Loretta Metoxen, Oneida Tribal Historian Interview Nov 2008
Alcohol was brought to North America by the European people. There was a big trade in alcohol between the slave trade in Africa, Europe and the United States. In the beginning they would take the slaves down to the Caribbean. There the Europeans would force the African slaves to work on sugar plantations. The sugar grown on the plantations was primarily created to make rum and then the rum would go back to England and America.
Early on the European countries were dependent on the tribes to be friendly and they couldn’t afford using any of their energy to fight battles. The Europeans made treaties with the tribes and they were mainly treaties of friendship mainly because the Europeans didn’t know how to farm, hunt or fish and in those days it was a usual thing for every sailor to get a dram of alcohol or ration on a regular basis. When they started making these treaties, they started bringing rum. Many of the ship’s manifests included alcohol and it was paid for by the government. Even when the United States began to make treaties they would pay for the rum and usually passed it out to the tribes prior to the signing of treaties because if the tribes were drinking then the governments would get a better deal.