Notes on the Ideology of the Fourth World
By Ward Churchill
The differences between the diverse peoples (or ethnic groups) have been accentuated by the colonizers as part of the strategy of domination. There have been attempts by some to fragment the Indian peoples...by establishing frontiers, deepening differences and provoking rivalries. This strategy follows a principle objective: domination, to which end it is attempted ideologically to demonstrate that in America, Western civilization is confronted by a magnitude of atomized peoples, differing from one another (every day more and more languages are "discovered"). Thus, in consequence, such peoples are believed incapable of forging a future of their own. In contrast to this, the Indian thinking affirms the existence of one—a unique and different—Indian civilization, from which extend as particular expressions the cultures of diverse peoples. Thus, the identification and solidarity among Indians. Their "Indianness" is not a simple tactic postulated, but rather the necessary expression of an historical unity, based in common civilization, which the colonizer has wanted to hide. Their Indianness, furthermore, is reinforced by the common experience of almost five centuries of [Eurocentric] domination.
But I don't think these tribes and communities should smooth over or ignore their differences. There's a big difference between, say, the Navajo Nation with its huge land base and traditional culture and a landless California rancheria with only a dozen members who are mostly Latino by heritage.
For more on Churchill, see Churchill Trusts a Jury? and Churchill Goes to Trial. For more on the "one unitary Indian civilization," see Native vs. Non-Native Americans: A Summary.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this posting is meant to support any of Churchill's words or deeds except the words noted here.