Avoid. Use nation or ethnic group except for specific entities like a “tribal council” on a reservation. Within the United States, many Native Americans prefer nation because their people have signed treaties with the United States that recognize them as nations. Some Native Americans prefer their national affiliation instead of using generic term Native American, e.g., Navajo, Hopi, Cherokee.
In Africa, avoid referring to different ethnic groups as tribes. Hutu and Tutsi are ethnic groups, just like Serbs, Croats and Muslims in the former Yugoslavia. A federally recognized tribe is an American Indian or Alaska Native tribal entity that is recognized as having a government-to-government relationship with the United States, with the responsibilities, powers, limitations, and obligations attached to that designation, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 2015 there were 566 federally recognized tribes.
See American Indian.« Back to Glossary Index