Tribe, people who live in a community in a particular area, sharing the same language, culture, and often kinship. The tribal system is one the earliest forms of society and still exists in most of Africa, on many Pacific islands, and among Australian aborigines and Native Americans. Tribes may be made up of only 50 to 60 people or, like the Kikuyu of East Africa, have more than a million members. Tribal rule may be by a local chief or, as in some large African tribes, by a king and councillors. Native American Plains tribes, such as the Arapaho and Cheyenne, were ruled by a council of chiefs. In earlier times, the kingdom of Israel united a number of Jewish tribes.
See also: Ethnic group.