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Respect community diversity

Tribal communities are no longer homogeneous cultural groups. One can say that most indigenous communities were never entirely homogenous, culturally or politically. While tribal groups often shared ceremonies and creation stories, they retained considerable local political and economic autonomy. Families, bands and clans harvested most of their economic needs, and were not economically dependent on other groups, and were therefore in a position to exercise considerable political choice. Tribal nations were coalitions of willing and cooperative kinship and local group alliances. Large ceremonial gatherings were places to exchange gifts and renew social relation. There were common cultural understandings.

While during pre-western contact periods, indigenous nations exchanged cultural and social knowledge. Western colonial contact greatly intensified the exchange of cultural knowledge and introduced new social and political conditions.

Nowadays, it is hard to say that most tribal communities share common or homogeneous culture. Many tribal members are now Christians, many are well educated in American schools, and multiple worldviews are found in most tribal communities. People might accept this situation as part of contemporary multicultural life, but the issues are more fundamental.

Read the original article at: Indian Country Today

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