Black People : What is a Tribe? Where does the Word "Tribe" Come From?

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by river, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Native Americans and Africans are two different peoples living on two different continents. Yet they are both said to live in tribes. Why is this? Do the people in question recognize a shared tradition of living in tribes or is this just a word white folks came up with to make us seem primitive?

    How come when white people fight each other it's a civil war full of glory and honor but when Africans fight each other it's a tribal war--a nuisance at best and a hindrance to the civilization white people are trying to bring to the region ?
     
  2. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    river,

    Excellent questions, what you have described is typical of so-called white supremacy, or racism. Any word game to keep us off-balance. But times are changing. The White House is about to become Black, a very bitter pill to swallow.

     
  3. Jahari Kavi

    Jahari Kavi Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    funny u bring this up, because I was just telling a friend of mine the other day, that I hate the word "tribe," because of the stigma placed along side it........
     
  4. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Would you say then that what are referred to as tribes are actually nations? Isn't this the term Native Americans use? Brother Blackbird please fly this way.
     
  5. anAfrican

    anAfrican Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    yes. "tribe"==Nation.
     
  6. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    river,

    Perhaps, the pure definition of tribe is; a group of people united by ancestry, language, or culture. As such, applies to any human beings anywhere, and at any time. The negative connotation derives from racism.

     
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    My my.... There's nothing that reeks of more white (Western or European) supremacist dribble than the labeling of human social organization. Many people often like to connect African and First Nation people to "tribes" without knowing the actual meaning and use of the word /tribe/. Frequently, I encounter people who attempting to take a superior stance or exert a cultural superiority over another refer to their "subjects" as tribes. I've even seen it here on Destee. In our efforts to liberate our hearts and minds from the debilitating effects of Western indoctrination, it is imperative that we make conscientious and efficient word choices.

    A tribe is a group of nominally independent or autonomous communities living a certain locality that share a common language and culture united in an alliance or federation. A tribe is generally decentralized in political structure. The nominally independent communities are often called bands; each particularly with its own agenda and aim.

    A nation is made up of communities of people who see themselves as one people based on common ancestry, history, society, institutions, ideology, language, territory and often religion. A nation is a centralized political system. In essence, tribes band together to form nations and they have some form of national governance, usually with a council of elders or respective tribal leaders, that make decisions based on the best interest of the nation.

    A state is a centralized political system with the power to coerce.

    As we can see, in Africa there were very little tribes. Most people were organized as nations like the Yoruba and states like the Ghana or Songhai. Tribe is a legitimate term, as long as no cultural value is placed on it, which unfortunately, is often the case. In an ideal scheme, human organization begins with family - clan - moiety - tribe - nation to conquest minded people who institute the state.

    I hope this helps. I can provide further treatment if necessary.

    Blackbird

    Addendum: Oh I almost forgot. Tribe as a word comes from the French word "tribu" which is said to derived from a reference to Rome's tripartite ethnic groups, the Latins, Sabines and Etruscans - L. "tribus".
     
  8. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    This is very helpful brotha Blackbird. I knew you could shed liight on the subject.

    Then it seems the word tribe had no negative conotations in its original use but became derogatory when applied to a people for whom the speakers/labelers already had contempt.
     
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sister River, it's no problem.

    Nope, in it's proper use, tribe does not have any negative connotations. It's only when we use the term in the wrong context that it becomes derogatory. As a people who have suffered from all types of abusive language and ungrounded stereotypes, we must be informed and make good choices when communicating among ourselves and with others. This one of the reasons I take particular offense when one of our people uses the term "African tribes". At that point, as a person of African descent, I already know you lack a certain knowledge about Africa and her people, or about the term /tribe/ or perhaps about both subjects. I then understand that our discussion will be colored by an ignorance that will need to be eradicated in order for us both to advance.

    Another thing is when the concept of tribe is used, any thought of sovereignty is tossed away. A tribe ultimately in the grand scheme of things has no sovereignty as a polity. Why? Because a tribe has no centralized structure and is usually attached to a nation or a state. This the understanding that most First Nations groups understand; hence, the former of the word tribe in the official names of many of these people. My grandfather was not an enrolled member of the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma, but the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. So it's important the way we use words, which is something Brother Ang-el, in his own particular way, was trying to explain. Peace!

    Blackbird
     
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