Here’s an excellent article explaining how traditional tribal and clan societies are undermined through the introduction of “parallel hierarchies.” These are systems of social organization that by-pass traditional tribe and clan structures. Among American Indians this has taken the form of BIA backed Tribal Governments. Often, such governments and the accompanying bureaucracy look more like an anglo style government than our traditional tribe and clan leadership system.
Parallel Hierarchies and Tribal Communism by Andrew Yeoman
Yeoman explains how governments intentionally destroy clan and tribal systems out of fear of a competing social system:
The primary problem of such an endeavor is the long forgotten cultural memory tribes in a Western context and the on going and indeed terminal weakening of the traditional family unit. These processes can be seen as the direct result of institutional forces that fears a strong ethnonationalist or tribal identity forming within its eminent domain. Key to these institutional forces goals is to destroy any quasi-kinship based bonds based on the assumed blood ties among members of a demographic group.
To counter this colonization of our minds and spirits we need to strengthen our own parallel hierarchies: our clans, families and tribes! Another giant step we can take would be to directly seize control of the education of our children and young people through the implementation of a Tribal College. Remember that a “Tribal College,” for lack of a better term, does not require money, a building or administrators. It just takes a willingness to teach and learn our traditional Indian ways and language and apply our tribal ways to a modern world.
More on the undermining of our clan system and traditional leadership structure among the Tlingit here: Acknowledgement of Clans and Clan Leaders by Aandeiyeen from Yakutat, Alaska.