Milk of the white man. North American Indians and alcohol
Using historical written sources and based a one-year field trip among Indians of Canada, Guatemala, Peru and Bolivia the author investigates alcohol use of indigenous Americans. Trenk starts from the popular opinion and stereotype of the excessive use of alcohol and represents Indian alcohol consumption in a rather ritual context, a kind of ´drinking culture´, as a ´ritual synthetic/comprehensive work of art´ (Gesamtkunstwerk). Trenk discusses the sources, including L.H. Morgan, medical studies, Jesuits´ reports (´Relations´), memoirs of traders, travellers and settlers, etc. He also includes Indian legends of the ´poison of the white man´, describes drinking bouts, alcohol use in ritual and religion, Indian prophets and alcohol, and generally the use of narcotics in indigenous America. In the epilogue Trenk discusses Crashing Thunder´s life.
Keywords: alcohol and Native Americans, Indians (American), ritual and alcohol, Crashing Thunder, narcotics and Indians (American), religions of American Indians