Most Native Americans had no contact with alcohol until it was introduced to them by the early European explorers and fur traders. Jewellery and animal skins were traded by the Native Americans for alcohol.
The Native Americans called alcohol ‘fire water‘, because when they drank it, it burned their throat and burned the lining of their stomach.
Many became unwell or addicted to alcohol. Some even died because of their alcohol misuse. Many traders were able to take advantage of their drunkenness and addiction by stealing their land, food, animals and furs.