Inland Northwest History and Culture  >  Indian-White Encounters  >  Spokane: 1877-1890

That Drunken Indian

Source:  Spokane Evening Review, October 20, 1885, page 1

Subject:  Alcohol, Indians, and White Dealers

 Synopsis:  The sight of another drunk Indian on the streets of Spokane caused some citizens to consider using torture to force drunk Indians to reveal the identity of those who supplied the alcohol.

Text:

Yesterday our streets were once more disgraced by the sight of an Indian exhibiting on horseback his state of drunkenness.  He was a terror to both Indians and white people.  On whom shall we throw the blame but on the one who sold him the whisky.  How are we to find him out?  There is the difficulty.  The Coeur d’Alene Indians could teach us something in that respect.  When any one of that tribe is found drunk he is arrested and thrown into jail, fed on bread and water till he reveals the one who gave or sold him the whisky.  Thus is drunkenness stopped in their tribe.  If the Indians around here were to know that they be thus treated by the authorities till they would reveal the one who sold or gave the whisky, such scenes as the one of yesterday would not be repeated often. 

Transcribed and annotated by Brad Northrup