FAS in Native American Communities

According to government research, the rates of FAS for American Indians of the southwestern United States range from 13 to 103 per 10,000 live births. [US Department of Health and Human Services. Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Black and Minority Health. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, 1985]

The rates of FAS in Native American populations vary greatly from one tribe to another. Several factors play a role in the occurrence of FAS among American Indians, including drinking patterns, cultural influences, fertility, nutrition, and metabolic differences. [Aase JM. The fetal alcohol syndrome in American Indians: a high risk group. Neurobehav Toxicol Teratol 1981;3:153-6.]

According to studies conducted for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), incidences of FAS per 10,000 total births for different ethnic groups were as follows: Asians 0.3, Hispanics 0.8, whites 0.9, blacks 6.0, and Native Americans 29.9. [CHAVEZ, G.F.; Cordero, J.F.; & Becerra, J.E. Leading major congenital malformations among minority groups in the United States, 1981-1986. Journal of the American Medical Association 261(2):205-209, 1989.]

Reports from health units that serve Navajo and Pueblo tribes indicate a prevalence of FAS that is similar to that of the general population in the U.S., but the prevalence reported among the Southwest Plains Indians was much higher (1 per 102 live births). [MAY, P.A.; Hymbaugh, K.J.; Aase, J.M.; & Samet, J.M. Epidemiology of fetal alcohol syndrome among American Indians of the Southwest. Social Biology 30(4):374-387, 1983.]

Other resources:

"Journey Through the Healing Circle" is a series of videotapes, video CDs, and professionally illustrated workbooks. The series is narrated by Native American Storyteller Floyd Red Crow Westerman, who uses animal stories to talk about children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and the problems families face with these effects.

Alcohol Poisoning in the Womb news article about Rodeo Fire arson suspect Leonard Gregg

Is FAE Milder than FAS? - A mother gets on her soap box.

Tribe gets the word out - news article about program for alcohol education in Arizona's Tohono O'odham Nation

Victims of the Womb news article about personal experience with FAS

My Baby Was Born Drunk - one mother's story

Faces Yet to Come - 7th Generation Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention Project Videos & Curriculum

NIAAA Alcohol Alert No. 13-1991 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism No. 13 PH 297 July 1991

Brief Overview of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Effects

Leading Major Congenital Malformations Among Minority Groups in the United States, 1981-1986 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

AIRRTC Project 54 - Improving Employment Outcomes for American Indian Adolescents and Adults with Learning Disabilities, Depression, and FAS/ARND
FAS Training for Native American Communities

FAS Community Resource Center