This paper discusses the effects of the Chilocco Indian School boarding school experience on members of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma through the lens of attitudes towards alcohol use and abuse. I argue that narrative storytelling reveals conflicting discourses that grapple with whether derivation of the Chilocco ideology of personal responsibility for alcohol is acceptable or beneficial. Drawing on Singer et al (1992) and Spicer (1997, 2006), I utilize an analytical framework that links the realities of political economy with the effects of communal transmission of historical trauma across generations. I argue that contestation illustrates that Ogbu?s (1990, 1992) theory of cultural inversion is not wholly applicable. Some alumnae find the American ideal of personal responsibility useful; others disparage the application of personal responsibility to alcohol abuse as another American attack. I conclude that both approaches are politically motivated acts aimed at eliminating alcohol abuse.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Erica A. Scott
“Chilocco Survivors: Contested Discourses in Narrative Responses to Ponca Alcohol Abuse,” Chilocco History Project, accessed June 5, 2020, https://chilocco.library.okstate.edu/items/show/2655.