Resources for Native Americans with Disabilities: Substance Abuse

Accommodating Alcohol Abuse and Dependency in the Workplace: Helping American Indians and Alaska Natives with Alcohol-Related Disabilities, May 2006

American Indian Disability Technical Assistance Center (AIDTAC)


Format           AIDTAC Practice Guideline     


While the American Indian Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (AIRRTC) identified alcohol abuse or dependency as the specific disability most needing attention among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people, one study finding is that the stereotype of “the drunk American Indian” is a myth. Other research findings show that alcohol abuse and dependency are problems for some AI/AN people in some places, most often during certain times and under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, however, the myth of “the drunk American Indian” prevails, thus affecting employment opportunities for many. Employers are sometimes faced with employees, AI/AN and non-AI/AN alike, who have struggled with alcohol abuse or dependency, or due to certain life circumstances develop an alcohol problem. For employers with AI/AN employees who are concerned that an employee may have a problem with alcohol, this practice guideline will offer some resources for helping employees.  Included in the guideline are discussions of The Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Dependence; Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependence: Signs, Symptoms, and Effects; Recommended Supports and Other Considerations; Guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Alcohol Abuse; EEOC’s Overview of Legal Obligations; and Accommodation Considerations for People with Alcoholism.


Contact URL


Contact Agency      

American Indian Disability Technical Assistance Center (AIDTAC)
The University of Montana Rural Institute
52 Corbin

The University of Montana

Missoula, MT 59812-7056   

(888) 268-2743 Toll-free; (406) 243-2460 (Voice); (406) 243-4200 (TTY); (406) 243-2349 fax     



Fact Sheet:  Native American Indians


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of Health and Human Services


Format           Fact sheet


This fact sheet provides statistics on American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people; stresses the need for mental health care for this population; discusses the availability of, access to and use of mental health services by AI/AN people; and explores the appropriateness and outcomes of mental health services.


Contact URL


Contact Agency      

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Department of Health and Human Services

P.O. Box 42557

Washington, DC 20015

1-800-789-2647, Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD): 866-889-2647, 240-747-5475 (International), Fax:240-747-5470



In Their Own Voice: Native Americans Address Substance Abuse In UI Videos by Sara Epstein


FYI:  Faculty and Staff News February 8, 2002, Volume 39, No. 10 from the University of Iowa


Format           Article             


This article describes the 27-minute video titled “Sucker Punched”, produced by the UI Video Center and the Prairielands Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) in which an Oglala Lakota who had been drinking heavily at a party was carrying a revolver that he believed to be unloaded. It wasn’t, and when his friend asked to see the gun, the man accidentally shot his friend in the face and killed him.  The Oglala Lakota credits this tragic episode, which ultimately led to his recovery from drug and alcohol dependence, to a higher spiritual power that “sucker punched” him off of his self-destructive path. “Sucker Punched” is one of two videos conceived by the Prairielands ATTC and produced at the Video Center that seek to address this issue publicly. “Nagi Kicopi: Calling Back the Spirit” is a 57-minute documentary that weaves oral histories showing how white men introduced alcohol to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people and focuses on the challenges of substance abuse that many AI/AN people face.  The videos target health care professionals by showing them the negative impact substance abuse has on AI/AN communities.


Contact URL


Contact Agency      

The Office of University Relations-Publications         

The University of Iowa

Suite 300, Plaza Centre One

125 S. Dubuque Street

Iowa City, Iowa 52242

(319) 384-0040


White Bison, Incorporated


Format           Non-profit Organization


White Bison, Incorporated, an American Indian non profit organization, offers sobriety, recovery, addictions prevention, and wellness/Wellbriety learning resources to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people nation wide. Many non-AI/AN people also use White Bison’s resource products, attend its learning circles, and volunteer their services. White Bison is a facilitator of the Wellbriety Movement, which means to be sober and well and teaches that one must find sobriety from addictions to alcohol and other drugs and recover from the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol on individuals, families and whole communities. White Bison’s mission is to assist in bringing 100 AI/AN communities into healing by 2010 and is being realized by means of Wellbriety resources, Wellbriety conferences, specialized community training events, Wellbriety coalitions, and grassroots Firestarters circles of recovery groups across the nation. White Bison participates in coalitions, networks and events to provide a voice for AI/AN people in recovery and healing.


Contact URL


Contact Agency      

White Bison, Incorporated

6145 Lehman Drive, Suite 200

Colorado Springs, CO  80918

(719) 548-1000

(719) 548-9407 (fax)