Many groups and businesses these days have taken to calling themselves "tribes."
first I thought the trend was cute. The term "tribe" has friendly
echoes of community.
For the most part, when I see groups outside the Native American community using the term "tribe," I see a group that is trying to create a deeper senses of community.
I should point out that there is a long (and mostly positive) history of community organizations like the boy scouts that frequently use terms from the native culture.
But after reading blogs by self-proclaimed tribal
leaders, I've started getting the willies when I come across efforts to establish a new tribalism in America. Some of the leaders of this new tribalism seem to be going beyond promoting a sense of community. They seem to want to tell people who to think.
I was perplexed by a reading a blog by a "tribal leader" of the new tribalism a week ago. This morning the sentence popped into my head: "At the center of every tribe their is a chief."
This sentence makes a nice gauge for testing groups declaring themselves a tribe.
So, lets say you have a job interview with a group using the term "tribe" in its literature. You should look closely at the political structure of the group. If you can find a person or small group in the organization trying to set themselves up as chief; you should stay clear of the company.
Self-declared chiefs in self-declared tribes tend to be control freaks and it best to stay clear of such creatures.
Control freaks are not seeking to promote community at large, but are seeking to gain power by dividing people and setting them against each other.
In tribal societies of old, the leaders often fit the model of war lords and tribalism was not an ideal society but an extremely fractured existence with the tribes set against each other in fierce conflict.
While I still associate the term "tribe" with friendly ideals about small local communities, I fear that the New Tribalism taking hold in our communities is source of division and not of unity.