This subject has been on my mind lately, but in a different setting. Somebody who I generally respect and who I correspond with on a fairly regular basis mentioned to me that he thought that American Indians had "a genetic problem with alcohol." Unlike white people, they metabolize alcohol differently and become drunk easier. This is something I heard also from an old friend who used to live in Taos, New Mexico, where the Navaho and Hopis make up a large percentage of the population. She and the other white hippie/entrepreneurs used to complain all the time about Indian drunks and this genetic "explanation" got circulated widely.
It's interesting, isn't it, that alcoholism seems to afflict Indians, blacks and Irish, the three nationalities who had tribal origins, as Theodore W. Allen pointed out. Something tells me that alcoholism in these groups can be explained better by capitalist oppression rather than genetic propensities.
Louis Proyect (http://www.panix.com/~lnp3/marxism.html)