Social Dimension

The social dimension relates land and identity to what Vine Deloria calls “peoplehood,” a unique community identity differentiated from other tribes and from individual Indian  persons. A focus on “the people,” as opposed to individuals, all Indians, or abstract themes, recognizes that the evaluation of tribal projects is community-based and tribally-specific. Therefore, evaluations from a traditional tribal perspective take into account the historical experiences that are meaningful to each community as a whole and the important places in a community’s past. Furthermore, the communication of these experiences rests firmly on the foundation of oral tradition in general, and specific tribal languages in particular.

Deloria’s concept of peoplehood is described in Vine Deloria, Jr. and Clifford Lytle (1984). The Nations Within: The Past and Future of American Indian Sovereignty. New York: Pantheon.