On reservations where different American Indian groups were forced to co-exist, repercussions occurred that exist to this day in those communities. Historic rivalries, family or clan conflicts, and “tribal politics” may present challenges for an outsider unaware of local dynamics who is trying to interact with different groups in the community.
While there is great diversity across and within tribes, there are within-region similarities based on adaptation to ecology, climate, and geography (including traditional foods), linguistic and cultural affiliations, and sharing of information for long periods of time.
Differences in cultural groups are closely related to regional differences and may be distinguished by their language or spiritual belief systems. They are also a result of the diversity of historic homelands across the nation and migration patterns of tribal groups.
Cultures developed in adaptation to their natural environment and the influence of trade and interaction with non-Indians and other American Indian groups.
Urban Indian communities exist in most major metropolitan areas. Members of a large number of different tribes and cultures that have different degrees of traditional culture and adaptation to Western cultural norms represent these populations. They form a sense of community through social interaction and activities, but are often “invisible,” geographically dispersed, and multiracial.
Source: A Short Overview of California Indian History from the California American Indian Heritage Commission.
Author: Professor Edward D. Castillo,