Defining the word "Tribe" 
  by  Dee Berry
Toteg Tribal Doyen

    A 'tribe' is a social division of people sharing some social relation. Our culture tends to automatically envision "Native Americans" whenever they see or hear the word 'tribe'.  That's understandable if you
consider the United States of America has been dealing directly with Native Americans and their various tribes in one form or another for around 500 years now, and somewhere each day there is an issue with one of the Native American tribes discussed in our newspapers and television shows.  However, the word "tribe"
has a longer and more varied history of usage than how it is applied to Native American or any other indigenous peoples.

For the purpose of defining what the Toteg Tribe is, we will extract the  broader meaning of the word "tribe" and apply it as we are actually structured.

Tribes reflect a way of life that predates, and is more "natural", than that in modern states. Tribes also privilege primordial social ties, are clearly bounded, homogeneous, parochial, and stable. Thus, many
believe that tribes organize links between families (including clans and lineages), and provide them with a social and ideological basis for solidarity that is in some way more limited than that of an "ethnic group" or of a "nation".

In his 1972 study, The Notion of the Tribe, Morton Fried provided numerous examples of tribes the members of which spoke different languages and practiced different rituals, or that shared languages and rituals with
members of other tribes. Similarly, he provided examples of tribes where people followed different political leaders, or followed the same leaders as members of other tribes. He concluded that tribes in general
are characterized by fluid boundaries and heterogeneity, are not parochial, and are dynamic.

A 'tribe' is a society.  A society is a group of people that form a semi-closed system, in which most interactions are with other individuals belonging to the group. A society is a network of relationships between people. A society is an interdependent community. The casual meaning of society simply refers to a group of people living together in an ordered community. Societies are the main subject of study of the social sciences.

Some social scientists use the term 'tribe' to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship.  The word kinship can refer more broadly to any emotional relationship. This can also refer to ideas that are related. In some cultures, the formal establishment of kinship involves various customs and obligations.

A clan is a group of people united by kinship and descent.  Some clans are so large and so old that they merely share a "stipulated" common ancestor; that is, the clan has no evidence of the ancestor, and he or she may be
fictional, merely a symbol of the clan's unity. In certain societies this ancestor is not even human; he or she is an animallian totem.

Copyright © 2004 by Dee Berry
Tribal Doyen, Toteg Tribe