person's answers to the models were compared to the last edition. All errors were

divided by the total errors and correct outcomes Considering all the models at time t, the

final model (see Appendix D) had a ten percent error rate or 90 percent predictability,

quite acceptable for decision trees


Data collection was administered ....'.Jc to university Institutional Review

Board guidelines Participants under 18 needed parental consent before the interviews

could be conducted (see Appendix C) Apprised of the voluntary nature of their response

and the academic purpose of the results, participants were also informed that the results

would be shared with tribal representatives One tribal official scrutinzed each survey

page Informants knew they could withdraw from the study at any time and could refuse

to answer any question If participants granted permission, I recorded their open-ended

questions on an audio tape player. If participants objected. I took careful notes and

retyped them following the interview

Individuals voluntarily participated in the survey in their homes, at their place of

work, on the school bus. at the library or youth center, or, after tutoring. Opportunity and

convenience determined the administration of the survey. Initially, invitations were sent to

the elementary children explaining the research, acquiring permission, and offering

refreshments at specific interview times Few responded so that further contact was made

individually Because the students were busy with extracurricular activities, I even spent

time riding the school bus. The ride from town took about 45 minutes, allowing enough

time to administer a survey or triad tests. Although the noisy atmosphere prevented

eavesdropping, interruptions frequently occurred

The work place provided the best place for meeting the adults. Community

members are quite mobile and difficult to find at home Many trips were made to homes

only to find no one there If the person had a phone, I called before traveling to his/her

house, but often appointments were broken so that the work place became the most

reliable arena for success

The population understood that information has value However, they were

skeptical of the usefulness of anthropological research to the community Some even

asked me after being introduced. "Are you here to study us9" Indeed. during my tenure

on the reservation several researchers came through looking for information Few stayed

for longer than a few hours or several days. and some offered their services to the

community in the form of language classes Most paid their informants I. too, decided to

offer incentives

The youth were first given an opportunity to participate in the photography/writing

project I offered at the same time In exchange for their participation in the survey, they

received a framed, matted, enlarged picture they had photographed with a story they had

dictated. They were also eligible for cash awards, if the judges selected their photographs

on Field Day Those contacted after the photo contest were offered a cash incentive to

complete the survey

Older youths and adults were offered $10 00 at the completion of the interview.

The older students were ..- .c'ill, glad to have some extra cash and looked forward to

participating. When informants were approached again with the triad questions they were

given a pen or pencil and adults were given a lottery game ticket Despite the fact that

informants won nothing more than another ticket, the "scratch-off' ticket was popular

Data Analysis

Coding of quantitative data created an ordinal measure for categories Two

different scales determined the drinking level First, the group was divided into non-

drinkers and quitters (0) and current users (1) Second. frequency of current use

determined drinking level. Informants' responses were coded as follows.

Never tried 0
Tried once or twice in lifetime
Less than once a month up to once or twice a month
Once or twice a week up to nearly everyday 3

Quitters represented missing data A score was given for each alcoholic beverage used.

beer, wine; or liquor The total score of the combined beverage use indicated the drinking

level. The maximum score was 12 which was later collapsed for statistical comparison.

The drinking level was compared by sex and age to definitions/expectancies concerning

alcohol. Definitions were measured with the i, .IIn,. .n, questions number of good things

that happen to people when they drink alcohol; percentage of good things that happen,

narrowly defined attitude (B67, drinking one beer is a bad thing to do); opinion of

appropriate age to begin drinking, attitudes concerning stereotypes (B65 and B66); and

opinion about legalization of alcohol on the reservation (B68) Attitudes about alcohol

use (B25) were coded making an ordinal scale of attitude most tolerant (4) to least

tolerant of use (1 )

Youth drinking level was also compared to the coded categories of perceived

parental (B9) and peer (B13) tolerance of the informants use (association and

reinforcement) and the likelihood of getting caught (reinforcement) by parents (B5) and

tribal police (B17) The most encouraging beliefs were scored high and the least

encouraging low

The adult drinking level was compared to parental drinking (B2 and B3), the

likelihood of getting caught by the tribal police (B17), likely consequences (B21), and the

measure of abusive or problem drinkers (B53)


Once quantified, use level and other variables were described by covariance. Cross

classification tables determined relationships among the categories. "Ordinal measures of

association describe the extent to which the ranking of a subject on one variable is

statistically related to the ranking of the subject on the other variable" (Agresti and Finlay

1986 219) The strength among variables was determined using gamma Cross

classification tables measured differences in attitude and use of the different age groups

and the sex of informant

Limitations of the Research

Constraints of participation, self-reporting, and perceived value of research by the

participants limit the findings Of main concern is the low adult and teenage male

participation. Several heavy drinkers refused to participate, but two agreed. Abstainers

were the most willing to talk, and, generally, they considered drinking on the reservation

to be a problem Of the 26 persons not interviewed, 87 percent of the men drank alcohol

Only 30 percent of the women not surveyed were drinkers About half of the adults not

surveyed were under the age of 30. Final results may be skewed toward those who were

older and lighter drinkers.

Locating the participant or finding him/her busy reduced the validity of the sample

as well. In some cases, privacy was difficult to maintain and, as a result, the interviews

were abbreviated


Another shortcoming was the reliability of self-reporting of alcohol use Although

I found most informants quite candid, use of alcohol may have been under reported

Ethnographic data raised the reliability level

Finally, some informants were skeptical about the usefulness of the survey to

change alcohol abuse in the community, as an active community male stated

I don't know I was part of a STEP group or something a while back, but
when I went to meetings 1 couldn't see that they did anything Do you wait
for people to come to you or do you go out in the community and say
"you're a drunk" and we want to help you" I guess if you are going to do
something you should go out to them. We know who is using drugs in the
community Do you have meetings and say they are going to stopI Kids
are using and they [people in the meetings] have to know It's a waste of
time Tell them you need to quit or go somewhere It's not up to the

Before reviewing the results of testing social learning theory, the next chapter explores the

culture of drinking in the Brighton community.


Vast pasture lands, equidistant from Okeechobee and Moore Haven, cradle the

Brighton community Many residents lived on the reservation land before it was formally

established in 1938 Two main roads divide the community while a water tower serves as

a landmark at the intersection. Concrete block houses are arranged in the traditional

dispersed settlement style with only two areas of dense clusters breaking the pattern

Neighbors are often grouped by close kin and clan members. Administrative offices, gym,

rodeo arena, 4-H barn, library, education building, youth center, senior center, police

department, nursery, and clinic comprise the main part of the community Away from the

center are the cattle and range administrative building and two Baptist churches A

recreational vehicle park, owned by the tribe but operated by outsiders, flanks the

southern edge A bingo hall, smoke shop, drive-through convenience store, two cafes.

and three craft shops operated by local residents are distributed along the main road of the


Most of the residents (68%) interviewed worked for the tribal government or the

US government (Bureau of Indian Affairs or BIA and other agencies) They consider

themselves employees of the tribe because they are hired through the tribe and receive

Figure 5.01
Map of the Main Reservation Community

4-H Show barn
Rodeo arena
Tennis court
Softball fields
Seminole Broadcast
and Construction
Youth center

Education building
Osceola library
Social services
Seminole Police
Senior center
Empty building
Commodity foods

19. Water tower
20. Cafe
21. Sober house
22. Head Start play
a. Pasture
b. Groves

Grey boxes are


checks from the tribe According to the 1990 census, administrative, support, and service

occupations employed 47 percent of those over 16 Agricultural jobs ranked next.

employing 17 percent of the people The census is consistent with the survey since

agricultural programs on the reservation are run by the tribe. Interview participants

generated income in a variety of informal ways. Women (15 ) sell crafts: beadwork,

dolls, and sewing. Men (151) sell products from the cabbage palmetto (Sabal

palmetto Walt.): buds, the unopened fronds for Christian Lenten ceremonies; fronds,

used for roofs of chickees. the traditional Seminole house; palm heart for cooking

swamp cabbage; and the trees themselves for landscaping. Seven percent of the sample

listed building chickees as a way they make money. Ten percent believed that they

made money from playing bingo.

Brighton residents are proud of the educational achievements of their people

Concern for the future of the children is shown by their inclusion in every endeavor: social

activities, the Parent Advisory Committee for education, recreation programs, trips, and

incentives, and the Seminole Tribe Empowerment Program (STEP), an alcohol and drug

prevention program which sponsors alcohol and drug free events

Use of alcohol is not prohibited on the reservation, but the sale of alcohol is Drug

and alcohol free areas have been set up within the community and are enforced by the

Seminole Police Department (SPD) The community has a department of behavioral

health which focuses on intervention and treatment counseling for alcohol abuse For the

last two years there has been the nucleus of a recovery movement on the reservation

which offers emotional and social support to residents who feel they have a problem with

alcohol or drugs, or have returned from treatment In the last year, the tribe restored a

vacant house in the community for the exclusive use of the recovering group The group

plans alcohol and drug free activities for the community as well.

The tribe employs law enforcement officers at each reservation. Although

officially called the Seminole Department of Law Enforcement, it is informally called SPD

(Seminole Police Department) Officers patrol in specially marked cars throughout the

reservation upholding state laws and enforcing tribal policy in alcohol free areas They

know residents personally and have a friendly relationship with the community All of the

officers and staff are non-Indians living in neighboring towns

Traditionalists hold a Green Corn Dance every June The tribe purchased property

for the ceremony off the reservation in 1993 Chickees, grouped according to clan

membership, nestle around the central dance grounds transforming the wilderness into a

village The Green Corn Dance is central to the keeping of the medicine and renewal

Conflicting beliefs about alcohol use are reflected in the separate belief systems

that exist in the community Residents hold traditionalist and Christian beliefs which

represent the polar extremes Most people fall along a continuum, retaining many native

traditions while having exposure to Christian ideals. These two beliefs are opposite in

attitudes toward alcohol use The Green Corn Dance, the traditionalists' main ceremony,

is a time of great reverence for ritual yet tolerates large amounts of drinking during the

week long "time out" similar to that proposed by MacAndrew and Edgerton (1969) The

current research found attendance at the Green Corn Dance negatively associated with

belonging to a church (gamma = 447)

The membership of the two Baptist churches on the reservation promotes

abstinence. Members are not specifically prohibited from drinking alcohol, but to do so

would typify a "weak" spirit and be a stumbling block to Christian witness. In this case,

abstinence is favored Differences in values, attitudes toward alcohol, and level of use

show a difference between the two groups These differences are explored more fully in

Chapter 9

Indian medicine is still used in the community, usually after the death of someone

as a protection from further misfortune One kind of curative is specific for those wishing

to stop drinking "On the wagon" medicine (iwotickv) is used to maintain abstinence for

four months. Many elderly women collect medicine from the nearby woods for treatment

by Indian doctors The herbs that are collected are not believed to have medicinal

properties until an Indian doctor has "treated" them with ancient songs (See Sturtevant

1955) and blowing breath onto them Power to heal is transferred to the medicine. Some

residents have studied indigenous medicine and practice this in the community. Not only

are the medicine men from other reservations consulted to treat herbal mixtures for curing,

but the tribe also sanctions the use of traditional medicine with biomedical and behavioral

health. It is in this context that decisions regarding alcohol are made in the community

Where to Drink

The residents of the community recognize several places where drinking is likely to

occur Table 5 01, taken from ethnographic texts, lists the most frequently mentioned

places where drinking occurs Forty-seven percent of the respondents mentioned drinking


at parties As a man in his forties said, "Some are the pre-party type when there is going

to be another party later Sometimes they are going to meet someone at a bar, and they

say, It's on me. I'm gonna buy' to kick it off"

Table 5 01
Frequency of Places to Drink

At a party 14 47
At a bar 13 43
While driving 11 37
With friends 9 30
At someone's house 7 23
Riding around 7 23
Bowling 6 20
Birthday party 6 20
Christmas party 5 17
Out in the woods 5 17
At a cookout 4 13
After a rodeo 4 13
In someone's yard 3 10
At a dance 3 10
Around a truck 3 10
Green Corn Dance 3 10
After softball 3 10

A party may occur at a bar, at someone's house, in their yard, at a cookout, or

around the back of a truck at an event or in the woods Impromptu or spontaneous

drinking is commonly called "drinking around The truck is an integral part of men's

drinking sessions, as a male described

How does the truck fit in wth the way people drink around here? [Laugh]
That's where the cooler is

Who brings the cooler' Whoever owns the truck
Do they usually bring enough to share? No Not this particular
time If you are talking about in general, the other people, oh yeah It
depends if you started off with that party or not You get, say, three guys
They just want to go drink a few and they buy a case, put it in the cooler
and go out and start drinking around. The other guys start honing in on
them like sharks, you know. Then they offer them one And then the guys
that just came in are like invaders of this treasure chest here And to be
able to be a possessor you must also buy into it, or buy a case and add to it
See, you can be considered one of the comrades, and so you can see this
defense mechanism. They protect their booze to the last drop I remember
doing it when I was running around as a teenager. We would find a friend
of ours walking along side the road, we'd pull upside and talk to him
Then we offer him a beer Then we would just drive off after he drank it
Leave him standing there. Just like a game. Yeah. I remember doing that
to a couple of guys. And yet he seen how many beers we had. We had a
whole cooler full And probably a bottle of whiskey to boot It's just a big
Explain the rules of the game. To be able to play? Well, you have to be
part of that group, friends, and then everybody's got to chip in and when
everybody chips in you buy the beer Its like you got your little segment. They've
got their little segment. See not everybody drinks the same brand you do But
you can buy part of a case of each. Maybe one case. The easiest way is for
everybody to drink the same Then everybody kind of possesses a six-pack out of
the case, depending on how much money you put up
Where do people hang out with the truck' When I was growing up
we used to have a place called Turkey Boulevard, where we would all hang
out, build this big old bonfire, and go out there and do our drinking and
carousing My particular group was always conscious of the law because
we were against the law and we had a deputy out here who was always in
search of us so we'd always come and go out to Turkey Boulevard And
do our drinking.
Do you think its the same now? No, I don't think so They drink
wherever they may. Seems like anywhere there's people congregating,
they like to show up in their little forces.

A middle aged female replied to the question, "Where do people go when they drink out


Anywhere, I guess Beside the road, behind somebody's house, in
somebody's house, in their yard, rodeo arena, there's more You know,
it's not a lot on the road like they used to. At children's birthday parties

and stuff like that At dances [they have] kegs of beer. and things like that.
In other words they can't have a good birthday party, not all but some,
without the free beer You're not a good host

Bars in town or adjacent to the reservation are popular watering spots They are

meeting places after work. As an abstinent middle aged man stated, "I used to go in bars

and meet the guys--to see what they had been doing. You meet old friends that you have

known for years that are back in town'

When to Drink

At parties and cookouts, drinking is just "the natural thing to do" as reflected by a

father in recovery

What atme would you drink? In the evenings We would have our
activities that we would do. Parties, the cookouts, or whatever; gatherings
and so on Social gatherings, not really community gatherings It would
be social gatherings between friends and neighbors And alcohol would be
there so it was just the natural thing to do

Several residents mentioned drinking after work or after a recreational activity such as

softball or the rodeo. A female resident described the use of alcohol after the cowboys

have participated in rounding up cattle for the market

Who furnishes the beer after they have worked the cattle7 If it's a cattle
owner that drinks, he does. If it's a cattle owner that doesn't, they don't.
So that's why I even know whose cows they're working If you see six
or seven cowboys working, you're talking eight to ten cases of beer And
nobody goes home 'till the beer's gone 'Til they can't stand up any
longer If it's a Friday, it's usually worse than another day, sometimes if
it's a week day, they usually just buy three or four cases But if it's a
Friday, it's a duration, you know"
Do they start atjer they have worked the cattle? Oh yes. They
always wait until they're finished before they start drinking In the years
past they have had a few of the younger boys that they hire to come in and
work the cows or wait for the cows to come up and sneaking off to the
coolers and getting there before hand and they were either terminated or

told not to drink or they would hide the beer from them until afterwards
There is a thing about if you have 18- and 19-year-old kids out there and
it's getting later and their parents will be out there looking for them It
became a I think they made a rule. Didn't they make a rule [aside to
another] about drinking at the Marsh Cow Pens? There is no more
drinking there because when they were shipping calves out, kids were
getting in the coolers

Most people interviewed reported drinking was acceptable after work is finished.

Some who had formerly been heavy drinkers, stated that there had been times when they

drank during lunch or at work time These admissions were in conjunction with unskilled

employment Weekday drinking occurs with friends while bowling, playing pool. or after

a sporting event At community cookouts alcohol is not served, but some individuals will

drink beer from a can they have retrieved from a cooler in their truck Mostly the men

stay around the trucks with friends during events on the periphery or in the parking lot

Norms designate appropriate drinking times, although some drinkers break these

rules without overt reprimand from the community members, just gossip Several

residents mentioned that drinking at community or family functions was not acceptable.

When it has happened that an individual appears at a community meeting inebriated.

he/she is not expelled. At one community meeting, a man and woman appeared to have

been drinking. The two readily spoke out at the meeting, challenging the speaker about

actions which the leaders had taken The chairman of the tribe, James E Billie, listened to

their complaints, acknowledged their point, and responded respectfully to them Although

his answer did not seem to appease the two because they continued repeating their same

question, they were not degraded or expelled Heavy drinkers tend to be patiently

tolerated or ignored.


The heaviest drinking occurs on weekends when both men and women gather after

an event, at a cookout, or at a bar after work. Some informants described young male

drinkers as "weekend warriors," men who go out drinking on Friday and continue all

weekend, but go to work on Monday As a middle aged woman described her drinking in

her earlier years

My mother was in the hospital. She was a diabetic She was real bad off
and she's in a hospital all the time I used to stay with her all of the night,
every other night, come home the next day. It just stressed me, so I say,
"Okay. That's what I can do. Drink But every Friday night I'd get
hooked on it real bad, I guess Every Friday night I could hardly wait for
Friday night to come to start drinking, 'till Saturday, 'till Sunday. Sunday
night I'd stop drinking because I'd know I have to work It was like that
every weekend And on and on

Who Drinks

Age is a primary factor in who drinks Table 5 02 shows the distribution of

preferred drink and frequency of use by five different age categories. As individuals age

they are more likely to quit drinking or drink less frequently The data show an absence of

moderate drinkers Thirty-nine percent (39%) of the adults in the sample currently

abstain. That is, they had quit, never used, or used only once or twice in their lifetime.

This is a greater percentage than an earlier figure of 33 percent abstainers for the general

population (Heath 1987) Among Brighton youth ages 11 to 17 years, 66 percent abstain

The age group that uses most frequently is the 18- to 34-year-olds Beer and liquor are

more likely to be used than wine with a higher percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds using

beer more frequently than liquor A higher percentage of 15- to 17-year-olds used liquor

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