Probably the biggest misconception non-indians have about native american indians is that they are all the same, that they share a common culture, common beliefs, and a common governmental structure. Many people picture the Plains Indian tribes as representative of all Indians because of their romanticized portrayal in Hollywood movies.
In reality,there are well over 1,000 separate native american indian tribes in the United States and Canada, and hundreds more in Mexico, Central America and South America. While they do share some general philosophies on life, just as most non-indian people in the United States, Canada, and Europe do, each tribe has their own culture, beliefs, languages, and religions, similar to differences separate countries in Europe and North America do, or different states in the US have different traditions.
Individual indian tribes vary in size from less than ten surviving members to more than half a million tribal members. Some tribes have reservation lands, some do not. About half of all native american tribal members continue to live on reservations, the other half live off reservations in predominately anglo towns and cities. Most live in houses just like you do, whether on or off the reservations. The Plains Indian tribes use tipis mainly on special occasions, like powwow gatherings. Other native americans never lived in tipis at all, even in the old days. Some tribes built their homes from bark, woven reeds, bent sticks, thatched palms, partially submerged pits in the ground or side of a hill, or adobe bricks...
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