Civics

Are all Native American cultures the same?

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No two American Indian tribes are exactly alike which means that there are many different Native American cultures.

As an example, there are about 250 unique Native American languages. These languages are often very different from one another. For instance, the Seneca Indian word for "thank you" is Nya-weh, while the Apache word for "thank you" is Ahe'he'e.

Tribes also have different ideas about how the world was created. They practice different religions and spiritual practices. And they have different ideas about everything from how children should be raised to what clothes are appropriate for their cultural ceremonies. In other words, tribal cultures are diverse, meaning that each tribe is unique in its own way.

by Andrew Lee (Seneca Indian name: Ono-dah-geyh).

Andrew Lee is a trustee of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (which tells the real story of Native peoples in the Western Hemisphere, educating and inspiring millions of visitors from America and around the globe) as well as numerous other boards and advisory councils in service to Indian Country.